Fernando C. Barbosa
“An avid learner fascinated by finding solutions that mutually enhance my work and society.”
Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Fun Fact About Yourself: I lived in a church in Sao Paulo! Accepting an offer to work in Sao Paulo, I headed alone to the city; however, I had no place to live. So, I asked for assistance from a priest, and his church allowed me to live in a room behind the altar for some time.
Undergraduate School and Major: Bachelor’s in Economics, PUC-Rio – Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: FAPES pension fund controlled by Brazilian Development Bank, Senior Investment Analyst
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I established a company for my parents, aiming to change their future. My mom is an embroiderer, and my dad is a draftsman. As self-employed professionals, my family felt all the instability Brazil went through over the last decades.
In 2012, I started to work in the financial market, and my performance there awarded me a remarkable bonus that allowed me to establish my family’s business. Subsequently, I set up an embroidery firm, imported computerized embroidery machines, and managed my parents’ finances so they could focus on the business.
Based on my mother’s craftsmanship, the company grew solidly in the following years. I took care of strategic decisions, managed banking accounts and solved conflicts with business partners.
Five years later, BordaDora, Inc. reached revenues of almost $200 thousand per year, and employed four staff, besides my parents and sister.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? They are very diverse, coming from more than 40 countries. Several of them have lived in countries different than their birthplace. Also, they are quite open to share and learn from you. We surpassed cultural and language barriers to meet each other. I feel I am in a fruitful and fully collaborative environment.
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? The Washington DC location was the key factor that influenced my decision. Because top businesses and policymakers surround Georgetown, I will have access to business leaders in both the public and private sectors, which is tremendous to my future goals. The DC location even influences the curriculum and study centers and allows me to participate in local events such as the Amazon AWS Global Summit. Also, the university is in a city that provides work opportunities for my wife during our time here.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am looking forward to being involved in the Finance Club, Technology Club and the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Since 2015, I have been redirecting my career to broaden my social impact. Being admitted to a top MBA was part of that plan. After accumulating more than eight years of experience in the private and public-like sector, I felt prepared to take this next step. Without this change, I saw a plateau in my career when I looked forward. The international MBA is a high brand that can help me to follow my passion and pave my career path.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I`ve talked to many MBA alumni, and they are unanimous: the program pays off. The return on investment is very high, and the experience is invaluable. I also carefully analyzed the data compiled in MBA rankings and looked at the career ladder of leaders that I want to be like: A lot of them have an MBA.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to Yale SOM, Duke Fuqua and Boston University Questrom.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? The key factors for me are the program focus of both business and public policy and the kind of leaders the program prepares. Besides that, a collaborative community and career opportunities in the region is crucial for me.
After the first ranking screening, I read brochures: it`s the most concise and linear way MBA programs talk to us. Then I read the Poets & Quants` “Meet the Class” series, which provided me with a fundamental flavor of the programs` culture. To assure the school fits my career goals, I searched alumni at LinkedIn.
I have decided that I wanted to come to the east coast, but I recommend you do not start filtering by cities. You can surprise yourself with programs in places you never knew.
In the final step, I traveled to the US to have the interviews in person and visit the campus. I believe it was important to feel the environment, have a real class and talk in person to admissions and students. A confident decision needs your mind and your heart.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Every day before going to school, my mom shouted out the window: “Apply yourself, you are the future of Brazil!” It was funny to me at that time. I didn’t realize how important her words were.
Many years later, I started an internship at the Think Tank Institute for Economic Policy Studies “Casa das Garças”. There, I had the opportunity of interacting with some of Brazil’s prominent economists who created and implemented the Plano Real, which ceased decades of runaway inflation in Brazil. These role models along with my mother’s voice made me realize that I too could make a difference in my country and the world.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? I plan to work in international development at the International Financial Corporation (IFC). IFC creates markets that address the biggest development challenges. Specifically, in Latin America, I’m most interested in IFC projects in infrastructure, public-private partnerships, and access to finance. I would like to work supporting these types of projects in developing countries.
Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I see myself making significant contributions to society by seeking the best way of allocating resources to major social problems. Evidence-based decisions for appropriately distributing resources will help us tackle the biggest development challenges such as extreme poverty, public safety, and climate change.