Real Humans of Chicago Booth’s MBA Class of 2021
Ana Vasques, Chicago Booth’s MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering + Stevens Institute of Technology – Master in Engineering Management
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 1.5 years in Private Equity + 1.5 years at Uber (Operations) + 4 months at Pre-MBA internship at a Fintech
Why business school? Why now?
As an engineer working in the business environment, I always felt the need to pursue a formal education in business in order to become a better professional. I also wanted to have the opportunity to explore marketing and entrepreneurship at an academic level. In terms of timing, I had some help from MBA consultants to determine if it was the appropriate moment to apply.
Why Chicago Booth? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Academic rigor and prestige were major factors in my decision. I found here an amazing faculty with Nobel-level professors. That made me certain that I would find here the kind of intellectual challenge I was looking for.
As I talked to other people about the schools to which I was planning to apply, the respect they had for the Chicago Booth name was a constant. That made me sure I would be able to open doors with the Booth stamp on my curriculum.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
I’m a not a big party person, but I love to have people over at my house and cook for them. I believe one way I can contribute to my class is being that person that helps other people feel at home, even if they are far away from their homelands.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I love playing cards and when I was younger, I wanted to be a professional Canasta player. I used to play a lot with my family and I even organized a tournament with my colleagues at Uber, which I ended up losing big time.
Post-MBA career interests?
In the long run, I want to be a partner of a private equity fund, contributing my experience to operations and management. To get there, I’ll focus on developing these operations and managerial skills in the tech industry, mostly focusing in growth and expansion.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Do my GMAT early on. I took my GMAT right after college and waited until I had enough content for my essays to apply. This way, I had time to study for the exam with no rush and I ended up only doing it once to get the score I wanted.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would visit the schools’ campuses. I didn’t have resources (time and money) at the time of my application to do a tour, so I had to base my decisions on the alumni I met and what I read on the internet. After being accepted, I visited the Booth campus for a special event directed to admitted students called First Day, it gave me a much better sense of the culture and the infrastructure of Chicago Booth.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Writing essays. Putting my story on paper was a huge challenge for me. In Brazilian culture, this kind of thing is not common; it’s seen as self-centered and rude to talk too much about one’s accomplishments. Hiring an MBA coach helped me get through it.
What is your initial impression of Chicago Booth’s students/culture/community?
Everyone here is really smart and friendly. Booth has the warmest community among business schools in the US. Before, during, and after our MBA period, we take time to invest in our community and go out of our way to help each other and anyone who is interested in applying to Booth.
When I was applying, I had so much help from current students who I had not even met before and that made me feel very welcome. A few weeks before coming to the US, Brazilian students were already meeting for coffee and beer. There is a strong sense of family among us.
One thing you have learned about Chicago Booth that has surprised you?
I was surprised by how friendly everyone is. You could think a school with so many smart minds would have too many know-it-alls, but the culture here is in fact very collaborative.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Managing my schedule. Despite moving to Chicago, I still have a parallel life in Brazil as a board member of my family business. Managing my schedule among exams, recruiting, and travels to Brazil will be a challenge this year.
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Getting to know Chicago! Most students from Business School choose to live downtown, so we are in the heart of the city. I’m looking forward to visiting all the museums and restaurants around here!