Client Information

TEM Lab Client Information

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TEM Lab projects provide organizations in emerging markets with skilled and motivated human capital. TEM Labs are truly win-win propositions, creating value for companies and providing a unique, professional learning experience for our MBA candidates. Contact us today! 

Review our past projects to get an idea of the work we do and the clients we work with.  To think about engaging at TEM Lab team with your organization, download a sample project synopsis and formulate your own deliverables. 

Thunderbird consulting teams create sustainable business solutions and transfer their knowledge and skills to their client organization. The strength of the Thunderbird approach lies in combining students’ professional experience and academic expertise with the client’s knowledge of their home market. Thunderbird consultants create a comprehensive work plan to address the needs defined by the client and bring fresh eyes to a business problem, along with a research-based approach to finding solutions.

Consulting teams have direct access to internationally recognized Thunderbird professors who have business intelligence, financial analysis, supply chain resources, marketing/brand management and organizational consulting expertise. Professor Michael Finney, TEM Lab Faculty Lead, provides academic guidance and oversight to every team. Charles Reeves, the Lab Program Director, coaches the teams and provides logistical support. Teams in the field are assigned a research assistant on the Glendale campus who has full access to Thunderbird’s world-class business library and resources.

Client FAQ

How does the student team engage with the organization?

TEM Lab consulting projects take place over five weeks of full-time work in the field.  Two additional weeks are spent in orientation (pre) and debrief (post) on the Thunderbird campus. The team will travel to the client’s location and work with them on site. Generally the team will require significant access to the client’s office, personnel, internal information, and perhaps customers or other elements of the local business environment. The client is responsible for “plugging-in” the team.

Prior to departure, the consulting team forms its own internal structure and the team leader contacts the host organization for initial discussions. This is when the project deliverables get refined and the team can begin focusing on the project parameters. By the end of the first week in the field the team has finalized their work plan and the client signs off on it. This plan guides the work and outlines the resource commitments necessary to reach the project deliverables.

What areas and what industries does TEM Lab serve?

TEM Lab serves all sectors: government, for-profit and not-for-profit. TEM Lab works in emerging markets, defined as most locations outside of North America, Western Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

Thunderbird MBA students have a wide variety of professional and cultural backgrounds. TEM Lab teams are capable of taking on a wide variety of business problems, including marketing, finance, supply chain, strategic planning, human resources, and so on. Click here to see descriptions and blogs from past TEM Lab projects. For specific projects, the capacity of a Thunderbird consulting team to meet the goals of a host organization depends on the skill sets of students enrolled in the course. Bottom line: TEM Lab will not send a student team to work on a project if the students don’t have the experience and knowledge to be effective. Matching student skill sets to projects is done on a project-specific basis.

How much does a TEM Lab consulting team cost?

A TEM Lab consulting project costs approximately $25,000, including international administration expenses. This figure can vary depending on project location and living costs. The budget will be negotiated prior to deployment. A team treasurer tracks all expenses in the field in accordance with Thunderbird’s travel and expense policy. Half of the initial budget estimate will be due upon engagement. The remaining will be due at the end of the project and subject to revision based on actual costs. The team treasurer reports weekly on the expenses and they will be monitored to ensure that costs are in-line with the budget.

What is the end result of a team’s work?

The team creates a work plan to arrive at deliverables specified by the client. These deliverables depend entirely on the organization’s needs. For examples of past project deliverables, please click to see sample project synopses: sample Nha Trang synopsis - sample RDTech synopsis.

Click here for other examples of Thunderbird Student Consulting projects.

What kind of a timeline does TEM Lab function on?

TEM Lab operates on the Thunderbird academic calendar and can typically deploy consulting teams in the first or second half of the Fall, Spring, and Summer trimesters.  For example, the second half of the Spring trimester is mid-March to the end of April.  Second half of the Fall trimester is November, into the first couple of weeks of December.  TEM Lab administration prefers to confirm projects with clients one trimester ahead of time.  

Of note, client communication with TEM Lab begins before the seven week engagement. TEM Lab administration will be in touch with the client system to finalize the deliverables and clarify logistical details, plus the team might reach out in advance of the project to begin planning their work.

It is not uncommon for TEM Lab to undertake sequential projects or to create Institutional Partnerships that provide for multiple teams over a longer timeframe.

To bring a potential project to the TEM Lab pipeline, contact Program Director Charles Reeves at charles.reeves@thunderbird.edu.

How can my organization engage a TEM Lab team?

Please contact the Program Director, Charles Reeves, at charles.reeves@thunderbird.edu, for initial discussions that will determine whether the proposed project can satisfy the needs of both the organization and Thunderbird. If so, an initial project synopsis will be developed. (sample Nha Trang synopsis - sample RDTech synopsis). A budget and timeline will also be defined.

If a project is accepted it will be submitted to students when the class is being formed for the following trimester. For example, projects to run during the summer will be proposed to students before the end of the spring trimester. If student interest and skill sets match the project, a team will be formed and project plans finalized.

How are students prepared for a consulting project?

Students eligible for TEM Lab are in their second year of studies at Thunderbird and must have completed rigorous pre-requisites. Before deploying, students are prepared logistically, mentally and academically by the TEM Lab Faculty Lead and the Program Manager. Generally, one week is spent on campus gathering resources relevant to the region and industry. During this week the TEM Lab staff orients the team for their departure and an additional conference call with the client is held.