A T-Bird's Life

By Joe Dion ’03

Dr. Cabrera,

It was really great to meet you last week at the event in Seattle, and I’m very happy to see the school placing a stronger focus on the alumni. It’s an amazing network that most of us really can’t understand until we graduate and leave. Even with the current level of effort Thunderbird places on maintaining the Thunderbird “mystique”, it something that defies explanation. I loved the “misfit toys” analogy being someone that often has to explain myself (been to 55 countries to date and some that people don’t consider “safe”). To that, I now have to explain why my alumni network is more like a family than a normal MBA program alumni group. I can’t wait to see what programs come up in future year as a result of this 2020 vision project, and I’ll be looking to getting more involved than I have been so far. Continue reading

Huffington Post Blog: First, Do No Harm

Road from RuinThe financial meltdown of 2008 will be remembered as a crisis not only of regulation, but of values; a painful reminder that good markets run on trust, and not only self-interest. Even Adam Smith’s butcher understood that selling unsafe meat, no matter how profitably, was a terribly bad idea, both for his clients and himself. In “The Road from Ruin,” Matthew Bishop and Michael Green argue that business leaders need to put values at the heart of capitalism and suggest that asking managers to commit to a professional code of conduct may be a good start.

The medical and legal professions have long adopted codes of conduct that explicitly recognize a commitment to serving the greater good and doing no harm. Admittedly, the codes have not eliminated abuses, but they have helped shape the attitudes and values of those who practice these professions and have increased the trust of those who use their services. Most of us, for example, trust that our physician will not intentionally prolong our ailments to charge more fees.

Managers, on the contrary, have remained reluctant to put their values in writing and pledge compliance. And business schools have done little to encourage them to do otherwise. Read the rest of my post in the Huffington Post.

Davos in words

Queen Rania of Jordan (and member of YGL Foundation board): “The saddest thing is not death. It’s when your dreams die when you are alive.”

Muhammad Yunnus, Nobel Peace Prize winner: There are two paths for an entrepreneur, one of profits, one of social change. You need to pick one or the other.

Georg Kell, United Nations Global Compact director: The world needs business leaders committed to creating real sustainable value.

Bill Gates to Young Global Leaders: Frame your cause in terms of solutions, not hopeless problems, if you want to recruit the support of others.

Bill Gates to Young Global Leaders: Economic development needs not only more and better entrepreneurs, but also more and better scientists and bureaucrats. In fact, if you ask me, in some of the poorest parts of the world, the latter would be the priority.

Bill Gates to Young Global Leaders: The crisis was the result of excesses by the rich. Let’s not now reduce budget deficits on the backs of the poor.

Bill Clinton to Young Global Leaders: Take criticism seriously, but not personally.

Bill Clinton to young global leaders:  The world is suffering; the world does not trust the elites.

Larry Summers: Prosperity in the developing world does not come at the expense of the US. The world economy is not a zero-sum game.

Larry Summers: We are in a statistical recovery but a human recession.

Larry Summers: Banks should not be allowed to use federally insured funds to make proprietary speculative bets that do not serve any customer.

Eric Schmidt of Google: We don’t want to be part of Chinese censorship, but we don’t want to leave China.

Spain’s premier Zapatero: The fatalist claims about the euro have always gotten it wrong. Nobody will leave the euro zone. If anything, new nations will join.

Zapatero: Spain will take action to balance its budget and come out of the crisis, but never at the expense of social cohesion.

Zapatero: The cost of combating climate change will be compensated by advances in innovation and technology.

Javier García Martínez (Spain), in reference to Zapatero´s comment: Then why are we reducing the national R&D budget?

Mexican president Calderón:  If your plane was about to crash because the pilot had a heart attack, would you try to negotiate a solution by consensus? That’s exactly what we did in Copenhaguen … the passengers from business class and coach are still blaming one another while the plane is going down.

Calderón:  If you don’t like politicians, become one.

Matthew Bishop, editor of The Economist and author of The Road from Ruin: At first I as skeptical about the idea of a “Hippocratic Oath” for business leaders. I now think it could be part of the solution.

Richard Edelman: Most people in the developed world don’t trust banks will do what is right.

Efrat Peled (Israel) to Richard Edelman: To regain trust, let’s commit to human values, to personal responsibility, and endorse the Global Business Oath.

France’s President Sarkozy:  Markets should be at the service of man, not the other way around. Capitalism is the means not the end.

World Economic Forum President Klaus Schwab: I’m not optimistic about the sate of the world … Davos will be a difficult meeting.


Meet future global leaders from 25 countries


This week I had the pleasure to welcome new students from 25 countries to the Thunderbird family. Energy filled the auditorium as students from Latvia, Iran, China and other corners of the world introduced themselves. The above video shows highlights from the Parade of Flags, one of my favorite traditions at Thunderbird. Enjoy.

Unleash global entrepreneurs to tackle global problems

The world needs big ideas to solve big problems such as climate change and poverty. These ideas are unlikely to come through a top down governance approach. We must unleash the power of human ingenuity through entrepreneurship. The world needs thousands and even millions of global leaders working across government, nonprofit and private sectors. Only then will we find the winning solutions for inclusive, sustainable prosperity worldwide. Learn more about the work we did on Nov. 8 at the World Economic Forum’s Summit on the Global Agenda in Dubai.


New data show young global leaders bet on global citizenship

Fortunately, typhoons don’t last forever, and so I was able to fly out of Hong Kong finally and make it to Tianjin to attend the World Economic Forum and the Forum of Young Global Leaders. At the meeting we shared the results of the latest survey of global leadership, which gives me great hope for the future (ygl-global-citizenship).

When asked how important it is to you today as a leader to understand the causes and effects of the critical issues affecting the world at large (e.g. poverty, climate change, infectious diseases, access to water, etc.), to commit your organizational resources to make a positive difference, to incorporate perspectives of multiple stakeholders in making decisions, and to actively engage with other social and political actors to address complex social and environmental issues, the vast majority of respondents answered “important,” “very important” or “critical.” Continue reading

Typhoon? What typhoon? T-Birds discuss global strategy in Hong Kong

tgc-1-october-2008-001Come typhoon, wind or rain, nothing seems to stop Thunderbird alumni. Last Tuesday, Thunderbird Global Council members, Board Fellows and leading alumni met in Hong Kong to advise us on how Thunderbird can improve its presence in Asia.

In a meeting hosted by alum Tom Greer, we discussed our current executive education programs in China and South Korea, our plans to extend our relationship with Beida (Peking University) to offer new opportunities to our students, and the growing opportunities in South East Asia. Continue reading

Digital citizenship: You are what you blog (or what they blog about you!)

thomascramptonconfWhen you Google “Thomas Crampton,” the first website that will show up is www.thomascrampton.com, his personal blog. What is so remarkable about this is that Tom has worked as New York Times and International Herald Tribune correspondent for years. He has written hundreds of stories from all over the world and reported on political events, social and economic issues and even from war zones. And yet, the first thing to pop up on the web about him is none of that work, but his own personal website (he left the NYT less than a year ago). Continue reading