2016 Best MBAs: Paula de Rezende Martins, ESADE

Paula de Rezende Martins ESADE

Paula de Rezende Martins



“There is no right or wrong. Everything depends on your expectations, perspective, and current situation. I believe this is important because in the MBA we learn to be better leaders, which means you must know your facts, your people, analyse situations critically, have a vision about where to go, and be brave enough to make decisions.”

Age: 35

Hometown: Brasília, Brazil

Undergraduate School and Degree: Universidade de Brasília (UnB) – BA in Architecture and Urbanism

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Brookfield Incorporações – Customer Relations Coordinator

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? WerfenLife – Barcelona / Gas Natural – Barcelona

Where will you be working after graduation? Still deciding on the best offer …

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Head of the Class Gift Committee – I led a team of 3 volunteers to collect funds for a Full-time MBA Scholarship for a student in the Class of 2018 (details in the next question)

Vice-President of Careers, Design & Innovation Club – Responsible for events connecting directly companies with students and creating an accessible network to seek information and advice about career opportunities in Innovation.

Director of Events, Women in Business Club – Responsible for events for the relaunching of the Women in Business Club at ESADE.

Class delegate, MBA Class of 2016 – Actied as a bridge between students, faculty and staff to facilitate the academic experience for the ESADE Full-time MBA Class 2016.

Student Fellow for Latin America, ESADE Admission Office – Selected by the LATAM Admissions Director to ensure the academic, professional and cultural fit of prospective candidates coming from Spanish/Portuguese-speaking countries with the ESADE Full-time MBA

Women of the World scholarship award –Scholarship dedicated to support female MBA candidates with significant international exposure and with unique intercultural perspectives.

Head of the Yearbook project for Class 2016 – I led a team of two volunteers to put together the yearbook of MBA Class of 2016 and the profits were donated to the Class Gift initiative.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Building on ESADE´s core value of collaboration and continuing an initiative started by the class of 2015, I led the class gift project for my class. As we all know the financial burden that comes with an MBA, the goal we set was to raise funds to create a scholarship for a student in the class of 2018. As a group of four volunteers, we challenged ourselves to raise 10,000 euros in just one month. We quickly put together a plan of fundraising activities. Among them were social events, such as “Casa Crawls” – student organised parties and brunches in the form of a pub-crawl, events at ESADE and donation campaigns (e.g. branded sweatshirts and the classbook). After a lot of hard effort from the team and outstanding support from students and the ESADE Foundation, we surpassed our goal by 20%. I will be very proud to announce the result to our whole class and the public at our upcoming graduation. It moves me that we came together as one enabling a student to study at ESADE and maintain the legacy of ‘building a better ESADE’ for future generations of MBAs.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At Livraria Cultura, I ran a project to review all the processes related to customer services, redesign the interactions and information flows, leverage synergies, downsize the organisational structure, and align the new process across all 14 stores. A multidisciplinary team and I worked intensively for six months and the results surpassed our expectations. I was very proud to present to the CEO and the board of directors results that included: substantial R$ 1M (€400k) annual savings; 40% reduction in customer complaints; 20% efficiencies gains in customer services; and a training programme for 1,000 back and front office employees. I am very proud of this project in terms of results, and for all the learning experience I gained. I really pushed myself outside of my comfort zone. I am very proud of the personal growth I achieved through this project.

Who is your favorite professor? Oriol Iglesias, associate professor in the marketing department, is my favourite professor as he involves the students in the learning experience and really challenges everyone to think strategically and globally. His interactive and fun teaching style makes his classes so engaging that I was always looking forward to the next class.

Favorite MBA Courses? International Business Strategy with Constance Lütolf-Carroll

Why did you choose this business school? I chose ESADE for its diverse and flexible programme. Since I have a BA in Architecture and Urbanism, I wanted to complement my experience with business studies to propel my career. ESADE offers a wide portfolio of classes that provides a unique learning experience and many extracurricular activities to develop a strong set of skills. Also, the collaborative spirit and welcoming culture at ESADE was a perfect fit for my profile. Most importantly, I had always wanted to live in Barcelona for a while, and so everything fitted perfectly.

