2023 MBA To Watch: Ana Carolina Sousa, Ohio State (Fisher)

Ana Carolina Sousa

Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business

“A girl from Rio who is passionate about solving complex problems while building personal connections around the world.”

Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Fun fact about yourself: I have a HUET certification, which stands for Helicopter Underwater Escape Training. (It consists of being thrown on a fake helicopter inside a pool that is then drowned and turned upside down, and you have to take off your seatbelt, remove the window, and get out three times to be certified. It felt like a Houdini show and sounded scary at first, but it was actually really fun and much easier than it sounds.)

Undergraduate School and Degree: Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Chemical Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? McKinsey & Company, Associate

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Where will you be working after graduation? JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Fisher Board Fellow – working as a non-voting board member for Pelotonia, an amazing community that has raised over $236 million over the past 13 years for cancer research at the OSUCCC – The James. I am thankful for the opportunity to work with an amazing board and leadership towards a cause very close to my heart.

Member of Rio Endowment, a young adult organization who is looking to establish the first endowment fund for Rio universities.

Vice-president of Fisher Graduate Finance Association and member of Fisher Graduate Women in Business.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Winning the Deloitte National Supply Chain Case Competition in November 2021. We competed against other relevant schools such as Penn State and Georgia Tech, and the judges said we just hit it out of the park. My teammates and I were just getting to know each other, and now they are three of my very best friends, and I am so glad we built such a special memory together. It was also my first time ever receiving a trophy – and it is a big one!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Working with a team from Indonesia during the pandemic. Many people think that consulting is a challenging, demanding career that is only worth it because of the traveling. During the pandemic, I was assigned to a project with one of the largest mining companies in the world, and I had to support their operations in Indonesia virtually. That meant an 11-hour time zone difference. In other words, that meant switching free weekends in Bali to working from 9PM to 6AM from my apartment. The Indonesian team, however, were some of the most amazing people I have ever met. I had the best time learning more about their culture, their families, and their lifestyle, while delivering the value they expected from the project and adapting to working from home.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Fisher because of its community. It just feels like home being at school, and my cohort felt like family after two semesters. We are a fun, friendly, diverse group that became very tight early on, and that made my experience in business school much more special. Everyone is supportive to each other in terms of career goals and academics, and it is very rare to find such a collaborative, inclusive environment like this.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor John Schaffner, who taught High Performing Teams Culture. He has outstanding insights on people, organizational culture, team management and human nature.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Social Impact. In this class, we were a consulting team for a local nonprofit. While I came from consulting, it was a special opportunity for me to apply my problem-solving skills to a not-for-profit mindset in a hands-on, real-life client experience. It was also an opportunity for me to lead a consulting team, something I did not have the chance to do prior to business school.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I have heard so many times that going to business school was only worth it if you went to one of the top ones, otherwise opportunities would be too limited. However, I had friends going to top schools in the US and Europe at the same time as me, and we had overall similar experiences – maybe less travel and less fancy weddings, but that was it. I got offers from Amazon, McKinsey, JPMorgan and others, and I have cohort friends going to major cities and organizations all over the country, so there is definitely a lot of value in coming to Fisher.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? The Columbus Crew! Coming from Brazil, I did not expect to find such an amazing soccer community in Ohio. We have a brand new European-style stadium, so many events, and a massive and passionate fan base. It definitely helped Columbus feel more like home.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was positively surprised about how readily available and willing to help the alumni network is. It is something you hear about business schools, but it was very special to experience it. I have had a good professional network for four years now, and yet, never I have had so much help as I have with the people I met through Fisher. They would go out of their way to connect me with other people, help me learn about functions and departments within the companies I was looking to apply, and it was just amazing to be able to rely on such great people in my career transition journey.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I believe that the people I chose to write my recommendation letters had a strong weight in my application at Fisher. I made the decision to prioritize leadership that had worked directly with me in the past 2 years, instead of the relevance of their positions. This allowed them to be very thorough and specific on why I was a good candidate, using recent real-life examples in detail. This gave Fisher a very open and honest outlook on me, and that is what they look for when making the decision of whether someone is a good fit.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Eric Sette. When we met, Eric was only 24, but so accomplished already. Eric is an MHA-MBA dual degree grad, meaning he will have two master’s degrees by age 26. Despite coming from a background in health, he is just amazing at so many things, especially Finance. There was no analysis that I wanted to add to a group project or case competition that Eric couldn’t model. We won the Deloitte case competition together and worked on the same core team for our first semester, and I learned so much from him. He is also a professional pianist and a lot of fun to be around. Eric is definitely someone I hugely admire and a friend I will have for life.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Be a team leader and coordinate a strategic project at JPMC!

What made Ana such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Ana has developed a reputation for being an excellent student, teammate, and friend. In the words of my colleagues from the FTMBA faculty and staff: “Ana’s positive and energetic personality has been a great example of the value students can add to the overall experience of their peers in the program”; “Ana leveraged her consulting skills background to lead her team, and worked to develop tight chemistry, esprit d’cour, and a can-do attitude”; and “Ana has great insight, and uses this effectively in the classroom and beyond.”

Dr. Roger Bailey
Academic Director, FTMBA program


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