Meet MIT Sloan’s MBA Class Of 2020

Eduarda Bardavid

MIT, Sloan School of Management

“Ambitious, confident and determined with a sprinkling of imposter syndrome.”

Hometown: Niterói, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am addicted to orchestral movies soundtracks – Braveheart and Schindler’s List are among my favorites. I also need two things in my life wherever I am: popcorn and a piano. I am compelled to purchase a popcorn machine and a piano in each of the five countries I have ever lived in.

Undergraduate School and Major: IME (Instituto Militar de Engenharia) – BSc Mechanical Engineering (2013)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

DragApp.com, Co-Founder & CEO
Drag improves the way emails are managed by turning inboxes into shared kanban boards.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Growing Drag from an idea into a real business, featured by Google, revenue-generating, with a team of 10 across 5 countries and seed investment. In particular, because this all happened in one year and Drag has been my first experience as an entrepreneur. Before Drag, I used to work as a management consultant in the Middle East and the decision to take the leap from a stable and well-paid job to the uncertainty of co-founding a Startup was one of my biggest career steps. Today, I am proud of having been brave enough to take the calculated risk to pivot my career and I am very happy with the outcome.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Since my application days, one of the things that has always made MIT my first school option was the fact that fellow students are at the same exceptional standard, but extremely humble and supportive with each other. I have contacted several alumni to understand more about the school and all of them, no matter how busy their agendas were, always found time to speak to me. I see the same trace in my classmates and, in my opinion, MIT excels at building such a constructive community of people who seek to grow together instead of competing with each other.

Aside from your classmates, 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? Before Drag, I had focused my career in the Energy industry, having worked as an energy-focused management consultant. What inspired me to pivot my career into technology and found Drag was the way technology has been consistently changing the Energy industry. Basically, I had so many ideas to contribute to that change, but didn’t know how to turn my ideas into business – Drag has been my first step towards this. My long-term career ambition is to apply my experience as an entrepreneur to transform the Energy industry through technology. I chose MIT because, simply put, there is no better place for resources and connections to build a career in the intersection between technology, entrepreneurship and Energy. MIT’s expertise in entrepreneurship and cutting-edge research on trending technologies in Energy, along with a constructive community that extends from undergrads to PhDs, makes for the perfect environment to equip me with the skills I need to achieve my long-term career goals.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am planning to follow the E&I (Entrepreneurship & Innovation) track to further develop my entrepreneurial skills and apply them directly to grow my startup, Drag. I am also looking forward to engaging with other entrepreneurial resources that MIT provides through the Martin Trust Center and The Legatum Center. I also plan to join the Energy Club and attend courses focused on entrepreneurship in that industry, like “Energy Ventures.”

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Along the last years in my career, I have built a solid foundation in the Energy industry, entrepreneurship and technology Startups. I believe these have all been a prerequisite for my biggest project in life. An MBA at this point will not only fill my skill gaps when it comes to launching, leading and scaling a company, but also give me the connections and resources to establish a path that extends beyond Drag and any potential shorter term exits.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? In my case, aside from MIT Sloan being widely recognized as one of the leading universities for MBA worldwide, there was an additional benefit that the school offers around Entrepreneurship, mentoring and infrastructure that would otherwise I need to invest in as a direct company cost for Drag. It was a no-brainer with this additional cost-benefit in mind.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Chicago Booth, Stanford GSB, HBS and INSEAD.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Although I sought to understand deeply the other schools I was applying to by visiting campuses or speaking to candidates, I knew since the beginning that Sloan had the best fit with me and my career goals for a few reasons. One of the most important ones was the integration with the broader MIT community that could provide me with access to a more technical network and expertise besides the pure business knowledge. Another critical one was the profile of its students, so much humble and down-to-earth when compared to the students from other schools. A third decision point was the focus and resources offered by Sloan to entrepreneurs.

On top of it, I have always had an emotional connection to the school since my grandfather, the person who inspires me the most in life, has graduated from there, so I grew up hearing his stories and dreaming about the day I would live them myself.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are?
I had a comfortable childhood. My grandmother, a Polish WWII refugee, started life from scratch in Brazil and built a successful family business that allowed me to have access to everything. At 13, without delving into the detail, this abruptly ended with losses extending from finances to health and family relationships. Ironically, that crisis impacted me positively and was key to solidify who I am today. It made me ambitious to aim high and resolute in everything I do.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? Before graduation, I am determined to leverage MIT as a catalyst to grow my company, Drag. I believe there are many synergies between what I will learn and develop in business school and what Drag needs to reach a new level. After I graduate, my immediate focus will be to consolidate my experience and credentials as a solid entrepreneur, through Drag, to be able to successfully execute further ideas in the years to follow.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I see Drag either growing and maturing enough to allow me to exit or autonomous enough to not require me to work full time on it. In five years, I see myself taking a next step in my career by launching a new startup while getting back to my roots in the Energy industry, specifically in smart grid and microgeneration.