Rodrigo Zeno Lisboa Vieira
“Highly curious and adventurous, a Brazilian heart with footprints all over the world!”
Hometown: Florianópolis, Brazil
Fun Fact About Yourself: I speak 3 languages. However, as a great icebreaker, I can probably curse in a dozen others!
Undergraduate School and Major: UDESC (Brazil) – Business Administration
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: BRF SA – Innovation Manager
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Led the strategic planning for the expansion of the company (BRF) through sub-Saharan Africa and developed from scratch all the studies and intelligence tools necessary for it.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Uniqueness. Every person has their own fascinating lives, careers and skill sets. It will be amazing to get to know more about and learn from each one of them.
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? Austin is such an amazing city, bursting with life and opportunities. The MBA is a life decision broader than just an academic and career move. The very environment in this city challenges both social and business paradigms and is a rich opportunity for self-discovery and growth. Besides, the seemingly endless places to explore are a perfect ground to build the friendships that will be the core of our network in the future.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Having worked on the ground with such a basic necessity as food in my years in Africa has made me realize the power of corporations to improve lives and create a better future. That’s why I intend to participate in the McCombs Net Impact organization.
Well, being a good Brazilian, looking forward to Soccer Club too!
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? It has always been a dream of mine to live the MBA experience. Coming back from my years in Africa, it was the perfect opportunity to quickly relaunch my international career and, in the future, come back to the market in a position to cause much more impact.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? At that point in my life, it presented a good balance: on the one hand the personal side of wanting to live this experience and on the other the professional leap that would likely take much longer to achieve otherwise. Moreover, to be honest, it had always been a dream and I believe my life story would feel incomplete without this chapter.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Wharton, Kellogg, Tuck and Berkeley
How did you determine your fit at various schools? My decision to pursue an MBA this year was very late, so I applied in the 3rd Round, with little time for research. I was guided by reputation, recommendation, location, and a good deal of gut feeling. As further stages of the process came, I truly learned more about each program and felt how each interacted with the applicants. At this point, I already began to fall in love with the possibility of McCombs.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? After over a year traveling through Africa and visiting several informal food markets, I had witnessed the appalling conditions so many submit to in acquiring (not always) affordable food. Shortly after, I was leading the project of a new food factory in Namibia that would create thousands of jobs in the region, and potentially improve the lives of many people. I was then called to an emergency meeting to address the city council of the potential location. I was so passionate about the project that presenting it, answering all the questions, and identifying the real stakeholders was sheer pleasure. That moment consolidated my belief that corporations have the potential to be extremely impactful on creating a better future, and that I want to be an important part in such endeavors.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? Find an impactful position in a company that represents the values mentioned above.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Rising within one such company to broaden the scope of the work, and potentially achieve bigger goals.