05 Sep 2023

Harvard Business School Names Rupal Gadhia New Head of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid


BOSTONHarvard Business School (HBS) announced today that Rupal Gadhia (MBA 2004) will be the next managing director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid.

In her role, Gadhia will partner with a variety of internal and external stakeholders including current HBS students, alumni, faculty, and administrators. She will oversee an admissions process that aims to deliver a high-quality, MBA class with wide-ranging talents and experiences. She 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’s post-HBS career began in brand management with Sara Lee and Campbell Soup Company, followed by a move to Booz & Co as a management consultant. Leveraging her passion for brand and consulting, she 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 recruited to Genpact as global vice president of brand and digital marketing and 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. In her most recent role, Gadhia 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.

“We are thrilled to have Rupal take on this pivotal role at this pivotal time, when the need for leaders of competence and character has never been greater,” said Matt Weinzierl, senior associate dean and chair of the MBA program. “Her authentic belief in—and experience with—the transformational experience of the HBS MBA, combined with her superb analytical, marketing, and strategic skills, will inspire the world’s most promising young leaders to join the HBS MBA community of which she has been such an engaged and active member.”

“Returning to HBS in this role is the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Gadhia. “The School had such a profound impact on my life and career that leading the admissions effort was the unquestioned next step for me.”

“Business, and business leaders, are integral to solving the world’s most pressing issues, including significant global macroeconomic, social, and political challenges” said Jana Pompadur Kierstead, executive director of the MBA program. “Through her work Rupal can ensure that our MBA program is accessible to all and grow the pipeline of leaders who will one day make a difference in the world.”

The decision to hire Gadhia followed a comprehensive search managed by Heidrick & Struggles, during which the School met with candidates from very diverse backgrounds and experiences from a wide range of industries. “Her track record transforming organizations helped her to stand out among the finalists,” noted Kierstead. Gadhia succeeds Chad Losee (MBA 2013), who had headed the School’s MBA admissions and financial aid office since 2016.

Gadhia will begin her new role in October and the School “looks forward to welcoming her back to the HBS campus,” Weinzierl added.

She recently shared her thoughts on her new role in a Q&A.


Mark Cautela

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.