2020 Best & Brightest MBAs: Daniel Bernardes, Indiana University (Kelley)

Daniel Bernardes

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

“Easy-going, great listener, inspiring, and passionate team worker with worldwide mindset.”

Hometown: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Fun fact about yourself:

1) I had my neck broken in 6 pieces apart and I am fine.

2) I have had the chance to live in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

  • Centro Federal de Educação Tecnológia de Minas Gerais, Brazil – Mechanical Engineering
  • Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil – Law (Incomplete)
  • Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Masters in Project Management

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Asia Pacific Management Consulting GmbH, Beijing, China – Junior Consultant

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee area, Wisconsin.

Where will you be working after graduation? Undecided

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Awarded Kelley Coin Prize for leadership, integrity. and excellence
  • Recipient of Terry International Fellowship in recognition of my academic achievement and demonstrated leadership abilities in the first year of the MBA program
  • Recipient of Kelley Global Fellowship for exceptional academic and professional achievements
  • Founder and faculty-selected leader of GLOBASE Brazil 2020, international consulting project
  • Peer-selected member of the GLOBASE Indonesia 2019, international consulting project
  • Latinos Club President
  • Hoosier Host, Provide support to Kelley admissions program
  • Kelley Cares, community volunteer work
  • Selected member of the Consulting Academy, and Peer-selected Chicago Consulting Trek leader
  • COMPASS I, graduate assistant, 10 hours/week part-time job assisting two professors in the Kelley Undergraduate program. Supporting students with professional development.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Being the founder and leader of GLOBASE Brazil 2020. GLOBASE offers consulting services to small and medium-size companies in five countries overseas per year. Usually, alumni network and faculty support the Kelley MBA directors in creating a program in a new country. I was the first 1st-year MBA student to do so. I created key partnerships and connections to leverage Kelley’s presence in Brazil. Being the only Brazilian in my MBA batch and loving my entire experience at Kelley, I saw GLOBASE as a massive opportunity to connect the Kelley MBA program with my home country and inspire more Brazilians to develop their careers at Kelley.

I believe in being a GLOBASE leader, and especially by starting a new program in a new country from scratch, is the closest one can get from starting a new business. I had to work on designing opportunities, mapping stakeholders, and potential partners, engaging, persuading and inspiring people, selecting clients and students, working with Kelley MBA directors and faculty, and leading a large team of MBAs in the U.S. and later in Brazil. Of course, I did not do it alone. I had the vital support from my peers and classmates Abby Koski, Prachee Kaushal, and Jordan Rossman – not to mention Executive Director Gale Nichols and Professor Joshua Gildea along all this journey. We have faced many uncertainty and challenges. However, I am very, very, proud of what my team and I have accomplished so far!!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Headed $72 million construction project for an FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) oil platform’s utility module in Brazil. I led multi-disciplinary teams of 105 employees, at peak, from assemblers to more experienced engineers. I applied project management, executive planning, financial operations, data analysis, and executive stakeholder management skills. I managed to develop a strong and trustful relationship with the clients and my senior leadership and controlled the scope in detail to complete the project on time and under budget, despite a tremendous financial and governmental crisis faced along most of the project.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? (Tailgates and clubs’ events. I believe a great part of business school is making new friends from a wide range of backgrounds, culture, and expertise different from yours. Therefore, knowing your peers in informal environments and situations is essential. Tailgates and clubs’ events are a key factor of that and living in Bloomington helps a lot because students do not travel much or enjoy time with other people not from campus. This context enforces relationship building and bonding among all of us!

Why did you choose this business school?  After listing my preferences, I reached out to at least two-to-three people at eight to 10 business schools. Those at Kelley really brought to my attention their care, passion, and enthusiasm. Kelley MBA students talked about their experiences. They sounded more genuine than everyone else. Second, Kelley Graduate Career Services’ expertise and ROI ranking were very appealing as well. Knowing that I would receive some of the very best career development support in the world and that I would be prepared and given the opportunity to get a great return on my investment after the two-year MBA program gave me the confidence I needed to select my next home.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program?

  1. First, work on your self-awareness to identify your anchors, strengths, weaknesses, and career goals. Then, list schools aligned with your profile and that can help you fulfill your needs.
  2. Reach out to current students and alumni, and, if possible, come to campus. These opportunities expose you to the real MBA life and how people actually feel about their school. “Kelleys” simply love Bloomington and the IU community. I cannot say the same about others. At Kelley, you will make many friends for life.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?  Kelley offers many very interesting classes, leadership roles, events, career opportunities, and more all year. I believe, at some point, I have put more responsibilities on my plate than I should. This may have caused me to miss some key opportunities. Therefore, if I could do something different, I would be even more selective about where to invest my time and work.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? That is a hard question! I could easily name 10 of my peers in this response. Choosing one, Mikail Gonyea is my MBA classmate that I most admire. Mikail is a very competent, smart, communicative, inspiring, and reliable professional. Along with that, he is a fantastic listener and is interested in supporting everyone around him. It is natural for him to connect with everyone, regardless of background, nationality, culture, or anything else. I believe Mikail is 110 percent ready for top leadership roles, and I hope someday we can work together again as we did in the Consulting Academy main project, for instance.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I am the first in my entire family to pursue a master’s degree and to do any kind of study abroad. Being raised in the countryside in Brazil, attending college was the goal. I always had a direction to pursue a master’s degree from my family and teachers. However, my parents have always supported me to dream and to reach my full potential. I was self-driven when I decided to move to the United Kingdom as an 18-year old to learn English and worked as a bartender to sustain myself. Same when I moved to South Africa to develop my leadership skills and cultural awareness, and later when I moved to China to learn about its incredible economy and experience the international consulting world, among other moves. Coming to the United States for an MBA was just one more step in my leadership development process. However, without my family’s example, their inspiration, freedom, and trust I would not be here.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Developing a more collaborative leadership style and improving my analytical process thinking.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Inspiring, fun, reliable, and a great friend that I’d love to have around.

Hobbies? Good conversation, playing soccer, tennis, and jogging, watching basketball and movies; and hosting friends at home for bartending evenings and barbecue.

What made Daniel de Moura Bernardes such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“In February 2019, Daniel approached the MBA office with the idea of starting a GLOBASE program in his home country of Brazil. GLOBASE, which stands for Global Business and Social Enterprise, is a signature MBA international program where students conduct consulting projects with international clients. Daniel worked tirelessly over the spring and summer of 2019 pitching the program, meeting with Brazilian faculty and taking two weeks of his summer to meet with partners and clients in Brazil. Daniel’s infectious energy, hard work, and love for Brazil contributed to the program’s popularity with applicants. After the difficult decision to cancel GLOBASE Indonesia and Thailand 2020, Daniel and his fellow leaders onboarded five additional participants – beyond the 20 who had already been working with Brazilian clients – with open arms. Daniel himself spoke eloquently at the pitch presentation, welcoming them to the GLOBASE Brazil family. Daniel is not one for half-measures – he dedicated himself completely to GLOBASE Brazil and laid the groundwork for future years.

Rachel Fleishman
Associate Director of Global Programs
Indiana University Kelley School of Business


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