Dr. Cabrera meets with female entrepreneurs in Afghanistan.

International business schools are shifting away from producing CEOs only concerned with the bottom line to creating business leaders focused on meeting global challenges and dedicated to building a sustainable economy, says Angel Cabrera, president of Thunderbird School of Global Management.

“There is a wave of change in business schools,” Dr. Cabrera told GlobalAtlanta about this shift and the emphasis in international business schools on creating programs that focus on helping emerging economies.

An authority on international business education, Dr. Cabrera is president of the No. 1 international business school as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times.

In Atlanta to receive an alumni award from Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr. Cabrera also met with the Thunderbird Alumni Association Atlanta Chapter to talk about “Thunderbird 2020 Global Vision,” which dictates the school’s goals for the next 10 years and beyond.

This new vision focuses on expanding Thunderbird’s impact around the world and reaching entrepreneurs in disadvantaged circumstances.

Moving toward this goal, Thunderbird is partnering with investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and the U.S. State Department to bring Pakistani women to the school for business and leadership training for the first time next spring.

This initiative is one part of “10,000 Women,” a program started by Goldman Sachs to educate women in developing countries in business management skills.

As co-chair of the task force that created “Principles for Responsible Management Education,” a voluntary framework of ethics for business education supported by the United Nations, Dr. Cabrera also plays a prominent role in the development of ethical standards for business.

Dr. Cabrera’s uncommon background lent to his role in this movement. Although he is now the president of Thunderbird, he did not start his career in international business education.

Leaving his school in Arizona, Dr. Cabrera made his way to Atlanta to receive an award for distinguished alumni of the year from the psychology department of Georgia Tech on Nov. 11.

His education in psychology prepared him for his prominent role in this wave of change by keeping him out of the business school environment.

“My psychology background has kept me away from the wrong values,” he said, noting that some business educators teach the value of profits without focusing on social responsibility. 

Dr. Cabrera added that within some business schools there is no standard curriculum for teaching ethics.

After he was presented the award by Anderson Smith, senior vice provost for academic affairs at Georgia Tech, Dr. Cabrera told GlobalAtlanta about his journey of becoming president of Thunderbird.

A native of Spain, he graduated from Madrid Polytechnical University with a bachelor’s and a master’s in engineering. After graduation he looked for a field where he could study more than the hard sciences.

“I love math, science and technology … but I’m much more fascinated with how the mind works,” said Dr. Cabrera.

In order to learn how people think, Dr. Cabrera studied psychology at Georgia Tech.

“Tech was a great fit because it has a great psychology school within an engineering school,” he said on his reasons for selecting Georgia Tech.

After earning a masters and a doctorate in psychology, he worked for Accenture plc, a global consulting firm, which was looking for people who had an understanding of both people and technology. With his two different degrees, Dr. Cabrera was well qualified. He added that he enjoyed working in consulting in part because of the impact he had on many people.

Through working with Thunderbird, Dr. Cabrera said he was able to combine his interest in people, his passion for teaching and his desire to impact as many people as possible.

His prominent role in international business education and in the movement to reach emerging economies allows Dr. Cabrera to extend his impact even more.

For more information on Thunderbird, visit www.thunderbird.edu.