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Real Humans of Michigan Ross’s MBA Class of 2021

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Marcos Coppa Gomes Filho, Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2021

Marcos Coppa Gomes Filho, Ross MBA Class of 2021

Age: 29
Hometown: Rio de Janeiro
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Electrical Engineering
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 7 years – 2.5 years in Management Consulting and 4.5 years in Technology/Operations

Why business school? Why now?
Doing an MBA is an old dream that I decided to pursue mainly because of:

  • People – I wanted to have two years of intense international exposure, sharing experiences with smart and highly motivated classmates who will help push me out of my comfort zone, besides being able to create valuable networking that I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.
  • Professional exposure – It’s enriching to get involved with several initiatives that will play a key role in my next career steps – from team projects and industry exposure to recruiting for top companies in tech.
  • Intellectual challenge – It’s great to give myself the chance to learn in detail what I haven’t studied in my undergrad. The academic challenges will help me strengthen the skills that will be needed for my next career move.

As far as timing, it was clear to me that the MBA is all about learning and sharing. I decided to apply now because I felt that could be an active contributor to my class.

Why Ross? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
When I started thinking about where I wanted to go, I used three factors to make the decision:

  • I wanted a school with an excellent positioning for Technology and Operations, so that I could access the resources needed to recruit with excellence for these areas.
  • I wanted to be in a place where the sense of community is powerful. Ross is an extremely people-oriented school, and since my first contact with the alumni and faculty, I have realized how helpful they are and how tight the community is. I felt at home from the beginning!
  • Finally, I searched for a city not so big, but with traveling and leisure options. Ann Arbor is a perfect combination – you can have mountains, lakes, good restaurants/bars, and big cities around. All of that with a great quality of life.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
My professional background and lessons learned. I want to bring to discussions not only my volunteer experience with NGOs and United Nations, but also what I have acquired during the last seven years: from the experience as a field engineer for a major energy company to a wide range of projects for an international management consulting firm to, finally, an exciting journey in a leadership position in two hyper-growth startups that were acquired/valued in + $1 billion USD.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I’ve backpacked long distances five times in my life and I have been to 24 countries so far. My goal is to reach 50 countries in the next seven years.

Post-MBA career interests?
I want to keep working in technology in a fast-paced company in the U.S., leveraging my previous experience in product/tech and operations to create lasting-value products.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
Evaluate your decision from a holistic perspective. There are many aspects that will make your two years wonderful and, more than a choice of the school, it is crucial that you also choose where you want to go. Make sure your values and goals—both personal and professional—are aligned with the school’s purpose and it’s very likely that you will have a life-changing experience!

–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Talk to as many people as possible! Much more than reading about the schools, getting to know the community was fundamental to make my decision.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would have had a little more fun during the process. Despite all the stress of the application, the process itself is a deep reflection of your story and your goals. Finding this out and understanding more clearly what you are looking for is a pleasurable part of the process – and that I could have enjoyed more!

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The GMAT. At the time I was working long hours and reconciling with the study routine. It was hard to deal with, but I knew it was a necessary effort to achieve my dream. 

What is your initial impression of Ross’s students/culture/community?
Ross is a very welcoming school. I was well received from the first contact, having met several students and alumni even before entering. The culture is truly collaborative and you will always find people willing to help you. Faculty members have played a key role in this beginning, not only in my adaptation, but also in reassuring me that I will have all the support to define my next career challenges.

One thing you have learned about Ross that has surprised you?
The school has a large number of amazing programs that allow us to have intense experiences, from student-managed VC funds to highly structured leadership programs and international visits to operations sites of global companies of diverse segments.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
To get exposed to real-world problems on the several action-based learning initiatives, deep diving on challenges in subjects of my interest, such as product, operations, technology, and leadership.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
To meet people! I’ve met most of my section and we’ve already had a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to starting sharing experiences with such a diverse class – from case discussions to happy hours and trips around the world!

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.