Meet the MBA Class of 2020: André Garcia, IMD Business School

André Garcia

IMD Business School

 “Energetic ‘Carioca’ passionate about learning, challenging, and building things together.”

Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have been passionate about adrenaline and speed ever since I was really young. I learned how to ride a bicycle when I was 1.5 years old, without learning wheels, so I immediately took it down the hill where we lived and lost my first tooth. After that it was go-karts, then learning how to drive as a 12 years-old (thanks dad) and finally the motorcycle when I was 22. And it is something I pursue now; I have been aiming to try a new extreme sport every year now. Without neglecting the risks and being really mindful about safety measures, of course.

Undergraduate School and Major: UFRJ – Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Mechanical Engineering BEng

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Teadit Group, R&D Engineer

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Resilience and energy. Doing the MBA this year has really shown us the need to adapt and stay positive. It is amazing how the batch kept together. This will mark us and unite us long after the end of the year.

Aside from classmates, what part of the school’s MBA programming led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? IMD has a great package when it comes to the MBA. The campus experience is amazing, with a top-notch infrastructure that enables you to have the best group and studying experiences. It also offers a distinguished leadership experience, with coach, mentor and psychoanalyst. On top of that, it is located in Switzerland and recognized through Europe, which matched my geography criteria. When I combined those factors with the experience I was looking for, it was a natural decision.

IMD has a reputation for being intense, with heavy reading and assignments. Did the school live up to its reputation? What did you do to get through the workload? Even beyond! I look back at the first six months of the program and there is so much that happened that is unbelievable. We had so many amazing classes, discussions, so many groups with overlapping assignments. I still remember one week when we had one essay, a 27-question finance quiz, and a country analysis to do – plus cases to read. We slept like 3-4 hours a night, every night. I think, in the end, that is what we wanted, to get overwhelmed and learn from it. And you get through together, each helping one another, and having a little fun doing it. That is actually one of the best parts of the experience.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Well… I would say that what makes me most proud of my career is that I was able to do meaningful things in every position I occupied, helped improve the places I worked in and inspire the people who worked with me. Prior to coming to IMD, I led a complete restructuring inside the R&D department of Teadit. As I re-joined the department, we were transitioning management teams, with two Senior Managers retiring and a new Director onboarding. So, I partnered with him and we changed the management system for one that I ideated during my PGrad thesis, blending PMBoK practices and Scrum. We trained engineering graduates to help the transition and we managed to revamp the team’s morale during the transformation. By the time I left for the MBA, the department was flowing smoothly; everyone knew what they needed to do; we each managed 4-5 projects at a time; and the project turnaround was 10 times higher. I am really proud of the role I played there, and it was reassuring that as long as you keep your drive and mindset anything is feasible.

Describe your biggest accomplishment at IMD so far: I’ve been working with a group of five other people to build engagement around sustainability and it looks really promising. Being able to explore this issue this year is an amazing opportunity. I wanted to enhance the impact I could generate in society and IMD is a great place to accomplish that.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I guess the answer is two-fold. First, I had been wanting to have an international experience like this for a while and to work in different geography. Second, I was reaching a plateau in my career and wanted to have another leap, more directed toward business management, where I could do more and impact more people. So, combining both things, an MBA was the way forward.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? IESE Business School and Rotterdam Erasmus School of Management

What did you do during the application process that enabled you to get accepted into IMD? I made the decision to come to campus for the assessment day despite having to make all arrangements and buy tickets from Brazil within 10 days, so it was complicated. IMD had given me the option to do the assessment online because of the limited time, but I still opted to come. The day went great, I was prepared, and the experience was excellent. As a result, when I arrived back in Rio I had already received the offer and a merit scholarship.

What is the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started at IMD? During the PDE sessions this year, I have learned to understand the roots of my stress and the effect it has on me. It is impressive how things became so much clearer and manageable after that. It is both reassuring and exciting to have this type of breakthrough and I’m impressed that it came.