Linda Wetzel

Adjunct Professor of Global Studies
Areas of Expertise: 

Russia and former Soviet states, Business intelligence, Country risk analysis and management, Global business security, Development strategies in second- and third-world environments, Regional and sub-national business environments and cultures


Country Risk Management, Field Seminar in Russia, Global Business Development: Jordan, Strategies in Global Development

Professional Bio: 

Linda Wetzel is an adjunct professor of global studies at Thunderbird School of Global Management. She was an analyst and manager at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for 18 years, and is respected for her knowledge of global business principles such as the value of business intelligence and the impact of U.S. foreign policy on international commerce.

Her areas of expertise include Russia and the former Soviet states, country risk analysis and management, global business security, development strategies in second- and third-world environments, and regional and sub-national business environments and cultures. She is the creator of Thunderbird’s “Winterim” course on doing business in Jordan, a foray into the Middle East that has resulted in a $1.6 million USAID funded collaboration between Thunderbird and the Business Development Center in Amman.

Ms. Wetzel, is proficient in Russian and French, boasts a range of research interests, currently examining topics such as public-private partnerships in economic development, methodologies for the analysis of country- and project-specific risk, and national, regional and sub-national business cultures and their effects on businesswomen.

She was called on days after the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks by The Arizona Republic to write a column about the expected effects of the terrorist act. She has contributed to Thunderbird Magazine on the subjects of achieving regional business success and managing country risk, and co-authored a market study for Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy for Arizona’s Environmental Technology Industry Cluster (ETIC), “Environmental Technologies Market Opportunities in Asia.”

Ms. Wetzel was honored three times for exceptional service while with the CIA. During her first 10 years, from 1976 through 1986, she worked as an intelligence analyst and served in a rotational assignment to the Pentagon as a special assistant for the USSR and Eastern Europe and was also an intelligence assistant to the chief and deputy chief of the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. She ended her career with the CIA in 1995 after two years teaching an international studies course she created as an officer-in-residence, “Russia in the New World Order.”

Prior to joining the Thunderbird faculty, Ms. Wetzel’s professional experience included six years as a partner in the consulting firm Kisinger, Wetzel & Associates, specializing in business intelligence, risk assessment and different market-entry services. Since 2002, she has worked as an independent consultant in risk management and business intelligence.

Ms. Wetzel received a diploma in Russian language and culture from the former Leningrad State University (now St. Petersburg State University). She earned her MA from the Soviet Union program at Harvard University and her AB, cum laude, in Russian studies from Bryn Mawr College. She draws upon this expertise in her Russia Field Seminar for candidates in the Executive MBA Program.