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MBA 1991: Vice President, Industry Marketing Xerox Document Services
Laura Ramos spent nine years at Forrester Research studying and writing about high-tech marketing, but when offered the opportunity last spring (April, 2010) to practice what she preached, she leapt at the chance.
Today, as vice president of industry marketing for Xerox Services, North America, Ramos manages a six-member team who plan and produce executive marketing programs driving business opportunities in education, financial services, government, high-technology, manufacturing and retail.
"I decided it was time to stop advising and to start getting my hands dirty again," said Ramos, who also has held research and product marketing positions at Giga Information Group (acquired by Forrester in 2003), Stratify (fka PurpleYogi), Verity, Vitria Technology, Resumix, Sybase and Tandem Computers.
She especially is intrigued by marketing’s current emphasis on the Internet and social media. Modern communications systems not only pose different challenges to marketing than in the past, they also let Ramos manage her team, who are mostly based at Xerox’ headquarters in Rochester, NY, from California.
"Buyers control the sales cycle today," she contends. "They get to decide where and how to interact with the seller. How do you, as a marketer, use this to your advantage? As an industry analyst, I worked at understanding what motivates the buyer and how marketers can tap that motivation. That’s what fascinates me."
Originally trained as a mechanical engineer at Stanford, Ramos discovered her passion for marketing only after she started her MBA program at SCU to advance her engineering management career. She earned her degree in 1991, but says she uses the skills she learned then every day.
She maintains her ties to the school through numerous speaking engagements in undergraduate and MBA marketing classes and is a former member of the Business Alumni Board.
"Three things really stand out for me about my experience with SCU," she said. "First, the SCU community is closely knit here in the valley. Having that network and those associations has been a real advantage for me.
“Second, the MBA is a really well-rounded program. I learned how business works, not just about the mechanics of the different disciplines.
“Third, I think the Jesuit tradition reminds you to keep your moral compass on hand in the work world. We need more people in business who think about ‘doing right’ as an outcome of business activity, not just about making money. I found those kind of people in the MBA program."