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

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“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 piano, harmonica and guitar.

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

Most recent employer and job title: Sao Paulo Court of Justice, Brazil – IT Coordinator

What makes the case method so appealing as a way to learn and become a better manager? It has an immersive nature that cannot be replicated, in which students develop skills to analyze huge amounts of data and quickly analyze it to come to a synthesized conclusion. Moreover, the “cold call risk” forces people to adapt and confront even the most difficult subjects. These are essential traits for managers in the fast-paced business world we live in, where new technologies appear almost daily.

Cases and classmates aside, What was the key element of the Virginia Darden MBA program that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I could spend all day talking about it – the school’s unique facilities, impressive average post-MBA salary, student-led initiatives, and Charlottesville. I will highlight the community, which embraced me from day one. Going into a career transition as an international student, I knew the journey wouldn’t be easy and I really wanted to have that support network. So I was looking for a place where my wife would feel as welcome as I did – and yet I couldn’t have chosen a better place than Darden.

What class, club or activity are you most passionate about at Virginia Darden? Believe me, this is not a place where you will be bored, because every day is exciting (and busy)! As a travel enthusiast, something that particularly excites me is taking a Darden Worldwide course. I can’t wait to travel the world and see new places with Darden friends – with school fees covered on top of that.

What has been your first impression of the Darden MBA students and alumni you have met so far. Tell us your best Darden story so far. In two words: brilliant and surprising. When I first contacted a Darden student, I remember he quickly gave me his phone number so that we could set up an appointment. What surprised me even more was not only his obvious willingness to help me (a prospect he had just met), but that we ended up finding out he was born in the same (really small) country town than my wife! Indeed, life presents us with very intriguing coincidences… for those who believe in coincidences.

Describe your biggest achievement in your career so far: He was one of 32 of more than 51,000 employees (and also the youngest ever) to win a service award from the president of the Sao Paulo Court of Justice. It’s the result of leading both a turnaround in my division and multiple negotiations that saved millions of dollars. Indeed, teamwork is the dream!

What is one thing you have recently read, watched or listened to that you would highly recommend to future MBAs? Why? “The Best One Yet” Podcast: It will keep you up to date with the business world using plain language and fun anecdotes. At the same time, you will practice your English (for internationals) and learn important topics.

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

What advice would you give to help potential candidates gain admission into Virginia Darden’s MBA program? Be intentional about Darden. In the end, it all boils 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 have everything you need. Finally, remember this: everyone struggles with standardized tests, which are only part of your application. However, you will overcome all of this, because you have worked your whole life to be where you are.

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