Graduate Management News

Annual Industry Conference Wrap-Up

Ideas and Enthusiasm Abound at Successful Annual Industry Conference

The 2008 GMAC Annual Industry Conference (AIC), Diverse Perspectives - Like Minds, is now history, but its effects will be felt for a long time to come in the insights that participants took home. GMAC President and CEO Dave Wilson told the AIC audience to be on the lookout for an idea a day that could help their work. Judging from the buzz in the hallways and sessions, participants likely returned to their campuses with notepads full of inspiration.

A brief wrap-up can’t do justice to the meeting’s breadth, but here are some highlights:

  • Ideas galore. George Yip’s opening keynote provided ideas for crafting a global B-school strategy. In her closing keynote Tamara Erickson offered constructive insights on innovation and collaboration. In between, from a session that explored increasing demands for services from part-time MBA students to one that offered insights on curriculum integration, a plethora of breakouts were packed with creative ideas and inspiration.
  • Colleagues and friends. Hallway hugs and coffee-break chatter were two outward signs that participants were connecting with each other to share ideas and colleagueship.
  • “My GMAC” is your GMAC. To help make sure we’re on target in serving your needs, a series of well-received sessions was designed for GMAC staff to hear issues and concerns from professionals in the field. Interactive conversations at conference information booths were also part of “My GMAC.”
  • TeamMBA awards. Student community work was so big this year that not one but two schools took top honors in the second annual TeamMBA award competition (see separate story).
  • Protecting GMAT security. In the opening session, Dave Wilson showed a hard drive that had been confiscated from ScoreTop, a website that illegally distributed intellectual property related to the GMAT. GMAC won the hard drive—and ScoreTop’s URL—as part of the successful prosecution and shutdown of the site. (see separate story.)
  • Speed networking. Building on its long tradition of welcoming new colleagues, GMAC this year sponsored a well-received chance for newcomers to “speed network.” In practice, “G-Match” offered nearly 150 first-time conference attendees the chance to meet six new colleagues in just half an hour.
  • Partying to a Latin beat. Conferees celebrated in inimitable GMAC fashion with great food, fortune-telling, and friends during an evening fiesta at Carnivale, a Latin-theme Chicago restaurant.
  • Farewell to Sandy. With two standing ovations, GMAC said farewell to Sandy Mitchell, retiring after many successful years directing GMAC’s professional learning programs, including the Annual Industry Conference.

Look for details about AIC sessions, copies of handouts, and more online at

Take special note that the session on Understanding Group Identity and How it Strengthens Student Loyalty, which was cancelled in Chicago due to speaker travel delays, will be offered on September 25 as a webinar. Look for information on this session in the coming weeks at

The best takeaways from the AIC? Great ideas you can use on campus. The chance to reconnect with old friends. Opportunities to add new colleagues to your professional network. Most of all, perhaps, time to step back from daily routines to” frame the intriguing questions”—to draw a line from George Yip—that will inform our work in the year ahead.

Speaking of which—next year’s Annual Industry Conference takes place June 18-20, 2009, in Baltimore. We’ll see you then, if not before.

First Person:
Observations After the Annual Industry Conference

By Kate E. Klepper

Over the past year, Kate Klepper spent many hours helping to plan the 2008 GMAC Annual Industry Conference as this year’s conference chair. A few days after the meeting, we caught up with Kate to ask her to share her perspectives on her AIC experience. She spoke with us from her office at Northeastern University, where she is associate dean of graduate programs in the College of Business Administration.

My experience overall with the conference was amazing! As the meeting ended I heard a lot of feedback that was very positive and upbeat. One of best things about the conference, I thought, was the combination of a lot of first-time attendees with people who have been coming for many years. The willingness of colleagues to give of themselves and what they know, what they have learned, who they know, what has worked and what hasn’t. You can’t replicate that, and I think we have something very special there.

As the chair, I felt like the proud parent. I was so proud of our advisory group and what we accomplished. We worked very hard to be sure that the conference would be interesting and have personal and professional value for participants. We wanted every concurrent session timeframe to have enough variety so that everyone at the meeting could find topics that they could get excited about. We were very mindful of mixing academics and professional presenters—we felt it was important for us to not just talk amongst ourselves but to also bring in external perspectives.

In our debriefing after the conference we talked about why some of the sessions were as successful as they were. I realized that we had inadvertently done what Tamara Erickson, in her keynote address, had suggested we do—she said we should have clear roles and ambiguous tasks. In planning the meeting, we were very clear about what we wanted sessions to deliver, and left it to the presenters and consultants who helped build the sessions to make it happen.

