Meet Toronto Rotman’s MBA Class of 2019

Rodrigo Paolucci 

University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: A hands-on tech entrepreneur who wants to impact a billion people.

Hometown: Barbacena, Minas Gerais (Brazil)

Fun Fact About Yourself: Besides having born in a small city in the upcountry of a state famous for its mountains (and known as the redneck state of Brazil), when I lived in Hawaii I worked against my odds and abilities in the ocean and tried to surf in the mecca of surfing. Of course, the result, as one could predict, was a total disaster.

Undergraduate School and Major: Business Administration, Instituto Brasileiro de Mercado de Capitais (IBMEC)

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

YContent – Founder & CEO

Samba Tech – Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: When I was CRO at Samba Tech, during a hack week we developed a concept of a platform to help distribute and monetize online videos in thousands of publishers and for in a massive audience. After mapping the players and talking to potential customers, I figured out that this product had the right fit in the advertising industry and it could become a stand-alone business generating millions in revenues.

Then I quickly started working on a business plan and pitching potential investors so we could spin off the operation. A couple of weeks later, we raised a seed money from investors in Brazil, Israel and USA followed by future rounds that summed $2 million. After four years of operations and distributing videos to half of the internet population in Brazil, we sold the company to one of the largest media groups in Brazil.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? If you have the chance, meet the school in person. Visiting the institution was extremely important to me so I could get in touch with the team, attend a class, and have a tangible sense of how my daily activities would be. During those days, I walked around the campus, met with student housing, and spoke to current first-year students so I could understand the pros and cons of studying and living abroad.

For a foreigner, an MBA is a significant change in life in every single aspect – from breaking your work routine to changing habits, food and culture – and you need to get to know how your future activities will be, understand how the environment you where you will be immersed works, and if you fit within it. After visiting Rotman, I was more than sure that it was the right place for me.

If you are in a relationship, make sure you bring your significant other to meet the school and get inserted in your future context. Attending an MBA in a marriage is a dream to be pursued by both of you; you need to make sure that as a couple you are on the same page and share the same vision.

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? The key element was how Rotman’s vision for entrepreneurship aligns with mine. As an entrepreneur, I want to keep impacting as many people as possible through great products and have the opportunity to launch in Canada a company that can scale and impact people globally, and Rotman offers a substantial program for entrepreneurs.

After meeting the CDL (Constructive Destruction Lab) and its initiatives for incubating startups and generating new ventures, I was fascinated by how Rotman is pushing hard on innovation and disruptive technology. I could perfectly picture myself working in the lab with the entrepreneurs and also cooking up new ideas for my next venture. My rationale was that if I was able to launch and develop a business in unfavorable conditions, doing it in within this environment will accelerate my odds for success.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school?  First, success to me will be feeling that I made the right choice for my life doing such a significant change and that my family and I are completely adapted to this new environment.

Second, besides all the valuable knowledge and content acquired in the classes, after the first year I want to feel that school is contributing to my primary mid-term objective: get inserted in the local tech scene. I will use the opportunities in the school to meet new people, attend to conferences and size opportunities in the area.