What did you enjoy most about business school? Being with people from more than 40 nationalities and different backgrounds was such an enriching experience. We could learn from each other inside and outside the classroom, and there was so much to discover about different cultures and ways of doing things.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? That there is no right or wrong. Everything depends on your expectations, perspective, and current situation. I believe this is important because in the MBA we learn to be better leaders, which means you must know your facts, your people, analyse situations critically, have a vision about where to go, and be brave enough to make decisions.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? Realising that you can do so much more than you thought you could. The MBA challenges you every minute to cross your boundaries and prove yourself. And you know what? You can do it! It is an amazing discovery.

What was the hardest part of business school? Making choices. At ESADE we have many optional and extracurricular activities (such as clubs, labs, case competitions, and treks) that it becomes difficult to make choices. You learn to set priorities all the time.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? Your MBA starts long before the classes start. To make the most of the experience, be prepared and focus on your goals so you can make smart choices, but at the same time have an open mind to explore new paths. That is what the MBA can provide: new experiences and the opportunity to change your life completely… if you want to, of course.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized that the growth and the opportunities in my professional life back in Brazil were too limited for what I expect to accomplish.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…still be looking for a way to go to business school!”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Walt Disney for his passion and drive to make his dreams come true.

What are your long-term professional goals? When I think about the future I see myself fighting to make the world a better place. I would love to work for a charity, or have my own venture for projects that have a major impact in local communities. I believe that changes start on a small scale where you can change behaviours and open minds. I also think a lot about the kind of legacy I will leave my children, not only in words, but in putting beliefs into practice.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I thank my parents for giving me a great education, even in tough times, and teaching me important values from childhood such as discipline, commitment, hard work, and respect for people. I truly believe that the foundation they provided helped me through life. Looking back, I am really proud of what I have achieved so far.

Fun fact about yourself: I practiced ballroom dancing for many years and my favourites are zouk and west coast.

Favorite book: All the books from ‘The Tudor Court Novels’ by Philippa Gregory

Favorite movie: Dirty Dancing

Favorite musical performer: I am listening a lot to Adele.

Favorite television show: Currently addicted to Scandal and House of Cards.

Favorite vacation spot: Japaratinga, Alagoas (Brazil).

Hobbies? I love reading a good book, learning different artwork techniques (I recently learnt felt art), discovering new and exotic cuisines, and walking around.

What made Paula such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Paula has been an extremely committed student and has shown a very genuine interest ever since she joined the MBA back in September 2014. She has played a leading role in the programme with an outstanding impact on the experience of all her classmates.

She was elected student representative by her class during the first months of the programme. In this extremely challenging role, she performed an outstanding job as the main point of contact between her classmates and the programme administration. She always worked for the common good – benefitting the student body as well as the MBA Programme and ESADE.

In addition to class representation, she also excelled by leading voluntary but very ambitious projects throughout the programme. She led the organising committee of the Innovation Summit (an MBA flagship event that brings together companies and top talent in a dynamic problem-solving environment). Paula also led the Class Gift Campaign (a very challenging initiative that raises funds for a scholarship for an MBA candidate in the next intake and her team managed to surpass the ambitious objective). Paula also coordinated the Graduation Yearbook – summarising 18 months of academic and non-academic activities in a single album with the contribution of the entire student body and subsequent editing work.

In each of these projects she has far exceeded expectations, showing great self-discipline and incredible organisational skills, continuously proving to be an empathetic, passionate, and engaged professional with excellent leadership skills.

We are extremely grateful for having had a student like Paula in the Class of 2016 and hope that many more candidates with a similar commitment to the school will join the programme in the future.” — Neus Marcet Risa, Programme Director, Full Time MBA, ESADE Business School


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