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Leaders in Graduate Education

Sanjeev Khagram, Dean and Director General
Arizona State University, Thunderbird School of Global Management

 

“In today’s world, a new era of global leadership is certainly needed in the private sector, and it is also desperately needed in government agencies and international organizations,” says Sanjeev Khagram, dean and director general of the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University (ASU). “At Thunderbird, we are committed to training and empowering current and future executives of international enterprises and networks of all kinds.”

Khagram is widely recognized as a transdisciplinary thinker who will reinforce Thunderbird’s traditional areas of global management and leadership. Since joining the school in July 2018, he has been planning curriculum innovations with an eye toward offering students what he calls “the most interdisciplinary global leadership and management education on the planet.”

As a world-renowned expert in global leadership, the international political economy, sustainable development, and the data revolution, Khagram takes an approach to curriculum development grounded in three underlying dynamics he observes in the world:

  1. The resurgence of materialism and parochialism in the age of globalization.
  2. The challenges of living in the age of Anthropocene—the epoch of significant human impact on the earth’s geology and ecosystems.
  3. The challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution—the recognition that we are on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another.

“At Thunderbird, we have a great vision to be the vanguard of the vanguard in global management education around the world.” –Sanjeev Khagram, Dean and Director General, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona State University

With these trends in mind, the school anticipates launching a major new program in 2020. Meanwhile, Thunderbird has also relocated from its historic Glendale, Arizona, campus to the ASU campus in downtown Phoenix, which is also home to the university’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law; Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Media; and its schools of nursing, health solutions, social work, and public affairs.

Khagram has taught at Harvard University, Stanford University, Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School, and numerous other universities around the world. He has also worked extensively with global start-ups, corporations, governments, civil society groups, multilateral organizations, cross-sectoral action networks, public-private partnerships, foundations, and professional associations across the globe, from the local to the international levels.

Born into a prominent entrepreneurial family of Asian Indian heritage, Sanjeev Khagram was only 6 years old when his family became refugees from Idi Amin’s Uganda. The family immigrated into the United States in 1973, via refugee camps in Italy. The young Sanjeev’s first entrepreneurial venture was in New Jersey, at age 13, when he began setting up gift shops in local hotels.

Even while pursuing his PhD at Stanford University, Khagram exercised his entrepreneurial inventiveness by forming a chain of convenience stores in the Bay Area and bringing family members to manage them. Meanwhile, his graduate work focused on the rise and fall of large dam projects around the world, drawing on his diverse background in engineering, environmental science, economics, and politics. In 1997, Khagram founded the World Commission on Dams to research the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the development of large dams globally.

While seeing innovation in the private sector as the driver of the global economy, Khagram also recognizes that innovation in itself cannot solve the great problems of humanity. “ASU’s programs bring the private and public sectors together in a unique way,” he says. “At Thunderbird, we have a great vision to be the vanguard of the vanguard in global management education around the world.”

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