Ksenia Klugkist ’16

Ksenia Klugkist ’16

What is your personal background and how have your life experiences drawn you to Thunderbird?

“I was born in Mexico City, Mexico to a Soviet mother and a Mexican father, but I was raised both in Mexico City and in Moscow. I have really deep roots in both places. Like many T-birds, I honestly consider myself of a “global origin” since I had the unique experience of growing up in two completely different cultures that are halfway across the world from each other. To give you an idea of my diverse upbringing, here’s a quick summary:

A few years after I was born (in Mexico City) my dad received a diplomatic assignment to Moscow, U.S.S.R. Living in Moscow was different – I had to learn a new language and adjust to a different culture. We lived a comfortable life there with certain privileges that the Soviets did not have. However, my life drastically changed when my dad was assassinated and my family was torn apart. My mom had to escape to the USA while I was left behind with a Soviet family for four years. I came to the US in 1991 with a new identity given to me by the FBI and, once again, I had to learn a new language and adjust to another new culture. I look at my life experiences and I know that I am who I am today because of the hurdles I had to overcome in life. I had to grow up, learn how to be independent and how to adjust to different cultures and different situations at a very young age.

As a result of these and other life experiences, I feel that I already have a “global mindset.” What I need now is to attain a global skill set. This is why I have chosen Thunderbird. “

More about Ksenia…

Languages spoken -
Russian, Spanish and English


Academic background - 
Bachelor in Marketing, University of Phoenix


Professional Background -

Extensive sales experience in medical devices and pharmaceuticals 

What attracted you to Thunderbird?

“I want to continue my growth and accomplish a life goal: to earn an MBA from Thunderbird. I was torn between an MBA or a degree in international law, but through discussions with family and friends it was suggested that I look at Thunderbird. After learning about Thunderbird (through campus preview weekend), and its strong international focus, the decision became very easy as it seems perfectly tailored for me. I want to make a difference in the world and I want to learn and grow to become an asset to the world we all live in. Thunderbird will specifically prepare me not only for the business aspects of professional life, but for the global marketplace in general. I believe that a Thunderbird education will separate me from other potential candidates and give me an advantage wherever my career takes me.”

How does Thunderbird stand apart from other schools?

I believe Thunderbird offers a very unique global culture that matches my background specifically. I had heard that Thunderbird focuses on a global mindset and that immediately caught my attention. The world has truly become a smaller place with the communication and travel that is so readily available and I feel that most universities do not place enough emphasis on how to conduct business globally. When I attended the campus preview weekend I truly felt like Thunderbird was the place for me and that I would fit in well here.


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