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FP Guide

2021 Applying to Graduate School in International Affairs

Arizona State University, Thunderbird School of Global Management

Wanted: Applicants with Passion and Varied Perspectives

Passion, a global point of view, and past professional experience top the list of admissions criteria for the 2022–2023 school year at Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management.

“We suggest applicants take their time in writing an application essay that allows Thunderbird’s admissions committee to understand what they can bring to their cohort,” says Sanjeev Khagram, director general and dean of the Thunderbird School.

The school was founded in the wake of World War II by Thunderbird Air Force pilots, who believed there was a better way to achieve peace. In the spirit of that mission, the school focuses on finding solutions for today’s global challenges to create a more peaceful world.

“Something we say all the time to our students is that ‘borders frequented by trade and diplomacy seldom need soldiers,’” says Khagram. “Given the state of things in Afghanistan this year, we can see this impact, or lack thereof, unfolding in real time.”

“We suggest applicants take their time in writing an application essay that allows Thunderbird’s admissions committee to understand what they can bring to their cohort. Our students come to Thunderbird to develop the global leadership and management experience needed to excel in positions of responsibility across borders, languages, and cultures.” –Sanjeev Khagram, Director General and Dean, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona State University

Khagram, himself a refugee from Uganda, says that the Thunderbird School values working with professionals who have a true dedication to public service, conflict resolution, and education for the vulnerable.

“At the Thunderbird School, it’s not about focusing on high salaries and impressive titles. It’s about passion, and we’re looking for students who feel the same,” he says.

Given the ongoing pandemic, Thunderbird is working more closely with fall 2022 applicants, Khagram says.


Washington, DC–based Executive MA in Global Affairs and Management
Thunderbird’s one-year Executive MA in Global Affairs and Management, based in Washington, DC, trains its students to have a global mindset and a combination of 21st-century hard and soft skills. For example, students in the program’s Global Challenge Lab spend three weeks working with a handful of classmates on a project tailored to the business needs of a real client (a company, nonprofit organization, university, or government agency) in another country. The students must manage a professional relationship with client executives and provide data and market analysis, strategy recommendations, and effective plans for sustained growth, then incorporate feedback from the client. Past projects include developing sourcing opportunities for glass and tableware products in Myanmar, and creating domestic and international marketing and sales strategies for a metal fabricator in Romania.

Graduate Degree Program Options
MA in Global Affairs and Management: Creative Industries (Los Angeles)
• Master of Applied Leadership and Management (online)
• Master of Global Management (Phoenix)
• Executive MA in Global Affairs and Management (Washington, DC)
• Executive Master of Global Affairs and Management (Phoenix)
• Executive Master of Global Leadership and Strategy (six global cities)
• Executive Master of Global Management: Space Leadership, Business, and Policy (Los Angeles)

Deadlines for Fall 2022
Regular Application and Financial Aid/Scholarships:

Master of Global Management: For domestic students, June 30, 2022; for international students, March 30, 2022
Executive MA in Global Affairs and Management: For domestic students, November 29, 2021; for international students, October 4, 2021

Priority Consideration of Application and Financial Aid/Scholarships: Master of Global Management: October 30, 2021

Standardized Exam Scores: Thunderbird requires the GRE or GMAT, but offers waivers to qualified applicants based on years of prior work experience and GPA. In addition, non-native English speakers may be required to take pre-degree English instruction to meet the needed level of proficiency.

Recommendation Letters: For most programs, Thunderbird requires at least one professional or academic reference, preferably from individuals with direct and recent knowledge of the applicant’s performance and potential.

Application Checklist: https://thunderbird.asu.edu