Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I’m a Brazilian communication manager facing the challenge of starting a new career in the U.S.
Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, RJ – Brazil
Fun Fact About Yourself: I once deceived criminals who called me pretending to have kidnapped my sister. I delayed their efforts for six hours, which helped the police find and arrest them.
Undergraduate School and Major: Londrina State University (Brazil) – Communications and Journalism.
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
SERPRO (The Brazilian federal government’s IT company): Special Projects Manager – Public Relations and Head of the Press Relations and Journalism Department
IBGE (The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, responsible for official economic indicators): Press Relations Analyst
MINISTRY OF CULTURE: Press Relations Analyst
O FLUMINENSE NEWSPAPER: Reporter/Editor-in-Chief of the paper’s website
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Prior to business school, I designed and managed the press relations department at SERPRO, the Brazilian government’s IT company. I led a strategic program to improve the company’s image, and did so by analyzing key stakeholders’ needs and strengthening SERPRO’s relationship with them. This effort involved working with a variety of groups, such as the Brazilian press, our workforce, and free software communities.
By clearly communicating that improving brand equity was fundamental to our business, I was able to influence senior executives and top tech experts to start a more transparent dialogue with these stakeholders. Then, I created initiatives, such as training opportunities for journalists on open government data and events for employees, which bolstered the overall perception of SERPRO. In one year, positive mentions about the company in media outlets increased 150%. Changing the culture around transparency inside one of the most important government organizations in Brazil was my biggest professional accomplishment.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? I would advise applicants to think strategically about their GMAT preparation. They need to assess how ready they are and be aware of their strengths and weaknesses. I would also advise every applicant to create a plan that is adaptable to his or her development. For example, if you are doing better in verbal and having more problems with math, your plan should reflect this need.
The best thing you can do to prepare for interviews is to talk with a school’s current students. They will show you the school’s culture, how helpful professors are, how valuable the career management center is, and if the community is truly collaborative.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Initially, it was Vanderbilt’s powerful brand that caught my attention. After researching Vanderbilt, I was really attracted by its Leadership Development Program and its concentrations in Brand Management and Human and Organizational Performance. Once I was admitted, I received a Forté Foundation Fellowship – and I realized that the school’s connection with this amazing institution was a game changer. I finally made the decision to attend Vanderbilt Business after I visited the school and saw firsthand how all of the students, professors, and admissions officers were open to knowing and supporting me.
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I would love to work in a global corporation where innovation, change management, and stakeholder engagement are core to the company’s success.
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I was elected senator for the Owen Student Association Government (OSGA), and I believe it is important to meet the expectations of those who voted for me. I want to cultivate collaboration and communication in our community, and I would also like to know that I was able to bring a different perspective to class debates and projects because of my background and country. Therefore, I hope that my peers would recognize my work as part of OSGA and would say I was someone who contributed to discussions and broadened their perspective.