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Thunderbird Designs Custom MBA Program For LG Electronics

  • Updated
  • 12/06/2006

LG Electronics, one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers, has contracted with Thunderbird, the Garvin School of International Management to groom its next generation of top global managers through a multimillion-dollar customized MBA program that the school and its faculty designed specifically for LG.
The first 25 students of what ultimately will include about 150 hand-selected LG executives through 2010, will graduate in Arizona June 24 with MBA degrees in international management. This first group of students, which have been taking the customized Thunderbird MBA courses at the LG Learning Center in Korea since last June, arrived on the Glendale campus May 27 where they will complete the last four modules of the program before graduation. The LG custom MBA program is Thunderbird’s first program specifically customized for a corporation with its unique objectives, strategies and outcomes built into the program. Dr. Greame Rankine, Thunderbird’s academic director of the program, said being able to design a program using a company’s actual strategies and objectives was truly innovative.
“Once we met with LG executives and assessed their growth plans, we were able to design a program based on what training and skills they would need to take their company to the next level,” Rankine said. “The program includes Thunderbird’s “Truly Global” themes such as cross-cultural communication, global political economy, regional business environment, innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as all the basic business fundamentals that are part of every MBA. But we developed a truly solutions-based program by focusing the content around LG’s global strategy and vision, their products, industry and competitors.”
“These students are very sophisticated,” said Beth Stoops, Thunderbird’s Associate Vice President of Language and Cultures Programs, who spearheaded the LG/Thunderbird partnership. “Without a doubt, they took every opportunity to apply what they were learning in class to their business.”
Sidong Noh, an LG executive and student in the program said interactions between professors and students are vigorous and the program is perfect for potential global leaders. “Personally, I’m getting more insight into strategies and growing more able to view opportunities and threats from the global perspective,” he said. “Another wonderful part of this program is Thunderbird’s alumni network.”
Those kinds of direct results are just what LG is looking for as it aims to position the company as one of the top three electronics and telecommunications companies worldwide by 2010. Young-Kee Kim, Executive Vice President and Head of the Human Resources Division of LG, said the company is investing long-term in customized MBA programs to nurture talent and groom the next generation of top managers. The company has more than 72,000 employees working in 77 subsidiaries and marketing units around the world.
“Today LG is truly a global company with 80 percent of its revenue generated outside of Korea. Therefore, we need to raise next-generation leaders to manage our enterprises all around the world,” Kim said.
LG has been conducting MBA programs within the company for 11 years with a total of 250 graduates as of 2005. Dr. Sang Seub Lee, LG’s Manager of Global Leadership Development said the company specifically selected Thunderbird as one of its partners because of the school’s No. 1 ranking in training global leaders.
“When you’re talking about international management, there’s only Thunderbird,” Lee said.
The LG graduation will be held at the Wigwam Resort June 24 at 11 a.m. The next class of 30 LG executive students will begin courses August 8