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Q+A with Ramesh Thadani

What was your professional background and international experience before coming to GMAC?

I am a native of India. I earned my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Bombay. I came to the United States for graduate study. I earned a master’s degree in industrial engineering and operations research from Cornell University, and also earned an MBA with honors from New York University.

I joined GMAC after serving in professional positions at the American Red Cross and Warner-Lambert (now Pfizer). At Warner-Lambert I rose to president of the Asia region, based in Hong Kong, and then served as the executive vice president in Asia for Pfizer, after the merger. In 2001 I became executive vice president and CEO of biomedical services for the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., an enterprise that provides nearly half the U.S. blood supply.

Those experiences allowed me to develop strengths in operational and strategic business management that I believe will be helpful in my work at GMAC. I also have experience directing large, complex organizations and building strong teams.

GMAC has announced that it is “going global.” In your view, what does that mean?

Peter Drucker said, “the best way to predict the future is to create it.” That’s what GMAC is doing as it creates a stronger global presence. In a nutshell, “going global” involves the Council delivering more value, particularly to its international clients, and thereby strengthening our position as the premier provider of assessments and information for graduate education worldwide.

GMAC has long been a highly respected but relatively quiet global player, and the time is right for the Council to strengthen and expand its global presence to better serve the needs of business schools and students in a highly competitive global market.

As you work with the Council’s management and leadership to begin to shape the priorities for its global initiative, what are some of the more immediate goals?

For 2008, we have decided to focus on two large geographic regions. The first encompasses Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Our second focus is the Asia-Pacific region, where the explosive increase in GMAT test takers and the growing international reputation of business schools heightens the region’s operational and strategic importance.

As of November, 1, 2007, the Council has created its first international office in London. The new entity, Graduate Management Global Connection UK Ltd, is a critical step in our commitment to create a stronger global presence for GMAC.

During 2008, we will also be researching the Latin American region and building insights into that market.

Within GMAC, you head a section called International Operations. What are your goals for International Operations?

I see International Operations as the catalyst to take GMAC global. I envision that our group will work closely with the rest of the Council to undertake international activities that strengthen the position of the Council overall.

International Operations is already hard at work shaping the GMAC international strategy. For 2008, we have identified priorities in four key areas. We want to build an International Operations organization that not only serves regional markets but also brings knowledge back to the Council so that everyone benefits. We want to enhance the reputation and status of the GMAC and GMAT brands around the world. We want to identify and attract high-quality international members into the Council. And we want to create a suite of products and services that are more closely aligned with the needs of different geographic markets.

Within your first months as vice president for international operations, you brought on board Julia Tyler as vice president for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region. What are your plans for Tyler’s role?

Finding the right people to work with is fundamental to our success. Not only do they have to meet the high bar set by the Council’s current employees, but they also need to bring international perspectives and solid reputations. I am very pleased, therefore, to have brought Julia Tyler on board. Julia, of course, is the former associate dean for the London Business School MBA program. She was a committed GMAC board member from 2002 to 2005, and served as board chair.

Julia will be leading our efforts to increase the Council’s outreach and service to the rapidly growing European market and a wider region that includes the Middle East and Africa. She will be identifying new and emerging markets for graduate business education and involved in the development of regional products and services for both schools and prospective students. Her extensive experience in international marketing for graduate management education and her strong knowledge of GMAC make her especially well suited to lead this important new regional initiative.

Looking beyond 2008, what are some of your longer-term goals for the new GMAC global outreach?

Over time, my hope is that International Operations will be an integral part of the Council, delivering value to clients worldwide and thereby strengthening the position of GMAC.

In 2008 and beyond, we will be relying on our strong client focus as we build knowledge of, and about, each region. We intend to create a strong portfolio of relevant products and services. We want to strengthen our research, analysis, and market intelligence. And we want to build stronger relationships with key stakeholders and identify new relationship opportunities that will benefit GMAC and our clients.


© 2007 Graduate Management Admission Council™ (GMAC). All rights reserved. GMAC, GMAT, and Graduate Management Admission Council® are registered trademarks of the Graduate Management Admission Council in the United States and other countries.
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