2017 MBAs To Watch: Luiz Henrique Badalotti De Geroni, Pittsburgh (Katz)

Luiz Henrique Badalotti De Geroni

University of Pittsburgh, Katz Graduate School of Business

“I am focused, determined, and a hard worker. My mission is to empower people around me.”

Age: 30

Hometown: Sarandi – Rio Grande do Sul – Brazil

Fun fact about yourself: I used to have dreadlocks, and played music professionally for two years.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Undergraduate degree (2009): Universidade do Vale do Itajaí, Bachelor in Business Administration (Itajaí – Santa Catarina – Brazil).

Graduate degree (2013): Fundação Getúlio Vargas, MBA (Porto Alegre – Rio Grande do Sul – Brazil)

Where did you work before enrolling in business school?

Own business (2009-2010) – Founder and CEO

Lojas Renner S/A (2010 -2015) – New business manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? L’oréal USA, Finance Summer Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? L’oréal USA, Director of Finance

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Frank G. Paci Endowed Fund Scholarship

Katz Invitation Case Competition 2016 – Runners up

ACG Cup (Case Competition) Winner

  • Internal Round
  • Regional Round

Dean’s List

  • Spring 2016
  • Fall 2016

Student Honoree Award

  • 2016
  • 2017

Member

  • Finance Club
  • Consulting Club
  • The Roberto Clemente Minority Business Association

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Participating in and winning the ACG Cup Case Competition was an amazing experience. I had never participated in any case competitions in my life, and I was surprised to see that, after working for more than nine years, case competitions were very similar to real-world projects. My teammates were super talented, hailing from the US, Japan, and South Korea. Each one of us had different backgrounds and brought a different vision to the table.

The experience involved long hours (coffee), days working until 4 a.m. (more coffee), readings (more coffee), discussions (fresh air), learning, learning, and more learning. In the end, it all paid off. At the same time, we were studying for exams and looking for jobs (MBA life, you know). We won both internal (against teams from our own university) and regional rounds (against great schools from other US universities). The experience helped me develop my leadership skills, and I found it interesting, challenging, and rewarding to work with such a diverse group. As the MBA staff had challenged us, we brought the trophy back home (the school had won this competition in the past).

After this experience, I had the opportunity to lead multiple diverse teams in courses such as Valuation 2, Strategic Management, Management Simulation, and Creating Value Through Restructuring. Also, the case competition helped me get my internship offer, because in one part of the internship selection process we had a finance case competition.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? After nine years of working, I am very proud to be prepared to assume my position in every place (companies or divisions) I worked in until now. Developing successors to take over your responsibilities when you leave is as important as performing well individually. This situation has happened four times in my career, and being able to handle smooth transitions in which the purpose always remains constant, regardless of who is in charge, is a great achievement for me. I have always had mentors in my professional life, and I would like to highlight Paula Picinini, my former boss, who used to tell me that legacy is the most important asset that a professional can produce. Thus, there is only one way to create a strong legacy: train people who work with you, create a work environment where people can strengthen their skills and highlight their talent, and do not be afraid of working with people who are better than you (that is the best way to learn and to have a high-performing team). On my journey, I will always be looking forward to meet new, highly qualified people that I can learn from and will always try to help my team members to reach their best.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I wish I could mention all the professors here because the exchange with each one of them made me a better professional and surely a better person. However, for me, teaching is an art, and I would like to recognize three artists who have the gift of sharing knowledge, motivating people, and making complex subjects seem simple.

  • Kenneth M. Lehn (Valuation 1)
  • Prakash Mirchandani (Statistical Analysis: Uncertainty, Prediction and Quality Control and Global Supply Chain Management)
  • John C. Camillus (Strategic Management and Business of Humanity: Strategic Planning in the Era of Globalization, Innovation and Shared Value)

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Entrepreneurship & New Venture Initiation. We analyzed 17 cases for this course and Professor G. Richard Patton helped us understand the main issues startup companies have in their initial stage. Having been an entrepreneur myself, I know how hard it is to prove that you have a product or service that solves a given problem (that maybe people do not realize it exists). Also, I know how painful it is when you have literally nobody to help you manage your business and you need to do everything from the very basic to the most complex tasks by yourself.

Every time I see accounts receivable in the balance sheet, I remember how hard it was to drive my car to charge customers for their bills. This course made me remember my time as an entrepreneur, when your title means absolutely nothing, when any loss of focus can cause the death of a company, and being hard-working is key to keep a company on track. Sometimes, big corporations get lost in the bureaucracy and in the function overlap that occurs among the thousands of employees, and they forget to focus on simple but key points for its survival. After completing my MBA, I will go back to the corporate world, focused, determined and without a doubt ready to make my business unit evolve, even if I need to charge customers again.

Why did you choose this business school? First, when I decided I wanted to pursue an MBA, I was sure I wanted to focus on finance and strategy. Second, I wanted the MBA to be in the U.S. Third, I was dependent on my savings (in Brazilian currency – that ended up depreciating a lot in my time in the U.S.) to pay the tuition and cost of living. With these assumptions, I started looking for universities. The University of Pittsburgh is known for its excellence in finance. I applied and was accepted. From the onset, I was very impressed by the caliber of the recruiting and career management team; they started helping from day one (even before knowing if I would accept the offer). Then, I spoke with some executives in residence, professors, and faculty. In the meantime, my girlfriend was accepted by another university in the same city. Thus, the school was already my top pick and then my girlfriend and I would have this experience together. Deal!