I think the Council’s efforts to learn more from members via “My GMAC” and “G-Match” were hugely successful. I heard from people who attended the “My GMAC” breakouts that they were some of the best GMAC sessions they had ever attended. Personally, I attended one on research and data that was really helpful.

The social events added a great deal to the conference. The event on Friday night, in particular, had a really positive energy. The site, Carnivale, had a fun theme without being overbearing, and served as a conducive backdrop for good conversation. Plus the food was phenomenal. All in all, it felt like a festive atmosphere without going overboard.

Part of what I said to my colleagues at the conference debrief meeting is that I felt that being part of the advisory team is the embodiment of what the GMAC conference is all about. People from lots of different schools, in lots of different roles, from public and private institutions, large and small schools, U.S.-based and non-U.S.-based schools—we all came together, reconnected with old friends and met some new colleagues, and learned from each other. We collaborated, cooperated, and produced a great event. It really felt that this is what GMAC is for.

My advice to anyone is that if GMAC calls asking you to get involved in the Council’s activities, say yes first and then find out what the assignment is. Based on my experience I can honestly say you won’t regret it, but more importantly you will get a lot of satisfaction no matter how you get involved.

Vanderbilt and Erasmus Share TeamMBA Award

The annual TeamMBA award recognizes commitment to social responsibility through student volunteerism.

It was high drama during a luncheon at June’s GMAC Annual Industry Conference in Chicago when two schools were announced as co-winners of the 2008 TeamMBA Award. Sharing the award that celebrates the goodwill of the graduate management education community and honors a commitment to social responsibility were the Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management and Erasmus University Rotterdam School of Management.

Vanderbilt was recognized for creating a student-led service organization that aims to involve every Owen student in community service and fundraising events. The group coordinated student involvement in 14 volunteer and fundraising activities, including the participation of every first-year student in a house-building project. Nearly all of Owen’s students participated in at least one volunteer event, fundraiser or social service activity in the last year.

The Rotterdam class of 2008 established the RSM International Charity Foundation to unite the efforts of all RSM classes and alumni in supporting education of under-privileged children. The Peduli Anak Foundation of Indonesia, founded in part by a student from the RSM class of 2007, is the primary benefactor of the RSM International Charity Foundation and focuses on the education and shelter of children.

The co-winners were selected from a group of four finalists that also included The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and the Wake Forest University Babcock Graduate School of Management.

The inaugural TeamMBA Award was presented to Georgetown University McDonough School of Business in 2007.

In 2005 TeamMBA was created to bring MBA students together from many schools under one banner to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Since then, TeamMBA has evolved into a global communications initiative that celebrates and publicizes the outstanding work of graduate business schools and their students in the community and beyond.

Students from more than 40 schools have volunteered more than 12,000 hours and raised more than $400,000 for their causes and charities.

Pearson presents the Pearson Test of English

The Graduate Management Admission Council invited Pearson PLC to provide information and conduct a session on the new Pearson Test of English (PTE) at the GMAC Annual Industry Conference in Chicago last month. Ernie Anastasio, senior advisor at GMAC, Frances Murphy of Baruch College, and Mark Anderson, president of Pearson Language Tests, presented an overview of the test and its benefits to attendees. “The feedback on the test from the GMAC member schools was enormously positive. There is a genuine need for a new test of English and business schools are ready for it”, said Ernie.

Responding to feedback from institutions around the world, Pearson is developing the PTE to fulfill the need for an English language proficiency test that will more accurately measure the communication skills of non-native English speaking students in an academic environment. PTE will also provide students with more opportunity to demonstrate their academic English language competency.

The new test will offer superior results and reporting service for institutions and will be administered using new technologies, which both ensure maximum security and enhance the testing experience.

State-of-the-art technologies will be used to deliver and score PTE. Automated writing and speech scoring will enable consistent and accurate grading and improve score turnaround time.

Candidates will receive their results online, which means once institutions are designated as recipients, they will be able to access official, secure score reports online from Pearson that contain more information including sub scores. Institutions can be confident that they are getting more accurate and proven measures of candidates’ language ability.

The Pearson Test of English is developed and offered to students in collaboration with GMAC and it will be launched in 2009.

Interested in accepting PTE scores or obtaining more information? Please contact Helene Duvin at

Click here to visit the home page
Click here to Read Our Archive