2020 MBAs To Watch: Larissa Cavalcanti, MIT (Sloan)

Larissa Cavalcanti

MIT, Sloan School of Management

“Outspoken, fun, and ambitious. Avid economist and entrepreneur.”

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico

Fun fact about yourself: I participated in breaking a Guinness World Record in 2012 (drinking cider in Spain).

Undergraduate School and Degree: Universidad Iberoamericana, Economics

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Central Bank of Mexico, Financial Markets Analyst, Domestic Operations Directorate

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? RV Capital Management Pvt. Ltd., Singapore

Where will you be working after graduation? Linkwide, my startup focused on procurement for industrial MRO parts, based in Mexico City.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I am a Co-President of the Global Macro Investing Club, as well as a VP at the Investment Management Club, helping other students achieve their goals in the financial industry. I am also a fellow at the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT. The Legatum Center focuses on market-driven solutions to help to advance economic and social progress in the developing world.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I took a class called Global Entrepreneurship Lab at Sloan, in which my team (we were 4 Sloanies in total) was paired with a logistics company in Kenya. We helped them improve their operations, and our final presentation and recommendations to their business case were very successful. I am very proud of the difference we have made upon this company, and I am very grateful I got to experience a business setting in a country I never would’ve gotten the chance to otherwise. I am proud of my team and myself, of what we learned and what we achieved.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Starting a company has been my best achievement in business school. It has challenged me in many different ways, making me grow and think about more complex problems that I had never imagined before. Solving a problem through a company is a very rewarding task, particularly given the right team to work with. I have learned how to think about things in a different light, and how to stay committed to something that is a shared passion with my team. It has been an amazing experience so far.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Roberto Rigobon. He reminded me of what my values are in every class.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Sloan Olympics. It’s a very fun event in which the different “oceans” (classrooms to which we are assigned during our core semester) compete against each other in fun events, and it’s just one big party where you get to bond with people you have met.

Why did you choose this business school? There are a million reasons why Sloan was my top choice. If I had to choose, I would say Sloan is a place where everyone is helpful, open, friendly, and caring. The positive environment was one of my primary reasons for picking Sloan. On the academic side, Sloan has the perfect sweet spot of strong finance and entrepreneurship courses, which was something I was looking for. In hindsight, my choice was the right one. Other Sloanies surprise me every day beyond what I ever imagined possible. They are supportive and actually listen and care whenever I need it. They are always there to remind me what my value is, and to keep me strong when I need to push my hardest at work.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Make sure you know what you’re about (who you are, where you come from and where you want to go), and show it in your application. Be yourself! (and study for the GMAT early, so you don’t have to feel rushed when you’re applying)

What is the biggest myth about your school? You want to be single during your time at Sloan? Sloan is a school where SO’s are not just respected but considered a valuable part of the community. It is inclusive, no matter what your relationship status is.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would’ve learned about the opportunities BEFORE showing up to school, to plan my two years more effectively. Getting here at first is very overwhelming, especially given the number of opportunities you can pursue and your limited time. Planning accordingly can really help you make the most out of your MBA experience.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Carolina Goncebat. She is an intelligent, strong, and self-made woman. She’s driven and hard-working and is also an amazing friend. Anytime I seek her advice, she offers a truly unique perspective that always gets me thinking outside the box. She had made my experience at Sloan that much more rewarding.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? A former boss at the central bank. He mentioned how I could greatly benefit from all the soft skills I would learn here, and I think he was right!

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The first item on my bucket list would be to empower at least 10 employees of my own to grow and make a difference of their own. In second place, I want to make a difference in the manufacturing industry in Mexico, helping solve one of their problems (in particular, the unplanned purchases one), and increasing the competitiveness of Mexico in the manufacturing space to help the country reach its true potential.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? The shortest billionaire.

Hobbies? I love doing aerial arts. They are a great workout that doesn’t feel like one. Being healthy and in shape helps me stay focused mentally as well.

What made Larissa such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Larissa is passionate about driving impact and change, at scale, in Mexico and embodies the characteristics the MIT Legatum Center values in its principled entrepreneurial leaders. As committed as Larissa is to the achievement of her personal goals, she is equally committed to the growth and development of her classmates’ ventures and gives selflessly of her time and experience in the pursuit of their success, as well.”

Megan Mitchell 
Director of Fellowship & Student Programs
MIT Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship
Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management


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