Global Payments is one of the largest payment processing companies in the world. It is a leading provider of processing solutions for credit and debit cards, business-to-business purchasing cards, gift cards, electronic cheque conversion and cheque guarantee that is used by multi-national corporations worldwide.
A Fortune 1000 company, Global Payments delivered revenue of $2.4 billion and saw an impressive 8% growth in the fiscal year ending May 31, 2013.
The company’s International President, Mac Schuessler, received his MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in 1998 and has risen through the ranks at Global Payments since he began his career as their Vice President of Marketing in 2005.
He is responsible for approximately 1,800 employees and runs the business throughout Europe and Asia, comprising about $700 million in revenue. In this exclusive interview, he tells us why an MBA was essential to his career success, what qualities you need to land a job at Global Payments and why your card transactions will soon all be contactless.
You studied an MBA at Emory University, Goizueta Business School - how do you think MBAs have changed between now and then, and was an MBA essential to your career?
It was essential for me, for two main reasons. One is that it definitely demonstrates a level of ambition and also the ability to manage complexity. I studied in the evening and worked at the same time at American Express, so definitely just the fact that you get your MBA is a testament to the ability to manage your time and priorities effectively.
The second is the functional knowledge you gain in the MBA program, such as accounting, strategy and marketing, which you wouldn’t get otherwise. At the time, I was working in a technology and product management group, and the ability to go back after my undergraduate degree and study subjects like accounting and economics was particularly valuable.
Is having an MBA essential for getting a job with Global Payments and do you typically hire from any specific business schools?
It’s not essential, but it is a respected accomplishment. The current head of Human Resources at Global Payments has an MBA from Georgia State University and another executive has an MBA from University College London; there are employees with MBAs throughout the company.
All the executives recognise that it’s an achievement and it helps move your career forward. At our corporate headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, we hire Emory University interns and work with students attending the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
What qualities does a candidate need to get hired at Global Payments?
The things we value in a candidate are being bright, capable and ambitious. Given that a great deal of our focus is on our customers and partners, we place a tremendous value on people who are optimistic and upbeat, with a good outlook on life and who find a way to not just identify problems but offer solutions.
As someone who began as a Vice President but has risen to President, International - what do you think it takes to succeed at Global Payments?
The first is functional skills and understanding of how a business works. The second is leadership; learning to lead, to be able to hire great people and motivate them to get results. It’s also important to understand corporate culture and be able to navigate in that culture.
But what makes the difference between people who work at companies and people who end up running companies is the ability to deal with ambiguity. Any MBA who wants to move to a C-level job has to be comfortable with ambiguity. In every job I’ve worked in, no one has said, “This is what you need to do and this is how to do it.” You need to be able to go on a path without people telling you exactly what to do and how to do it.
What do you think separates Global Payments from other electronic transaction processing service companies?
The needs of our customers and our commitment to them are what drive our business. Business school taught me how important trust is in building relationships. Our business is built on strong global partnerships, which enable us to provide innovative products and services to help our customers around the world succeed and grow.
Global Payments recently launched an mPOS terminal, the first of its kind, in Sri Lanka – does this signal that you hope to launch similar services in other emerging markets?
We've already launched the same product in the UK and in Barcelona and see mobile payments as a tremendous growth opportunity in the industry. We have actually tested the product in Hong Kong and we believe using a cell phone or tablet as a payments device lowers the cost of acceptance, as merchant outlets don’t have to buy a card terminal.
Hong Kong is one of the most mature payments market in the Asia-Pacific region, and we think the rate of adoption in emerging markets would be more rapid than in developed countries.
Do you think that payments made with a smartphones or tablets are the future for the transaction industry?
The form of acceptance will change. Right now, you can walk up to vending machines in Hong Kong and purchase a soda by waving your card in front of it. It will be an ever emerging device and I think the rate of change (from contact to contactless) will increase at a faster pace.