“I want to make the world a better place through business inclusion and diversity.”
Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Fun Fact About Yourself: I have watched (multiple times) every episode of every season of Rupaul’s Drag Race. #TeamBenDeLaCreme
Undergraduate School and Major: Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina, Business
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Banco Santander Brasil, Inclusion & Diversity Senior Consultant
The MBA program is renowned for its “Team Fuqua” culture, which is predicated on six paired principles: Authentic Engagement, Supportive Ambition, Collective Diversity, Impactful Stewardship, Loyal Community, and Uncompromising Integrity. Which of these resonates most with you – and what does that principle demand of you as a Fuqua MBA? Team Fuqua is the main reason why I chose Duke to pursue my MBA and Supportive Ambition is a principle that deeply resonates with me. The feedback I receive from my teammates is that I am a competitive individual who will go the extra mile to ensure others will succeed too. I guess this is also the reason why I am a CrossFit enthusiast. In this sport, you want to perfect your moves on a daily basis. And you count on others to help you get there. As a Fuqua MBA, I am keen on working collectively with my classmates to improve our leadership skills, achieve our dream-jobs and build a sense of community and trustworthiness that will provide us the time of our lives.
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? Duke’s Fuqua School of Business has an award-winning resource for those who want to master social change. The Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship’s (CASE) social impact program forges the leaders who will help solve the world’s most pressing challenges. It is based on three pillars: competencies, connections, and community, through which students build solid skills, develop relevant networking skills and cultivate a support system that will help them become to be successful as social impact professionals. By the way, I am always proud to tell everyone that Melinda Gates is #TeamFuqua.
What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Team Fuqua has a remarkable presence, even in difficult times. Because of Covid-19 travel restrictions, I started my MBA online, from Brazil. My classmates were generous in many ways, including picking up and keeping materials for me, making sure my time zone would not be a problem for our group assignments, and even helping me find a place to lease – as most places were already taken by the time I booked my flight to Durham. I am excited to continue this journey of mutual support at Duke!
What club or activity excites you most at this school? The Consulting Club, for preparing students to be recruited by the top consulting companies in the world. I know this might not sound as a groundbreaking answer, but Fuqua’s Consulting Club is definitely an effective resource.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment was transitioning from general management to Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) in a country where this function is still so novel. A series of other achievements helped me build a strong reputation in I&D, such as deploying the largest LGBTQI+ business resource group in Brazil, pioneering in transgender inclusion in the workplace, and mentoring the launch and revamp of Black, women and people with disabilities inclusion initiatives in Latin America.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My long-term career goal is to become a Chief Diversity Officer. Pursuing an MBA right now will provide me with the connections and technical skills to get me there. As important as this career goal is, I am also looking forward to the experience of pursuing an MBA from a top business school. Some of the most interesting human beings I worked with went through a transformational experience in grad school. I want to follow in their footsteps and become an inspiration to others, as these professionals are an inspiration to me.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? I only applied to Fuqua. The story behind this decision is the toughest one in my life so far. I started preparing my application in 2018. At the time, I was considering Tuck and Ross, in addition to Fuqua. A few weeks before round 1 started, my father was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. I gave up on my MBA dream to support him and my family during such a challenging time. Unfortunately, he passed away. In 2019, not completely healed from this loss, I decided that only Fuqua would be worth the move geographically, away from my brother and mother, to pursue my MBA dream.
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? I wanted so deeply to be #TeamFuqua that I learned about the school from multiple sources and felt super confident during the entire process. However, there was this one question at the end of my interview that left me speechless for a moment: “Apart from all of the experiences that will help you forge your future career, is there anything else you see Fuqua proving you with?” At first, I did not know how to answer. But it suddenly came to me that I could fall in love with some classmate and that would be magical.
What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? I have been in close contact with second years and with my Brazilian classmates at Fuqua. I’ve also reached out to fellow MBA students, while also connecting with alumni from several business schools who I have worked with in the past. I have also dedicated myself deeply to my current job, as it is a little painful for me to take a break from such fulfilling work.
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? From 2018 to 2019, my father fought cancer for 7 months. It was the most difficult time in my life. Doctors told me from the very beginning that his disease was severe, and that the best available treatments could only give us another few months of his company. I tried to stay by his side as much as possible and live the best experience possible while he was still around.
The support he received from my mom, brother and a handful of close friends was one of the most beautiful things I have witnessed so far. It just reinforced how much I value camaraderie and deep relationships. Now that he is physically not around (his presence remains in our hearts) I feel fearless. I dare to say that the only thing that intimidates me is the idea of losing my mom and brother. I feel ready to face any challenges, overcome any difficulties and to make the most of business school and of the next chapters to come.
What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? I do not have a favorite company. But I do admire different companies for different reasons. I will list three of the companies that impressed me:
Cargill, a multinational. I worked there for 7 years and I still have substantial emotional ties. I can teach students how a solid culture, based on ethics, can provide economic sustainability over time.
Natura & Co. has my admiration for proving to the world that a business model, based on environmental sustainability, is feasible at large scale too.
Santander, my current employer, has taught me the power of ambition. Or as the VP of HR likes to say in Portugues: “Gana!”
DON’T MISS: Meet Duke Fuqua’s MBA Class of 2022