2015 Best MBAs: Bruno Valle

Bruno Valle - Northwestern-PoetsAndQuants

Bruno Valle


Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

A Bainie from Brazil, Valle came to Evanston and immediately found himself serving in several leadership positions. He served as the co-president of LAHIMA (Latin American, Hispanic and Iberian Management Association) at Kellogg, as well as heading investor relations for the Entrepreneurship Clubs and serving in the student association. He will be returning to Bain & Company after graduation.

Age: 28

Hometown: Brasilia, Brazil

Undergraduate School: University of Pennsylvania

Undergraduate Degree: B.A., Political Science (Political Economy concentration)

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Bain & Company, Consultant, São Paulo, Brazil

Where did you intern during the summer of 2014? Bain & Company, private equity group, Chicago, IL

Where will you be working after graduation? Bain & Company, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…after graduating from college, I went to work in mergers and acquisitions in Brazil – it was an amazing experience; I worked on many global, front-page deals and met mentors whom I keep [in touch with] to this day. However, I was learning a lot on the job and through my mentors, which led me to realize that there was a lot of the technical side of business and finance that I didn´t fully understand yet. Also, I’ve always wanted to take a few years to explore industries, meet new people and reflect on what I want my career to look like going forward, so in some ways taking the time to get an MBA has always been in the back of my mind.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…When I was in high school, my dream was to work at the World Bank or IMF designing economic policy. I wanted to have global impact, but I still hadn´t set my mind on business just yet. I still read a lot of layman economics on the side. Given that, if I hadn´t gone to business school, I would probably have become an economist.”

What are your long-term professional goals? I really like thinking about the future, and fast-growing industries that change quickly and impact life on global level – energy, technology, space, transportation, telecommunications – industries the entire world depends on and that are not linked to one specific region. We need more people who actively try to create the future instead of waiting for it to arrive. If I can focus my career on being one of those people, I’ll be pretty happy. I´m inspired by guys like Elon Musk and Peter Diamandis, because they’ve formalized the idea of thinking about where the world needs to go and positioning yourself to make that happen, even if it seems too ambitious to become reality.

Favorite Courses: Global Entrepreneurial Finance, Public Economics, International Finance, and Managerial Leadership

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? One of the best academic experiences at Kellogg was taking advantage of the experiential learning curriculum to explore industries and topics that I am interested in. Through the New Venture Development class, I worked on starting an online marketplace with a team of classmates. It didn’t work out, but the experience of being coached by experienced entrepreneurs and current venture capitalists showed me what makes differentiates a successful business from a failed one. People spend a lot of time talking about the value of ideas, but Kellogg showed me that the details are where businesses are made – things like industry timing, sales effectiveness, and ability to change directions.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Without a doubt, I need to thank my wife – without her none of these experiences would be possible!

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Kellogg because its curriculum focuses strongly on the challenge behind driving growth in companies and organizations – my passions are new industries for which there is still no consensus on where they are going or how fast they are going to grow. Rapid growth can create unexpected challenges, and I knew that the school I chose would have to be focused on addressing those challenges: How do properly decide which customers to target using transaction data? How can you mitigate high working capital in positive cash conversion cycle companies? How do you design incentives for new managers which reward both their targets but also the growth of the whole company? These are the kinds of questions I find interesting, and Kellogg has allowed me to fully explore them.

What did you enjoy most about business school? It’s hard to say since there are so many interesting things going on at once, but I would have to say it’s a split between the amazing people I’ve met and the leadership experience I’ve had by leading the Latin American, Hispanic and Iberian Management Association. About a year-and-a-half ago the current team and I created a slate to become the new leaders of the group, and quickly went about designing a strategic plan, mission, vision and where we wanted the group to be in five years. We scheduled road shows meetings with the deans and administration, created KPIs and individual responsibilities and leadership roles for each “division” (the organization has several sub-groups, such as admissions, alumni, marketing, social events etc.). It’s amazing to see how a dedicated and energized group of people can think of an idea and immediately set out to make it happen. I got really lucky to find people who were similarly committed to growing the organization, and I think we all learned a lot about what it takes to put an ambitious plan into action when you have limited funding, time and attention available.

What is your most memorable moment from business school? Beyond the experience above, the other one that immediately comes to mind was a three hour workshop held by Professor Carter Cast – former CEO of Walmart.com – on how he suggested people go about actively designing their lives and careers. He based it strongly on Joseph Campbell’s theories on the “hero’s journey” – basically that mythology and epic stories are all variations on one archetypal story which describe personal growth and overcoming challenges. Professor Cast then drew a parallel between our lives/careers and Campbell’s hero’s journey, showing how it was up to us to actively create what our own journey’s would look like, and not rely on external expectations or jobs to tell us what to do.

Fun fact about yourself: I had a band in high school which exclusively played Weezer and Green Day covers.

Favorite book: This changes all the time, but recently I really enjoyed Antifragile by Nassim Taleb and Zero to One by Peter Thiel – both big thinkers who write really objectively about how truly new things get done in the world.

Favorite movie: Jurassic Park and Cool Runnings

Favorite musical performer: This changes a lot, but I’ve been listening to a lot Deadmau5.

Favorite television show: Currently addicted to House of Cards.

Favorite vacation spot: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

What are your hobbies? I’m not sure I have any hobbies – the word brings to mind technical crafts like woodworking and car repair – but in my free time I’m usually hanging out with my wife, reading, travelling or running on Lake Michigan.

Twitter Handle: @brunovalle

What made Bruno such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015?

“Bruno is a very special fellow. With all of the pressure in business schools regarding classes and recruiting, it is very easy to become “self focused”. Bruno is the opposite…..he is the ultimate “other focused” individual. He is always available to help everyone and is involved in everything. He asked me what he could do to build a better network for Latin American alumni and students, and is always trying to increase the interaction between students and faculty.”

– Harry Kraemer, Clinical Professor of Strategy

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