Ranjana Maitra

A Visionary Leader Bridging Horizons in International Higher Education


Country Head-International,

University of New Haven, CT, USA

I n today’s ever-evolving world, women are inc.reasingly becoming the catalysts for transformative change. Today, women have reached remarkable milestones and have had a profound impact on society. One exemplary leader driving significant change and nurturing the next generation of leaders is Ranjana Maitra.
Transitioning from a thriving corporate career at two large global companies TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) and Wipro, Ranjana has emerged as an inspiring figure in the domain of international higher education. As the Country Head-International, brand ambassador and esteemed alumna of the University of New Haven in West Haven, Connecticut, USA, her narrative is one marked by passion, unwavering commitment, and a profound belief in the transformative potential of education.
Ranjana’s professional journey is a testament to her adept leadership and entrepreneurial acumen, garnered over two and a half decades in the tech industry, particularly in healthcare and life sciences. Her accomplishments include successfully establishing new businesses, overseeing global centres of delivery excellence, and orchestrating turnarounds for acquired ventures. In her role as the global life sciences at Wipro in DOP (Digital Operations & Platforms), Ranjana spearheaded significant advancements, consistently surpassing growth targets, redefining global service delivery models, and leading the charge in securing new clients.
Yet Ranjana’s story is not merely one of corporate triumphs. It is rooted in a progressive upbringing and a pivotal master’s degree pursuit in the US that ignited her passion for education. The shift to international higher education was a logical progression, driven by her dedication to learning and perpetual improvement and taking up challenges. As the Country Head-International at the University of New Haven, Ranjana wears multiple hats, serving, along with the university’s newly appointed president Jens Frederiksen, as the university’s face and voice globally. Engaging with bright talents and partners, she actively contributes to fostering a global community ardently dedicated to quality education.
In her capacity as a brand ambassador, Ranjana plays a proactive role in activities designed to enhance stakeholders’ understanding of the University of New Haven’s brand. Her focus spans international education counselling, partner university relationship management, enrollment management/recruitments, and thought leadership advocacy in international education. In a short span, Ranjana was able to increase the brand value of her alma mater multi-fold. She also remarkably increased student enrolment globally, especially for STEM degrees.
TradeFlock interviewed Ranjana to understand more about her profound commitment to the transformative influence of education and her unyielding pursuit of excellence. 

How have your achievements at TCS and Wipro in scaling healthcare and life sciences businesses contributed to your current role at the University of New Haven?

My corporate journey included diverse roles, from hands-on experience at TCS, focusing on integrated IT deals in the government sector, to leading the global life sciences at Wipro in DOP (Digital Operations & Platforms). One notable achievement was turning around a company acquired from GE as its COO, integrating it seamlessly and expanding the client base significantly. These global experiences equipped me with the skills needed to scale businesses and achieve growth, particularly in healthcare and life sciences, which now contribute to my role in international higher education.

Facing the challenges of international higher education with strategic initiatives and a passion for diversity, Ranjana advocates for a world where education transcends boundaries, preparing the next generation for a global stage.

As a leader, what strategies did you employ to set up and turnaround businesses?

The strategies varied based on the context. In turning around an acquired company, it involved integrating people, standardising processes, aligning culture, and enhancing customer satisfaction. In setting up a new business, the focus was on innovation, making the entity part of the larger organisation, scaling operations, and achieving a financial turnaround. Adaptability, innovation, and a keen understanding of the unique challenges in each scenario played crucial roles in these strategies. All this helped me in building a successful strategy for international recruitment for the University of New Haven.

Describe your leadership approach when leading teams in healthcare, IT, and higher education.

My leadership approach emphasises agility and adaptability. Understanding the diverse challenges in sectors such as healthcare, IT, and international higher education, I believe in leveraging strengths, fostering innovation, and acknowledging the unique dynamics of each sector. Effective communication, client management, and relationship building have been constants in my leadership approach, adapted to suit the specific needs of each sector.

What are the main challenges in international higher education today, and how do you propose addressing them?

