Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Andre Beda, University of Chicago (Booth)

Andre Beda

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

“I’m a proud Brazilian, one who is vehemently passionate about LATAM’s startup ecosystem.”

Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m a pastrami enthusiast.

Undergraduate School and Major: Insper Institute of Education and Research (Sao Paulo, Brazil) – Bachelor of Business Administration, Finance concentration.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Loft (Sao Paulo, Brazil) – Product Manager.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Chicago Booth’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? It is definitely how Booth prepares students to become successful technology entrepreneurs, which is basically done through a wide range of initiatives run by or in partnership with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. There are over 20 entrepreneurship-related courses, along with lab programs, mentorship and networking opportunities, and funding and acceleration programs. Booth provides all the tools needed for current and future founders in every aspect of starting and running a business. This is crucial to me as I plan to start my own technology company in the future. I believe Chicago Booth’s MBA programming will empower me to successfully pursue the entrepreneurship path.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Chicago Booth, and why? I’m really excited about the Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab course. A key part of founding and running a company is fundraising. This course provides students with a unique opportunity to gain practical experience in startup investing and learn how VC/PE firms think and operate in the real world.

What has been your first impression of the Booth MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far? I’ve been greatly surprised by how welcoming and collaborative the Booth community is. My wife and I are humbled by the kindness and support we have received from the current students and alumni during a challenging (and slightly scary) time of moving to a different country and setting up a completely new life far away from home. We were not expecting such warm and friendly hospitality. We spent hours on Zoom calls to help us understand financial aid, visa bureaucracies and the course bidding system. They also helped us with storing and assembling furniture and letting us crash at their place while waiting for our lease to start.

What makes Chicago such a great place to earn an MBA? Chicago has been my favorite city in the world long before I started my MBA application. The fascinating Lake Michigan, the city parks, and unique ways to experience every season make Chicago the most charming city I know. Combined with a rich culture and food scene, anyone who has the chance to live in Chicago for two years will certainly have a blast. Professionally-speaking, MBA students in Chicago have the opportunity to connect with top professionals, executives, and entrepreneurs in almost every field, as the city is home to several offices and headquarters of market leaders of several industries. Equally, if one needs to network in other locations, it’s a quick flight to any metropolis on the east coast.  It’s also faster to fly to the west coast if you’re in Chicago than if you’re in New York. Not to mention, rent is more affordable in Chicago than in other big American cities.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I believe my biggest accomplishment was transitioning to product management and leading squads of designers and software developers. We delivered high impact, tech-enabled products that directly contributed to Loft’s rapid growth in the mortgage origination industry. As a result, the company went from zero to becoming the market leader in Brazil. By translating business goals into product vision, strategy, and roadmap, I helped those squads provide Loft’s mortgage operations team with a robust technology stack to allow for sustainable growth and also make possible the speeding up previously lengthy steps for customers, such as cutting mortgage application lead time in half.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I believe an MBA is key to helping me have access to the right tools I’ll need to become an impactful entrepreneur. The best thing that can happen for a local startup ecosystem is for one of its companies to breakout globally. Nothing else attracts more capital and talent to a specific region. So, in order to see massive growth in the Brazilian startup ecosystem, we need more Brazilian founders building world-class companies — I want to be one of them.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? This one is for anyone who’s interested in learning more about the startup and fintech ecosystem in Latin America: Latin America’s Fintech Boom, by Angela Strange and Matthieu Hafemeister. LATAM has developed into one of the leading global fintech hubs in the past decade. There have been many entrepreneurs from all over the world who have come to LATAM after finishing up their MBAs, usually transitioning from more traditional industries to founding their technology startups in the region (mostly in financial services). If you are curious about why this has been a trend and want to learn why there is such a great opportunity in LATAM, read the piece by world-renowned venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Hopefully, this article will inspire you and give you some insight on how to shape your MBA experience in order to gain the tools needed to build a stellar company out of LATAM.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Stanford GSB, Harvard, MIT Sloan, Wharton, Kellogg and Berkeley Haas.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Chicago Booth’s MBA program? It is very common to have preconceptions about a school when you’re in the application process. That can sometimes lead you to try and frame your story in a specific way to fit in those preconceptions. However, doing so can hide your unique qualities and water down the strength of your candidacy.

During the beginning of my MBA application process, only two words came to mind when thinking about Booth: finance and economics. For a moment, that made me insecure about how my drive for technology, product development and entrepreneurship would play out in my application. That was when I got this valuable piece of advice: “You have the best chance of getting in when you’re genuinely yourself, regardless of what you think the school wants to hear”. I believe this is so valuable because it helps you to not only distinguish yourself as a candidate, but also find unique aspects of the school that really resonate with you. These can be layers deeper than the most common and popular ones everyone talks about. Booth has a remarkable program when it comes to empowering students to thrive as entrepreneurs and leaders in technology. The more I learned about the school, the more I realized my preconceptions were very shallow. Being myself in the application turned out to be a great idea.


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