Kurt Gusinde '96 on Mount Everest

Features for September 2009

Thunderbird hopes to expand custom Executive MBA program: LG Electronics approached Thunderbird in 2005 with an idea for an Executive MBA program customized to the challenges and opportunities of the global company. Willing to take the risk that other business schools were not, Thunderbird worked with LG management to create a program that taught business fundamentals through LG-specific examples while maintaining the rigorous accreditation standards of a top-ranked MBA program. Thunderbird administrators are now negotiating with LG to extend the five-year contract, and other international companies have expressed interest in the same kind of program. Read more...

Retired Intel CEO Craig Barrett joins Thunderbird faculty: Recently retired Intel CEO and Chairman of the Board Craig Barrett, Ph.D., has joined Thunderbird's faculty as a part-time instructor and guest lecturer. Read more...

Risk management lessons from Mount Everest: Investment manager Kurt Gusinde '96 felt his fingers start to tingle near the pinnacle of Mount Everest in spring 2009 and knew he had to turn back. Read more...

News Briefs

Mock interviews allow alumni to help Thunderbird students
As successful business executives and hiring managers, your input and advice to current students regarding their interview skills is invaluable. We invite you to offer 30 minutes to an hour of your time this fall, either in person or over the phone, to mock interview a student who may need a little practice before the big dream-job interview. This is an opportunity to have an immediate and significant impact on a Thunderbird student's career. The Career Management Center will connect students from all functional areas with alumni across the globe for the fall Alumni Mock Interview sessions 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST Oct. 19. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Beth Rehman at the CMC at

Call for papers for Thunderbird journal
Thunderbird International Business Review is soliciting manuscripts dealing with international sports management, a topic that is key around the globe, and underrepresented in management journals. Articles are also being solicited for an issue on the primary factors leading to the 2008 global economic meltdown and its impact on international business. The issue will provide a look from the eye of the storm. Questions about manuscript potential may be submitted to TIBR Editor Mary Teagarden, Ph.D., at Click here for more information.

Global Private Equity Forum: Financing clean technology
Join more than 75 private equity professionals for a New York City forum on "Financing Trends in Clean Tech Venture: Risks & Opportunities." Despite poor market conditions and a challenging exit environment, clean tech venture investment is happening. Who is investing in clean technology? What strategies should clean technology companies employ to attract capital? What technologies and sectors are attractive for venture capitalists? What role will government play in financing clean technology development? The Global Private Equity Forum will be 8 to 10:30 a.m. Sept. 23 at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP. Register at

Donate miles to help students attend conference
With costs of travel steadily increasing, many students are finding themselves unable to attend one or any of the national conferences that will help with their professional development and job search, as well as promotion of Thunderbird at the national level. The Net Impact National Conference, which is an organization promoting sustainable development and positive business practices, will be Nov. 13-14 on Cornell's campus in Ithaca, N.Y. Because the event is far from local hubs, travel costs are substantially higher than in past years. But you can help by donating your unused airline miles to a student in need. Contact Thunderbird Net Impact President Kate Denney at to learn more.

Thunderbird developing sustainable high performers
Thunderbird students, faculty, staff and executive clients are learning to maximize their energy, resilience, brain performance and leadership capacity through a new initiative delivered on campus in collaboration with Tignum, a global company that focuses on sustainable high performance. Click here to learn more.

Reminder - Alumni discount to Frost & Sullivan conference
Thunderbird professors Paul Kinsinger and Kishore C. Dash will present at the Frost & Sullivan Growth, Innovation and Leadership Conference Sept. 13-16 in Scottsdale, Ariz. As a conference Strategic Alliance Partner and the only business school to take part in the conference, Thunderbird is able to provide a 50 percent discount for alumni to attend the conference.

Chapter News

Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Alumni Chapter will participate in Global ThunderCares Day on Saturday, Sept. 12 by working for a community organization shipping supplies to people in need.


Washington, D.C.
The D.C. Chapter will host an inaugural "T-Bird Happy Hour" 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11 at Local 16, 1602 U St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009.


Social media Highlight: San Diego, California
Follow the San Diego Alumni Chapter on Facebook, mbu5q9


Social Media Highlight: Denver, Colorado
Follow Denver T-birds on LinkedIn: groups?gid= 1812798

Knowledge Network

Story: Reverse the female brain drain with workplace flexibility:
Companies are facing a significant brain drain of female talent. Somewhere around 42 percent of professional women voluntarily leave their careers, at least temporarily.


