Meet Rice’s MBA Class of 2017

Tiago Santos de Sousa Mendes

Tiago Santos de Sousa Mendes 

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business

Hometown: Lisbon, Portugal

Undergraduate School and Major: 5-year degree in Clinical Psychology from the High Institute of Applied Psychology (ISPA – Lisboa, Portugal); Ph.D. in Psychoanalytic Studies from the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex (Colchester, United Kingdom).

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Managing Partner at Labirintos Coloridos Consultores; Coordinator of the Advanced Training in Intervention with Children at Risk at the High Institute of Applied Psychology (ISPA, Lisboa); President of Criancas da Vila (Non-Profit Organization).

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Planning ahead is the best advice that I can give. A good starting point is to take a practice exam without any previous study, which, in my view, allows applicants to accurately assess their strongest and weakest areas. Such assessment can be very useful in devising an efficient study plan. Devoting more time to improve the weakest areas might be crucial to attain a good score on the exam day.

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? It all depends on the personal goals of applicants and if the MBA program suits such goals. I would advise applicants to outline a set of parameters that are important for them in order to achieve their goals and then rank the business schools according to such parameters. This way, applicants can create their own personal rank of business schools. I would also advise applicants to speak with alumni of the desired business schools in order to know more about their experience.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? Essays, interviews and recommendation letters all require time to be prepared in detail, which in the middle of preparing for a GMAT or GRE may be short. They are, however, also an excellent opportunity to portray your capacity for creativity and ability to think outside the box. Writing an essay, in particular, might be a daunting task for some applicants. My advice would be to consider essays as a short story, where you can clearly portray your path, your career goals, and motivations, thus setting you apart from other candidates. It should be easily readable and, if possible, be engaging in the first few sentences so that the reader is curious and feels compelled to read it. It might be helpful to ask a friend or colleague to read your essays and ask them for feedback since, many times, what we intend to write and what other people read in our texts may be different.

Regarding interviews, if possible, asking a friend to practice with you might also be important, since it will help you to have a sense of what you will say in the real-life interview.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? While considering my full time MBA-program, I carefully chose the Jones Graduate School of Business due to a combination of different reasons. Contact with previous alumni and their experience was fundamental in perceiving their high degree of satisfaction with the program which met their expectation. Also, its high reputation and the specialized concentrations provided allow me to become specialized in a specific field. Finally, its focus in action learning in the real world of business was quite appealing.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? Although I have a series of goals for my MBA, I would say that my ultimate goal before I graduate would be to become specialized in the field of management consulting. 

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