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2018 Best MBAs: Rodrigo Studart, University of Chicago (Booth)

Rodrigo Studart

The University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

“Always looking for what I believe will make me a happier and better person.”

Age: 30

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Hometown: Hard question! I grew up in Valença, a small town in the State of Rio de Janeiro countryside. I moved out to Volta Redonda and Rio de Janeiro for high school and college and, then, Belo Horizonte and São Paulo for work.

Fun fact about yourself: I’m Brazilian, but not a soccer fan.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Industrial Engineering – PUC-Rio – Brazil

Specialization Program in Management and Finance – FDC – Brazil

Where did you work before enrolling in business school?

New Business Manager at BRMalls, the largest mall company in Latin America. I was responsible for developing new malls, from after the land acquisition to the opening.

New Business Manager at International Meal Company, a food-retail company with roughly 20 different brands in the Americas. I had a short pre-MBA experience there, helping them to structure the New Business Area.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? I was a Strategy Associate at Handvaerk, an e-commerce of luxury basics located in Southampton – NY. I developed a business plan with the founders to raise company’s first round of funding.

A fun fact about my summer was that I lived with the founders, as the cost of accommodation in Southampton over the summer was prohibitive. The good side of it was that I could closely observe and experience how hard, passionate and exciting the entrepreneurial life can be.

Where will you be working after graduation? I am founding Muu in Brazil. Muu is a low-calorie and amazingly great-tasting ice cream. Brazil is the second largest ice cream market in the world and Brazilians are very health conscious. There are no other companies with this concept in the market. I am super confident Muu is going to be a big success!

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Dean’s List

Brazilian Country Captain – Supporting Brazilian prospective students to learn more about the school

Admissions Fellow – Global Booth Ambassador – part of a team that helps to improve Booth’s brand awareness globally. I also interview applicants to the Full Time MBA program

Board Fellow – Served on the board of Forward Momentum Chicago, a non-profit institution that provides dance classes to underprivileged children

Volunteer at Chicago Good Food Business Accelerator 2017, participating on a consulting project for the food start-up Pleasant House.

Innovation and Design Club Co-chair – Responsible for partnerships and events

Very active member of Fead (Food and Agriculture business club) and member of other 5 professional and 5 social clubs.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I started to work on Muu after my summer internship. The combination of starting a new business and striving to excel in classes at the same time is challenging, but very rewarding. I can put into practice everything I am learning. I am really proud of Muu being ranked 1st (out of 8) in our Building the New Venture class, which simulates the first 18 months of a new business. I’m also very  excited to be one of the 30 companies accepted to the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge, the best university accelerator programs in the US (out of 65 companies).

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I worked for six years at the largest mall company in Latin America and had a very fast-paced career. I’m really proud of my first project there, the development of a 250 stores mall, built over a train and bus station. The mall was a public concession from the federal government. This project was very complex in both business and technical terms, involving a budget of roughly $133 million dollars for which I was accountable. I started the project when I was 22 years old and, after its completion, I was promoted to a manager position and invited to become partner of the company, receiving stock options. I was the youngest manager and partner in BRMalls’ history.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Jamie Schrager. He teaches New Venture Strategy class, in which we learn a clear framework of how to analyze strategy for startups. While teaching the framework, he uses personal stories and cases and teaches us how to interpret the strategies behind the news we read daily at the WSJ. Finally, in the last class, student groups have to pitch ideas. The whole process of pitching and getting feedback takes almost 6 hours and is very enriching. I haven’t seen in my whole life a professor that keeps a class engaged for such a long time.

Why did you choose this business school? When I visited Booth, I was impressed with how I related to everything: the community, the classes, the campus and the city. While attending to classes, I saw how students were impressively smart. At the same time, they were very friendly, and invited me for a blues concert and dinners, as I was spending the weekend in town. Also, the fact that Booths building itself is the second largest modern art gallery in Chicago subtly showed me how the school cares about a MBA experience beyond the classroom. Finally, I believe Chicago is the best place to spend two years abroad. The city offers great food, friendly people, impressive cultural scene and amazing parks.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Don’t be afraid to show your personality and soft skills in the application. Some people think they should focus only on their successful achievements and career goals. Booth cares a lot about you as a person and how you will get involved with the community.

What is the biggest myth about your school? “Booth is for people who want to work in finance.” I had the opportunity to take many classes in marketing and entrepreneurship and was impressed by the quality of professors and classes. They actually were the best classes I had. There is a lot of flexibility in the curriculum and a vast offering in marketing and entrepreneurship, so you can frame your experience with both soft and quant courses.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I can’t decide between two. Agustin Peirano and Wenting Xi are also entrepreneurs and we created (after they took the initiative) a support group among us three, in which we share our hurdles and victories. The best thing about this group is that we do not let the others give up over the course of this hard journey. Agustin is a smart student, who excels in his classes, manages his startup company and still can find time to paint and experience Chicago’s art scene. He recently donated his art to a Booth charity auction. Wenting challenges me all the time. She is candid and criticizes my ideas, taking me out of my comfort zone. I love how she always thinks from a different perspective and comes up with great ideas. She also finds time to host weekly dinners and get to know other students better. I don’t know how many hours their days have, but certainly more than 24!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My parents. I was five when I convinced my father to let me sell some packages of his hand-harvested black beans production in our neighborhood, getting the first “wage” of my life. Later on, my parents opened an ice cream shop and I not only helped them there, but I also sold some of the shop’s products at school. One day, the school called my parents and asked them to stop letting me sell, as the school’s cafeteria was complaining. My parents always incentivized me in those and other situations and supported me while leaving our small town to study.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…probably working for a big corporation and not pursuing my entrepreneurial dream.”

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

– Visit the Atacama Desert

– Learn more about coffee

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? The guy who is always in a good mood.

What is your favorite movie about business? 12 Angry Man. An amazing movie about how to understand the audience and frame your ideas in a very persuasive way

What would your theme song be? “Beautiful Day” – U2

Favorite vacation spot:Greece. The perfect combination of nature and fun.

Hobbies? Running and trying new restaurants

What made Rodrigosuch an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Stu is a great example of the supportive and collaborative community we have here at Booth. Coming from the real estate industry and transitioning into retail/CPG, he has a unique perspective to share with classmates, including his work on a low-calorie ice cream venture in Latin America, called Moo! Stu also pays it forward as a Country Captain for Brazil, bringing that inherently welcoming nature to prospective international students who want to learn more about Booth.”

Stacey Kole
Deputy Dean for Alumni, Corporate Relations and Full-Time MBA Program
Chicago Booth:

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF THE BEST & BRIGHTEST: CLASS OF 2018