Blog: Thunderbird Student Voices:
Thunderbird students share their views on global management from the classroom and around the world.


Podcast: Seven views on cross-cultural communication and the COI (15:25)
Thunderbird professors Denis Leclerc and Karen Walch are joined by five Thunderbird students from Italy and India in this podcast to talk about their own adventures in cross-cultural communication.
Click to listen...


Video: Do you pass the Global Mindset airport test? (2:08)
Dean of Research Mansour Javidan talks Aug. 8, 2009, about global mindset at the Academy of Management annual conference in Chicago.
Watch video...

Visit the Thunderbird Knowledge Network

Thunderbird Making Headlines

All employees should take the oath - South Morning China Post, August 29, 2009

Thunderbird fund could take equity in firms worldwide - Phoenix Business Journal, August 28, 2009

Lessons That Fit the Times - Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2009

More Thunderbird in the News

September Features (continued)

Retired Intel CEO Craig Barrett joins Thunderbird faculty: Recently retired Intel CEO and Chairman of the Board, Craig Barrett, Ph.D., has joined the faculty at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz.

"Craig Barrett represents Thunderbird's core values," said Thunderbird President Ángel Cabrera, Ph.D. "He is a global citizen, international business leader and diplomat who strives to make the world a better place through business and education."

The school is looking at opportunities for Barrett to guest lecture in existing courses and work with students in other ways. Trailing obligations at Intel will prevent him from having a full-time presence at Thunderbird in the near term.

"He's still a leader in his industry and is still doing work at Intel," said Thunderbird Dean of Faculty Dale Davison, Ph.D. "But we're excited about the possibility of working with him. Our students will have exposure to somebody who not only was there, but who led one of the most innovative organizations in the world."

Barrett, who has expressed interest in teaching business ethics and corporate social responsibility, will be a welcomed asset to the school, according to Provost Robert Widing. "We are very excited about the contributions Dr. Barrett will make in helping Thunderbird develop outstanding global citizens, both inside and outside of the classroom."

He also could guest lecture in courses such as Latin American Regional Business Environment, where Thunderbird Professor Roy Nelson, Ph.D., teaches a case study on Intel's site selection process in Costa Rica. "The thought that you might have Craig Barrett come in and teach that case is almost overpowering," Davison said.

Barrett joined Intel in 1974 and helped the company emerge as an electronics industry leader. He rose through the engineering ranks to become Intel's fourth president in 1997, chief executive officer in 1998 and chairman of the board in 2005.

He is a leading advocate for education around the world and has been a key motivator behind Intel's commitment to the annual International Science and Engineering Fair, which draws high school students from more than 50 countries. The company also created an international network of more than 120 computer clubhouses for underprivileged youth.

As former chairman of the United Nations Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development, Barrett has promoted the use of technology to raise international education, social and economic standards. As former chairman of the National Academy of Engineering, he has promoted technological advancement and the engineering profession.

Barrett and his wife, Barbara, also have a deep affection for Thunderbird and strong ties with the school. The couple volunteered in 2008 to lead Campaign Thunderbird, a $65 million capital campaign to raise funds for scholarships, professorships, curricular innovation and research. The couple has made their own personal $5 million commitment to the campaign, which they earmarked for scholarships. More than $300,000 of their gift is funding students starting this fall. Both Barretts have been Thunderbird commencement speakers, winterim lecturers and guest classroom presenters.

"We are fortunate to have the Barretts as friends of Thunderbird and supporters of our mission to educate global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide," Davison said.

Craig Barrett holds a bachelors, masters and doctorate in materials science from Stanford University, where he was on the faculty for 10 years.

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Risk management lessons from Mount Everest: Investment manager Kurt Gusinde '96 felt his fingers start to tingle near the pinnacle of Mount Everest in spring 2009 and knew he had to turn back. "I had the beginning of frostbite," Gusinde said. "I could keep climbing and lose my fingers, or come back down and save my fingers."

The choice was easy for Gusinde, who manages the wealth of high-net-worth clients at Exeter Financial in Scottsdale, Arizona. He said experienced climbers, just like experienced investors, know how to manage risk as they pursue their passions.

"I try to skew it so everything is in my favor," Gusinde said. "I make sure I have the proper training and the proper experience and the proper guides."

