Maria Natalia Costa
University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Evangelist of intersection of empathy and tech to develop products that make a positive impact
Hometown: São Paulo, Brazil
Fun Fact About Yourself: When it comes to music, I am sure I was born in the wrong decade. I have been a huge Pink Floyd fan since I was 13 and I was once elected the mascot of a ‘Pink Floyd Brazil’ group in Orkut (R.I.P.) because I was its youngest member.
Undergraduate School and Major:
- Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing – International Relations
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
- Procter & Gamble
- 2013-2014: Communications Assistant Manager
- 2014 – 2016: Communications Manager – Gillette & Gillette Venus/Brazil Delivery
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Leading the 2016 Olympics initiative for Gillette in Brazil was extremely rewarding. Not only because it was a high profile and probably once-in-a-lifetime project, but it also taught me a lot about leadership. Once the Games started, we found ourselves running the on-the-ground operations, immersed 24/7 in high-pressure environment and trying to prepare for the unexpected. However, instead of being an exhausting experience, it was refreshing because of the sense of collaboration that was built and that led us to over-deliver upon our initial targets.
Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Know yourself, truly. It sounds like simple and obvious advice, but it isn’t. It takes time and courage to break through the clutter of external expectations and pressures that come along with applying for an MBA, but a deep understanding on what motivates you, which type of environment is more likely to make you thrive, and what success looks like for you will make all the difference along the way.It will help you filter through school options and be more prepared for contacting alumni, writing essays and preparing for the interviews.
What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? This topic ties back to the answer above. I knew for a while that I wanted to do an MBA abroad, but I didn’t want to settle for any program. I truly felt that I had to find a place that would both challenge me and make me feel at home. When I first looked up Ross website, I felt something click – its commitment to help build a positive business environment, its leadership model based on empathy, its collaborative community, it academic excellence and hands-on approach impressed me at first sight. However, I thought ‘Well, this is their website. The ultimate marketing channel for attracting prospective students, right? But… if so, even if this is just marketing, they seem to do it very well and, well, I like marketing! Let’s find out more’. And the more I dug, talking to current and former students, attending info sessions and even taking a last minute trip to Ann Arbor to visit the school, the more I could see that they truly walk their talk and became certain that Ross would be my top choice.
What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? Surviving first-year FOMO! But most importantly:
- Feeling that I’ve started my path towards contributing back to the Ross community, especially through the Women in Business club.
- Preparing myself to drive a positive change on businesses as a human-centered, empathy-driven product development manager.