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2022 Leaders in Graduate Education in International Affairs

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Arizona State University, Thunderbird School of Global Management

Combining Business and Public Policy Shapes Insightful Leaders for Fourth Industrial Revolution


Landry Signé, Professor and Managing Director at Thunderbird School of Global Management, and Co-Director of Thunderbird in Washington DC/EMAGAM, Arizona State University

As the world prepares for and adjusts to the emerging post-COVID-19 landscape, leaders must be more agile, innovative, and adept at drawing from a wide range of disciplines than ever before. Such is the mission of a unique, Washington, DC-based program at Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management known as the Executive MA in Global Affairs and Management (EMAGAM).

“This program is at the vanguard of global leadership training,” says Landry Signé, professor and co-leader of the EMAGAM program.

Clinical professor Ann Florini, who co-leads the program with Signé, adds, “It stands out globally. It is an innovative, professional master’s program that teaches how to address large-scale, complex problems.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is blurring technological lines that once existed. We need leaders who can make optimal decisions during this technical disruption.Landry SignéFlorini notes that while many graduate programs focus either on business management or public policy, Thunderbird’s EMAGAM program addresses both. “Business, government, civil society—everyone has to work together,” she says. “Academic programs have been taking complex problems and tearing them into little pieces to address them. We are bringing people from all sectors together to take all the pieces of these big global challenges and address them in all their complexity.”

Ann Florini, Clinical Professor and Co-Director of Thunderbird School of Global Management in Washington DC/EMAGAM, Arizona State University

Such multifaceted problems are tied to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the tectonic shifts brought about by artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, and other breakthroughs. The global pandemic has only intensified the complexity of this revolution.

Thunderbird’s program is drawing diplomats and ambassadors, as well as students from developing countries, all of whom seek new approaches to today’s challenges.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution has created an imperative to produce unique leaders capable of tackling the world’s greatest challenges through innovative and practical curricula,” says Signé. “Students gain a strong core of global business and global policy knowledge.”

“Business schools and policy schools have been teaching their disciplines like they are separate tracks,” Florini says. “We are going to have a lot of people doing tweaks, but not the deep problem-solving. The tracks aren’t separate. The divide between business and public policy is gone.”

Student Seeks to Enhance Career by Strengthening Global Mindset

Martin Keaney’s career involved work on supply chain and procurement issues for a health care company. His role was to lead a team in globalizing operations and managing partner relations. But with the pandemic, Keaney found himself seeking a pivot.
>>>“I knew a refresh in my education and a stronger global mindset would help infuse my career with more confidence and skill,” he says.
>>>“I found the Thunderbird EMAGAM program to be perfect for not only mid-career professionals like me, but also young leaders looking to move up in their careers,” he says, adding that the program is helping him better “prepare managers for the global challenges of this still-new century.”

Arizona State University, Thunderbird School of Global Management

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