Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Fernando Matheus Duarte Casarotti, University of Virginia (Darden)

Fernando Matheus Duarte Casarotti

University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

“A believer made in Brazil!”

Hometown: Piracicaba, Sao Paulo – Brazil

Fun Fact About Yourself: A lot of people don’t know that I have an artistic side – I’m a ballroom dancer and can play the piano, harmonica, and guitar.

Undergraduate School and Major: Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas, Brazil (Bachelor of Laws)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Court of Justice of Sao Paulo, Brazil – IT Coordinator

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? It has an immersive nature that cannot be replicated, in which students develop skills to crunch huge amounts of data and quickly analyze them to get to a synthesized conclusion. Also, the “cold call risk” makes people adapt and confront even the most challenging subjects. Those are essential traits for managers in the fast-paced business world in which we live, where new technologies pop up almost daily.

Aside from cases and classmates, what was the key part of Virginia Darden’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I could spend all day talking about this – the school’s unique installations, impressive average post-MBA salary, student led initiatives, and Charlottesville. I’ll highlight the community, which embraced me from day one. Embarking on a career transition as an international student, I knew the journey wouldn’t be easy and really wanted to have that support network. Also, I sought a place where my wife would feel as welcomed as myself – and, for all that, I couldn’t have chosen somewhere better than Darden.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Virginia Darden? Believe me, this isn’t a place where you’ll get bored, since every day is exciting (and busy)! As a travel lover, something I’m especially excited about is taking a Darden Worldwide Course. Can’t wait to get around the world and know new places with Darden friends – with the extra of having the fees covered by the school.

What has been your first impression of the Darden MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Darden story so far. In two words: awesome and surprising. When I first reached out to a Darden student, I remember he promptly gave me his phone number for us to schedule a time to meet. What surprised me even more wasn’t only his clear willingness to help me (a prospect he had just met), but that we ended up discovering he was born in the same (really small) countryside town as my wife! Indeed, life presents us very intriguing coincidences…for those who believe in coincidences.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: It was being one of 32 employees among 51,000+ (and also the youngest ever) to earn a service award from the Court of Justice of Sao Paulo’s President. This was the result of leading both a turnaround in my division and multiple negotiations that allowed millions of dollars to be saved. Indeed, teamwork makes the dreamwork!

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? “The Best One Yet” podcast: it will keep you up to date with the business world using easy language and funny anecdotes. At the same time, you’ll be practicing your English (for internationals) and learning about important topics.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Yale SOM, Duke Fuqua, NYU Stern and Dartmouth Tuck.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Virginia Darden’s MBA program? Be intentional about Darden. At the end of the day, it all comes down to one question: why do you want to be here, and not somewhere else? Combine this answer with your “unique selling points,” and you’ve got all you need. Finally, remember this: everyone struggles with standardized tests, which are only a piece of your application. However, you’ll overcome it all, as you have done your entire life to be where you are.


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