I like to believe that life is about having stories to tell and even better people to share those stories with. I came to business school thinking it would be about classes, entrepreneurship, and professional opportunities, but it ended up being about relationships, risk management, and personal transformation.
Leaving Brazil, arriving in Chicago alone, and not knowing anyone felt like a new life chapter, in which everything seemed possible. Surely, building up relationships would transform my experience, and my first stop was fellow Brazilians at Booth. We welcomed one another very warmly and quickly created a family-like environment with weekend lunches and Monday night dinners, providing support and toasting cheers to moments of sadness and joy. I could not have made it without them and will carry them with me for life. A little more down the road, as classes started, surprises and tougher than expected moments were ahead of me.
Coming from a troubled company in Brazil, I believed I would have a calm first quarter, when I would be able to incorporate the business school vibe, evaluate opportunities, and assess my next moves. I could not have been more wrong. I found a fast-paced, overwhelming environment, where decisions had to be made as soon as possible and there was little room for mistakes. Under pressure, I decided to follow an investment banking path, and once more I could have not found a better group of people to support me: the investment Banking Group, with its co-chairs, namely Gui Botelho, and all the 1Y friends I made through the process. Supporting one another and creating those relationships have made my life way better not only during those moments in the process when I almost lost confidence, but also celebrating successes and enjoying business school. I definitely feel more comfortable moving to New York after Booth, knowing I will have most of them in the city as well.
The months following recruiting were expected to be full of joy and excitement after overcoming recruiting pressure. However, right around the corner, there was COVID-19. Re-adjusting my routine, spending more time alone, going through a relationship rupture, and reducing many of the regular MBA life experiences was only still fun because the friends I made along the way. Big events gave way to small gatherings that made stronger connections easier to make, and more friends joined my experience along the way from the “children of korn” to the fun Israelis; knowing how to adapt and be happy was a great skill I developed from those days on.
Summer arrived, and along with the good weather, I started my internship along with other Boothies at Bank of America. They were a great crew that will continue to be longstanding colleagues. Then just like that the 1Ys were arriving in Chicago. In the blink of an eye my second year had arrived. I remember how weird it was to see a full year ahead in which not much of my actions were going to change much of my future. I already knew my future job and city where I would live a year from then, and thus, I decided to focus on living my life in a fun way.
The Zoom classes, although a different approach to the MBA experience, allowed for some flexibility and, following all the health rules, gathering in small group of friends and traveling became a way of engaging with the community. Such intense coexistence and relations unfortunately led to friendship ruptures on occasion. These relationship fractures came with sadness, but I tried to see them as opportunities, the type of nudge that brought me even closer to my second family here, the broader LatAm community. Those guys are amazing and made my days increasingly more fun. Keeping on the track of breaking into this sea of people that the MBA brings together, I will miss all the Italian cooking and speaking classes, not to mention partaking in Jewish Shabbat with other international peers. And, as is the case with every story, the MBA closed the last of its chapters.
My last quarter…probably the best one and the one that seems never-ending. In this quarter, I witnessed the entrepreneurial vein of my colleagues, who pushed the most they could to provide a great quarter to everyone. The spirit of connection and the willingness to work for all were strongly demonstrated and friends such as Morgan Franklin and Trip Killinger deserve a shootout. This quarter seems to be the one in which everything made sense. That we could spend time with one another more freely of restrictions, that the sense of community grew, and that the pride of being part of this school was the highest it had been since the first acceptance letter was received. Relationships were strengthened, and as if there was a lot of room to run, new and nice friendships began. An amazing closing that happened with the same beauty that once more the spring and summer offers when it arrives in Chicago.
My business school experience was indeed full of academic learnings, but what I will take with me the most is the challenges that life presents us. They demand strength, mental health, the ability to adjust, and to rebuild ourselves in tough moments. I leave this experience feeling that I can succeed in achieving my goals and dreams, feeling that there are interesting people from all walks of life, and that life is about having amazing people to share my stories with.