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Going International

Betty Thayer's Vanderbilt MBA proved to be an advantage in Europe

Betty Thayer
Management Consulting Businesswoman (Retired)

Vanderbilt MBA 1982

It’s probably safe to venture that Betty Thayer is the only Vanderbilt MBA that has held one of the title of “Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants.” The WCMC, which began as a guild association, is one of 110 livery companies in the city of London, complete with a royal charter.

Thayer came by that title through a management consulting career that took her from Ernst & Young to the UK, where she relocated in 1991 as an Associate Partner with Andersen Consulting.

“I really wanted the experience of working abroad,” she recalls, “and the lifestyle appealed to me as well. People certainly work very hard over here, but five weeks of vacation a year is standard.”

Thayer found that her Vanderbilt MBA in finance and operations made her a valuable commodity as a consultant in Europe. “The MBA is rarer over here, and I was often the only staff person with a solid background in finance,” she says. But the move also required some adjustment. In fact, she admits that it took almost two years for her to understand the nuances of British business culture. “We speak the same language, but we don’t use words in the same way,” she says. “It took me a while to understand the cultural subtleties.” 

In 2001, Thayer became CEO of exec-appointments.com, an online recruiting service that supports senior-level executives and companies and recruiting firms conducting searches. After retiring from full-time employment, she’s devoted herself to a variety of professional activities, from assisting organizations to serving as a mentor and career advisor to senior executives.

“I enjoy working with talented individuals and teams whose personal qualities and values are admirable — and who unfailingly behave fairly towards others,” she writes. “Who I work with is more important to me than what I do.”