Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Jessica Presença Soares, USC (Marshall)

Jessica Presença Soares

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

“My mission is to create a more empathetic world through my work and actions!”

Hometown: São Paulo – SP, Brazil

Fun Fact About Yourself: As a kid, I wanted to be an FBI agent. I was devasted when I learned that I had to be American to get in. Yet, I’m still very good in investigations: my friends know that!

Undergraduate School and Major: Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (Major: Journalism)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Small automation solutions company from Brazil – Marketing Manager

What has been your first impression of the Marshall MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Marshall story so far. I am completely in love with every single person I have met so far. Everyone is genuinely helpful and deeply cares about each other. Before I arrived in Los Angeles, I faced some issues finding housing. A Brazilian couple, Gabriela Carvalho and Patrick Kerr, who are both second year students in the Full-Time MBA program at Marshall, offered that I stay at their house free of charge. They are currently out of town for their summer internship, and without ever meeting me in person, they trusted me and sent me a key to their apartment. They just wanted to make sure I had a safe place to stay as I started classes. When I asked them what made them to trust me that much, they said “We are a Trojan Family now”. I will never be able to forget this act of kindness!

What makes Los Angeles such a great place to earn an MBA? I love Los Angeles! I have visited the city several times, and I knew that I wanted to experience living in LA one day. It is always sunny, the vibe is amazing, and people have great energy. You can simply choose to go the beach in the morning, run along the sand, and at night enjoy a cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of USC Marshall’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? My goal is to achieve a Product Marketing Management position in the technology industry. Marshall is the right place to support me to realize that goal. The numbers from the past years do not lie! In 2021, 29% of the class went to the technology industry, even more than Financial Services and Consulting, with 20% and 18%, respectively. The school is one of the best providers of high-quality students for technology industry, and, with that in mind, I had no doubt, I knew my place was at Marshall.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at USC Marshall? The PRIME Program! The program consists of an immersive experience abroad that allows students to learn more about local economic and political situations, develop business knowledge, and leverage this knowledge to gain a wider global perspective. In the past students had the opportunity to visit countries like Thailand, Spain, Japan, China, among others.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment is being part of one of the best MBA programs worldwide! While going through the application process, I often second-guessed myself, especially knowing that I was competing with brilliant students from all over the world. I come from a journalism background, a non-traditional one for this type of program. My transition from television and magazine editorial to marketing was a key factor for me to start thinking about studying abroad. That pivot took me to Cognizant, a multinational technology company. The entire process was not easy; it took me years of self-reflection! I had to truly believe in myself, trust the process, and mainly, choose the right school to appreciate what I had to offer, and grab the opportunity to enhance classroom discussion.

Achieving my MBA dream just corroborates with my pathway, and it gives me the feeling that, yes, I was right about it all the time. I knew where I wanted to be, what I should do to achieve it, and where I want to go now.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? Before I came to the MBA and read the book, The 48 Laws of Power from Robert Greene. When you get in the MBA you realize that almost everything is about building connections. Learning how to be persuasive and influential can help you open many doors. You are going to learn how to manage that throughout the MBA program, but that book is a great starting point.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into USC Marshall’s MBA program? Trust the process and believe in yourself! Do not compare your accomplishments to others. Instead, take your time to know who you really are, and where you want to go. The more you have self-awareness, the more you will be able to demonstrate to your dream school how you would be able to contribute as a student.

DON’T MISS: Meet USC Marshall’s MBA Class Of 2024

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