The challenges in international higher education today are multifaceted, including virtual recruitment, hybrid models, changing learning experiences, shifting demographics, varying demand for skills, and global uncertainties. Addressing these requires a concerted effort from organizations, the government, and individuals. Strategic initiatives such as international education counselling, academic credentials evaluation, and thought leadership advocacy can play a vital role. Additionally, fostering diversity, understanding global cultures, and adapting and agility to new learning paradigms are crucial steps in navigating these challenges successfully.

How do you plan to use technology to enhance accessibility for students in India and Southeast Asia?

We continuously seek ways to incorporate cutting-edge technology to make our highly respected programs accessible to a broad audience. Our fully online programs allow students to advance their education and build their networks while balancing career and family commitments. In addition to master’s and doctoral programs, we offer a variety of graduate certificates and micro-credentials, enabling students to gain knowledge in diverse fields without committing to a full degree.

What guiding principle or mantra has shaped your career and leadership style?

“Under commit and over deliver.” We all play our part in the organisation, community, and society we live in. It is important to understand that we need to “give” as much as we “receive.” Today, I am grateful to my mentors, parents and several others who guided me in my journey.

What unique aspects of the University of New Haven's academic experience contribute to its excellence?

The University of New Haven is at the forefront of creating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs, with more than 55 STEM-designated offerings. These programs provide students with the technical expertise that employers seek. Our students participate in immersive educational experiences with hands-on learning opportunities, allowing them to apply their knowledge in real-world settings. This approach prepares our graduates for success, with nearly 96 percent employed or pursuing advanced degrees within six months of graduation. Our community is truly global, with students from over 55 countries. The University also has a long-standing affiliation with Yale and is renowned for its dedication to innovation and student outcomes across its five academic colleges. Notable programs include national security/ cyber, forensics, data science, engineering, biomedical/biotech, and business analytics. We hold the highest accreditations from ABET, ABE, and AACSB and focus on both teaching and research to prepare students for outstanding careers. Our engagement with practitioners in residence ensures our curricula align with market needs.

How do you plan to integrate AI and emerging technologies to enhance student learning at University of New Haven?

Artificial intelligence offers numerous opportunities to enhance student support and enrich learning experiences. However, education is fundamentally a human experience—centred on knowledge transfer, life experiences, and building relationships through meaningful learning opportunities. The University is exploring deeper integration of AI and data literacy into the core curriculum to prepare students for a changing world. We emphasize augmented intelligence and using AI to optimize the human experience. AI, machine learning, and automation will challenge traditional operations, highlighting the importance of critical and creative thinking. Combining human ingenuity, empathy, and creativity with data and AI familiarity is essential for future success, and the University of New Haven is well-positioned to lead the future in this area.

How does the University adapt its international recruitment to attract top global talent?

We invest significant time and energy into creating personalized recruitment strategies for prospective students. Our focus is on demonstrating how the University of New Haven helps students achieve their dreams, maximize their investment, and develop a diverse and inclusive campus atmosphere. Being part of our global community allows students to celebrate their individual cultures while experiencing a true sense of belonging. Our commitment to student success extends beyond retention and graduation, building a global network of successful career outcomes and ROI. It’s crucial for prospective students to consider what happens months and years after graduation. We take this responsibility seriously, ensuring we meet the high expectations of students and parents.

How does the University maintain strong partnerships with global universities for academic exchange?

Under President Frederiksen, we prioritize strengthening our academic and corporate pathway programs to create strong relationships across various industries and academia. These relationships lead to new learning opportunities and foster a robust exchange of knowledge globally. With nearly 3,000 international students, the University of New Haven is a global hub, reflecting the world and the future. We focus on preparing our students for global competency and understanding that surpasses other mid-size US institutions. This global immersion extends to our satellite campus in Prato, Italy, and includes an increased emphasis on academic and corporate partnerships worldwide.

Outside of work, what hobbies or activities do you enjoy?

I work very closely with CII (Confederation of Indian Industries), and I was the Co-Chair of the CII IWN WR. I am currently part of the Education and International Trade and Investment Task Forces at CII. I love to work on projects that empower women, especially women in STEM, DEI and mentoring. I also participate in many panel discussions on a wide range of topics.