Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Marilia Bagatini, New York University (Stern)

Marilia Bagatini

New York University, Stern School of Business

“Brazilian passionate about travelling, proud of my history and excited about my future.”

Hometown: Porto Alegre, Brazil

Fun Fact About Yourself: I absolutely love travelling, and I have been to 50 countries. My last trip was a 6000 kilometer railroad ride from Moscow to Beijing.

Undergraduate School and Major: UFRGS (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul)  – Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: General Electric – Senior Finance Manager

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was really impressed by the open, inclusive and collaborative environment, in part due to the IQ+EQ culture that the School promotes. Even during the application process, I had the chance to talk to some students and alumni and I felt a genuine excitement from them on helping others, which is very much aligned to my personal values.

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at NYU Stern? What makes you most nervous? I am really excited to go back to school after so long and deepen my knowledge in finance, with first-class professors. I am also looking forward to learning from people with very diverse backgrounds and open my mind to different perspectives. Finally, doing all of this from New York City won’t be bad at all!

The thing I am most nervous about is how the COVID pandemic will affect not only the experience in school, but also the relationship building and recruiting. There are a lot of uncertainties, and we are all learning together. However, now that classes have already started, I feel more confident that the school is prepared to support us in this new scenario.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I can’t wait to use all the resources of the Graduate Finance Association (GFA) to boost my financial knowledge. The workshops and informational sessions led by students are super valuable, especially for those in a career transition to banking. I’m excited for the Latin American Business Association (LABA) as well – I really enjoy making connections and sharing experiences with people of a similar culture, and it has always helped me to feel close to my home country even after it’s been so many years since I left.

What word best describes the NYU Stern classmates you’ve met so far? Why? They are so inspiring! It is a very diverse class; people have very different backgrounds, cultures, professional experiences, and communication styles, to name a few. At every interaction, I learn something new. It is amazing to see what everyone has gone through and achieved in their careers and personal lives.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I think the first time I managed a team had a special meaning for me. It not only prepared me to be promoted to manager, but it also taught me important lessons on leadership. I was working on an integration deal in London and, on top of my own deliverables and a lot of pressure, I had to learn how to lead a team that was assigned to me. It showed me how important our network is to help us in challenging times. More than that, I learned that it is ok to ask for help when we need to and how important it is to trust our team. It was a very challenging project that eventually resulted in my promotion. I was one of the few women who was promoted from that group, and it showed that my hard work was paying off.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Columbia Business School

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? It was not an interview question, but the “Pick Six” visual expression essay. Here, we had to show six images that represented us, which was tricky for me. It was not so straightforward and moved away from the obvious essay questions, so I was overthinking the content at first rather than focusing on my strengths, regardless of them being professional or personal ones.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I tried to identify a school that would not only be a strong resource for the career change I was looking for, but also one with an environment that would foster personal connections and collaboration. I did some research online, watched virtual classes, and spoke to people from the main schools I had in my mind to get a true sense of how the MBA experience would really be there. I ended up focusing on these factors to make my decision: finance focus in addition to strength, location, and environment/people.

What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? I have been researching about the industry, reading finance news, and talking to some people to get their perspective on the MBA experience. I have also joined the Forté Conference, which was a great resource for the pre-MBA journey, and also some pre-MBA diversity sessions with a few investment banks.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? When I joined GE some years ago, I had no idea of how much my life would change, personally and professionally. I entered as a finance trainee and had to move to Sao Paulo initially. That experience allowed me to live in four different countries; travel to many more; work in different industries and projects; and I get to know fantastic people, some of whom became friends and mentors! Yes, I have developed technical skills, but I think the main thing that helped me to prepare for business school was to learn to be resilient and flexible with different environments and work styles, feel comfortable with ambiguous goals, and deliver results under uncertainty.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? I am a huge admirer of XP Investimentos. XP is an independent Brazilian brokerage firm with services that range from financial education to advanced portfolio management, with approximately $40B assets under management. This company has transformed the financial market in Brazil by making investments easier to understand and trade by lowering fees and constantly innovating on services with focus on the client and digitalization. The curious part is that the founder, Guilherme Benchimol, created the company in 2002 after he was fired from his job and had almost no money left. After some challenging years and a lot of persistence, that same company had its IPO at NASDAQ (XP Inc) with absolute success almost 20 years later.


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