Meet Microsoft’s MBA Class Of 2020: Joao Pinto

Joao Pinto

MBA Program: Duke University, The Fuqua School of Business

MBA Concentration: Marketing – Market Analysis and Strategy and Master of Business Administration Management Science and Technology Management (MSTM)

Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Undergraduate School and Major: Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Mechanical Engineering

Current Title: Partner Channel Marketing Manager

How would you describe your role to your mother? My responsibility is to set the Windows price in devices that computer manufacturers sell to customers. I analyze different data like price trends by geography, sales volume, consumer behavior, and competition to decide the pricing strategy. Overall, this is a very strategic role since any change directly impacts an $11Bn segment.

A fun fact about me people would be surprised to know is…I’m a black belt in Karate, eight-time São Paulo State Champion and three-time 2nd place in the Brazilian National Championship – Cobra Kai never dies (Karate Kid aficionados will understand)!

What was your greatest personal or professional accomplishment? When I worked at an International Bank in Brazil, I was part of the coverage team for a corporate client known for not having great business opportunities for a long time. While exploring new opportunities in that relationship, I partnered with the client to access transactional and financial data. By analyzing the data, I conceptualized an innovative credit structure. After convincing the internal risk approving committee, I created and presented a business case to the company, gaining all stakeholders’ buy in.

As a result, the bank could sell an innovative solution while also gaining space to be part of future opportunities. Shortly after, the client mandated us to lead its initial public offering (IPO) and its first bond issuance. From that experience, I learned that every challenge can be faced if you have the right motivation, truly understand how your actions can empower the other teams, and build a trusted relationship with customers.

Why did you choose to work at MSFT? Microsoft has been part of my life since childhood, when my parents bought our first i486 with Windows 3.1 installed. However, the company became my top choice because of its growth mindset, a mission statement that resonates with me, and outreach to take technology to those in need.

After working in the automotive industry for a year, I took the opportunity to work in the financial sector. I was dedicated to learning new technical skills. At Microsoft, it is no different. The company supports employees with varying backgrounds through a growth mindset. You are not born with all skills. You learn them. Microsoft provides powerful tools and initiatives for employees to grow.

Furthermore, Microsoft’s mission is always to support consumers, partners, organizations, and governments. Through its empowerment, the company provokes a transformational impact. I also believe that the more you empower others, the larger the potential impact you create. For instance, at my previous employer, I empowered clients by providing financial assistance. At Fuqua, I acted as co-President of the Tech Club to help more than 600 first and second-year students recruit tech companies. I feel amazed by a company that holds its core mission: empowering every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.

Finally, on a personal note, my beloved brother has a mental disorder. Since I was born, I learned how a simple piece of technology makes his life and the life of those who interact with him better. Additionally, my experience with him made me eager to learn how technology enables other people with a diverse range of health and wellness needs. That leads me to want to work in a company that takes this willingness to help others on a global scale.

What did you love about the business school you attended? There are three things about Fuqua that made my experience unique:

1) The first thing is the “Team Fuqua” spirit, which refers to how the Fuqua community interacts. Team Fuqua is there when someone reaches out asking if you are enjoying your experience, offering help, sharing an accomplishment, or talking to get to know you. I will never forget when I was tested positive for COVID-19 in March 2020 and had to stay at home without stepping out. Fuquans kindly did groceries for my wife and me and hosted virtual get-togethers to check on us; they made the time go by faster, and even showed up on the street to say hi from our distant balcony. Team Fuqua is all about being there to support wherever you are.

2) Secondly, all the resources available for career changers. I can’t deny that I was afraid of shifting careers after my 30’s, especially considering that I wanted to change industries, countries, and roles. Through its several initiatives and activities, Fuqua helped me in every aspect of this transitioning. From the academic perspective, the school is becoming a preferred school for Tech companies because of its tech-oriented curriculum that includes Technological Transformation of Business, Marketing of Innovations, Managing Innovations, Decision Models, Forecasting, and Market Research. Also, Fuqua was one of the US’s first schools to offer the STEM certificate. From the career perspective, in addition to the support from the Career Management Center (CMC), there are many student-led initiatives to support students in navigating recruiting and new industries. The Tech industry, for instance, partners with the CMC, student body, faculty, staff, and alumni to educate students about the industry and how to recruit successfully.

3) Third, I love the way Fuqua is a family-friendly school, mostly because my wife and I decided to go into the MBA journey together. Although we had different schedules, business perspectives, and recruiting timelines, we could work around and had great work-life harmony. We attended each other Sections events, made great friends, traveled around the world in student-led treks, and even had time to go out for a run in the park or have a great dinner.

What does being a “Microsoftie” mean to you? To me, being a Microsoftie is similar to being part of Team Fuqua. To be a Microsoftie means being willing to meet new people, collaborate with and learn from others, and be tech enthusiastic. It means more than be passionate about the company and its products. A Microsoftie is eager to think outside the box to solve problems, empathetic to our consumers, customers, and partners, and promotes transformation that empowers others. I’m excited to be a Microsoftie because I know that my workmates have similar characteristics to my MBA colleagues.

Which manager or peer has had the biggest impact on you at MSFT and how has he or she made you a better in your role? The person who had the most significant impact on me at Microsoft is Chris Santini. He might not even remember, but when he interviewed me in my final round, he told me about some initiatives that Microsoft promotes on connectivity. For instance, he shared how the Affordable Access Initiative team connects those in remote villages, refugee camps, and communities. Santini shared different initiatives that are being transformational and are empowering other people. His insight captivated me to be part of an organization that thinks about building the next best tools and solving societal problems. He sparked in me a mentality of frequently questioning the role that technology can play to transform the world. Thanks to Santini, I keep asking myself if the decisions we are making are increasing accessibility and generate a more significant impact.

What has COVID-19 taught you about yourself since you started working at MSFT? Among several lessons, COVID-19 taught me perspective, and how we should be empathetic. While I would rather work from the office, meet my colleagues, network, and attend meetings in person, I’m fortunate that I can stay safe at home while so many others have to expose themselves. The pandemic also showed me that we shouldn’t take everything so seriously, especially when our colleagues’ dogs and kids show up on the call asking for attention. It is our work invading our personal lives and not the other way around. Finally, I learned to value the small aspects of life. I never realized how relaxing it is to take a walk to have fresh air or how comforting it is to attend video calls with friends when locked indoors.


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