Gusinde has discovered other parallels over the decades between his career as an investment manager and his semiprofessional hobby as a climber, which has taken him to the highest peaks on six continents. The Everest expedition, which Gusinde cut short at 24,000 feet, would have added Asia to the list and completed his global tour.

Here are five keys to success that Gusinde shares for any climber or investor:

Prepare to succeed
Preparation starts years in advance for any person thinking about scaling Mount Everest. Climbers need experience in technical rock climbing, ice climbing, high altitude climbing, mountaineering and first aid. They also need the right kind of physical and mental preparation.

"The same thing is true in investment management," Gusinde said. "There's just a lot of things you learn over time."

Climbers who take shortcuts can suffer serious injury or death, or they can jeopardize the safety of others. Investors who take shortcuts can lose their own assets or the assets of others.

Build a strong team
Nobody reaches the pinnacle of Mount Everest alone.

Gusinde said climbers work in teams, relying on Sherpa guides and others. Even the yaks play an important role.

"It's not always when things are going well that it matters," Gusinde said. "It's when you have a crisis that it really matters."

He said the global financial crisis has shown the importance of teamwork in investment management - especially for clients with significant assets. "You can try to do it alone," Gusinde said. "But it's hard to have expertise in everything."

Persevere when things get tough
Experienced climbers don't get rattled easily when things go wrong. "They tend to be optimistic people," Gusinde said. "Little setbacks don't usually get to them."

Gusinde said the same thing holds true in investing. "You have a discipline and you follow the discipline," he said. "I've learned over time to accept short-term setbacks to have better long-term performance."

Manage risk
Climbers slow themselves down with safety precautions and sometimes turn back before reaching the pinnacle. "It's slower, but it's safer if something happens," Gusinde said. "The goal is to make a safe round trip."

He said investors who set aside safety precautions in their rush for wealth often lose more than they can afford. The current economic crisis has made that clear.

"Yes I want to grow my assets," Gusinde said. "But my primary concern is preserving what I do have."

Stay patient
Gusinde said people who reach the top of Everest tend to be older climbers who have paid their dues on many smaller mountains.

"They have the patience and the wisdom to abort a climb if the weather doesn't cooperate or if their health doesn't cooperate." Gusinde said. "Knowing when to turn around is as important as knowing when to go to the summit."

Likewise, he said, investors who reach their goals tend to have maturity and patience. They know how to hold cash when attractive opportunities aren't available, and they know how to hold onto an underperforming stock when all other indicators look good.

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Investment Lessons from Everest
Investment manager Kurt Gusinde, a 1996 Thunderbird graduate, shares lessons learned from his spring 2009 expedition to Mount Everest. (4:57)

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Sept. 18-20: 
Hospitality Weekend
Get to know Thunderbird first-hand. Talk to professors, meet students, learn about our programs and attend a "regional night." Accommodations and meals provided.
Sept. 22 - Dec. 15:
Leading & Managing in Turbulent Times Program
This 12-evening course analyzes culturally diverse and global business issues from the perspective of the functional areas of an MBA.
Sept. 29 - Oct. 1: 
Communicating & Negotiating with a Global Mindset Program
Leaders with a global mindset thrive in today's global marketplace. Learn your global mindset profile and discover proven communication/ negotiation tactics for cross-cultural environments.
Oct. 5-9: 
Globalization: Merging Strategy with Action Program
Improve your understanding of global firms' strategies while enhancing your ability to view your company/role within a broader strategic and global framework.
Oct. 20-22:
Leading & Managing in Turbulent Times Program
This comprehensive 3-day course analyzes culturally diverse and global business issues from the perspective of the functional areas of an MBA.
Nov. 5-7:
Alumni Global Reunion (Macau)
Join us for the Macau Thunderbird Global Reunion on the west bank of the Pearl River Delta in South China, 40 miles west of Hong Kong.

Nov. 9-20:
Advanced Management Program for Oil & Gas Executives
Considered the "gold standard" in the oil and gas industry, this program gives senior-level managers the skills to drive their organizations to success in this competitive industry.

Nov. 16-18:
Leading Global Projects for Strategic Results Program (Geneva)
Learn to lead projects as a strategist and tactician; discover the art of influencing/ motivating across functions, companies and cultures; and develop skills to lead diverse teams.



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