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Rupal Gadhia Named Managing Director of Harvard Business School’s MBA Admissions and Financial Aid

Rupal Gadhia Named Managing Director of Harvard Business School’s MBA Admissions and Financial Aid

  • The Indian American brand and digital marketing expert, a 2004 HBS alumni, who succeeds Chad Losee, will begin her new role next month.

Brand and digital marketing expert Rupal Gadhia has been named managing director of Harvard Business School’s MBA Admissions and Financial Aid. In her role, she will partner with “a variety of internal and external stakeholders including current HBS students, alumni, faculty, and administrators,” the university said. She will oversee the admissions process, and is also “tasked with building upon previous efforts to increase access and affordability and remove financial barriers for applicants and students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.”

Gadhia, who will begin her new role in October is an HBS alumnus (2004), said returning to the school in this role is “the opportunity of a lifetime.” The school had “a profound impact” on her life and career and “leading the admissions effort was the unquestioned next step for me.” She succeeds Chad Losee (MBA 2013), who had headed the School’s MBA admissions and financial aid office since 2016.

She was born and raised in Rochester, New York to Indian parents who left Uganda when Idi Amin was in power. “They left Africa as refugees and settled down in Rochester,” she said in an interview published by Harvard Business School. “They came from warm tropical climates to literally the snowiest place ever.” She recalled spending her weekdays in public school “as one of the only Indian kids in the classroom. During the weekends she was “surrounded by Indian families that were like family to me—because my real grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles were continents away.”

After graduating from HBS, her career began in brand management with Sara Lee and Campbell Soup Company, followed by a move to Booz & Co. as a management consultant. She then joined the Brand Union, managing North American strategy and research for consumer and corporate clients, and was recruited to Interbrand to lead the relationship for two of their largest clients.

In 2017 she was hired by Genpact as global vice president of brand and digital marketing. She “helped guide the company through a brand transformation, leading a global team made up of the creative, editorial, talent marketing, digital, social, and brand groups,” the HBS announcement said. In her most recent role, she was senior vice president and global head of marketing for SharkNinja’s robots and home environment categories, “where she was focused on bringing new innovations to market,” the press release added. 

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In the HBS interview, she acknowledged the challenge ahead. “To be honest, I have a lot to learn from the MBA team,” she said. “I was very impressed with the people I met during the interview process and feel honored to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from them. My first order of business would be to learn, absorb, and understand how MBA programs operate and how they recruit the most amazing and talented students.”

She said her interest in the job occurred after the school asked alumni for help in May to find a successor to Losee. “After almost 20 years, I finally realized that I had the marketing and social enterprise skills my mentor suggested I develop.” Noting that the school had “a profound impact” on her life and is “responsible for one of the biggest growth periods” of her life, she said  it was the place “that taught me to find my voice, express my thoughts and perspectives, and lead with integrity and kindness.” So she wanted to “make a contribution to HBS that would have a profound impact on generations to come.” The new role “will leverage my background in marketing and strategy and give me the opportunity to grow and learn from the best and brightest.”

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