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? It was the exchange with other students from all over the world and professors. It may sound cliché, but being in contact with different cultures, with people that have a completely different mindset, is just amazing. You go out of your comfort zone every day and go home thinking of ways you can improve. For example, when I was taking the statistics course, I was simply blocked. I could not learn. Some classmates taught me their way of thinking and incredibly everything became clear for me (OK, I did not get an A in statistics). I was proud of my skills in Microsoft Excel, but there were some classmates who were geniuses. Thanks to them, I barely use the mouse now. The gist of it: from simple tasks to complex thoughts, my head was always working and thinking how I could improve because I had multiple benchmarks for multiple attributes.

Also, I made friends for life. And this is priceless.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? How fast and broad your network can expand! The number of opportunities that are opened through the MBA program are limitless. I always heard that an MBA, for those who live it to its fullest, was life-changing. Now, I totally agree with that. The school provided all the tools and helped me build a solid network. From day one, networking was said to be one of the most important parts of our careers. I attended MANY events, such as club gatherings and meetings, to shake some hands, to look in people’s eyes, and to genuinely connect with them if we had similar interests. For me, the beginning was hard; breaking the ice is never easy. But people are interested in people, we like to hear somebody else’s life stories. Also, quantity is not quality, so I focused on meeting people I was really interested in. Today I have good contacts with people from all over the world, with different perspectives and different points of view, but with many shared interests. From a career perspective, networking is key. As NYSE President Tom Farley once said: “I owe every job I’ve ever had to networking.”

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? I have four pieces of advice for upcoming students:

  1. Be prepared to work hard.
  2. Focus on what you really want. As mentioned in the question above, there are multiple clubs, events, courses, and fairs that you might be interested in. Knowing where you are and where you want to go helps a lot to focus and plan your moves.
  3. Test yourself in areas that you are not very familiar with. I focused my MBA in finance (that is really my field), but I also took Marketing, Operations, and Human Resources courses. Having different perspectives over the same subject helps you develop critical thinking.
  4. Live your life. The MBA can take all your free time if you do not plan exactly what you want. Spend time with your family and with yourself. Being physically and psychologically healthy is crucial to keep you moving forward.

What is the biggest myth about your school? This is not about my school specifically, but about all business schools: you do not have time to do anything but study. That is not true. School is not easy, but if you organize your schedule and prioritize goals, it is definitely possible to have time for you. It takes some time to understand how you can do that. Personally, I used an Excel file, planned hours to study, attend events, and enjoy my life. My cell phone always beeps and says: “Free Time.” My girlfriend loves it.

Specifically, about Katz, I heard it was very demanding in terms of workload. That is not a myth, it is true! However, working with classmates helps a lot, and you get faster and more productive as you practice.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I wish I had initiated a new club focused on consumer goods. That was one of my ideas before joining Katz, but I ended up prioritizing the many others. I think this could be a good opportunity for people with common interests (consumer goods) to discuss this particular market. Maybe I can help create this club as an alumnus.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? It is absolutely impossible to point only one. I made really good friends that I admire as people and as professionals. I would be in trouble if I mentioned only one here.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I started talking to people that had done their MBA abroad and understood how their lives changed after that.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working at Lojas Renner in Brazil.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I love the experience-based learning method provided by Katz. Consulting Field Projects, fellowships, case competitions, the Global Research Practicum, and Management Simulation Capstone put students in touch with real-world projects.

One thing that I would add to the MBA is the creation of a business incubator to help initiate new businesses. This would be a core course for the first semester and an elective course for the other three. Local entrepreneurs would have access to this incubator and business students would help them develop their business. The main idea is to make MBA students exposed, from day one, to real problems when companies are in the very initial stage. Many times, these problems are similar to large corporations’ problems, but on a much smaller scale. Simple solutions (better problem solving) can generate millions of dollars. For example, in my former job, I implemented a project for a control panel that I used to have in my small own company. That saved me six hours of work per week.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Be a global leader in the finance and business development fields.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Success is relative for me, but I wanted to thank my family and my girlfriend for all the support and trust.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As one who thinks that simple actions can change the world and who is always ready to help and be helped.

Favorite book: Built to Last (Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras)

Favorite movie or television show: Shark Tank and Naked and Afraid

Favorite musical performer: Michael Kiske (Helloween)

Favorite vacation spot: Thailand

Hobbies? Play guitar, sing, work out, and play soccer

What made Luiz such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“When Luiz was admitted into the program, it was because of his professional and entrepreneurial experience and because he had the focus and drive needed to achieve his career goal. His background also brought the interpersonal skills and global competence that would serve him well in the collaborative and international environment at Katz.

In observing his success in the classroom, in co-curriculars, and in his job search, what has stood out about him as an MBA student is his passion for business, his empathy for his team members, and perhaps most importantly, his willingness to challenge himself.

The curriculum at Katz is mostly elective-based. After returning from his summer internship with his post-MBA job lined up, Luiz never eased up on taking the most demanding courses available, including courses outside his areas of concentration. His motivation for doing this was to prepare himself as best he could for the teams and organizations he’ll be leading in the future.

Luiz came to business school for the right reasons, with the right attitude and expectations, and this is what made him such a successful and invaluable member of the class of 2017. It has been a pleasure to have Luiz as our student for the past two years, and we are proud to have him as an alumnus of Katz!”

Tom Keller
Director of Admissions
Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

 

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