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Real Humans of Rochester Simon’s MBA Class of 2025

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Fernando Tashima Basilio, Rochester Simon Business School MBA Class of 2025

Age: 32
Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil 
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Economics at University of Sao Paulo
Pre-MBA Work Experience (role, company, years): I have 4.5 years of work experience in healthcare, 1.5 years in consumer goods, and 1.5 years in real estate.

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
Before I joined Simon, I had considered applying for an MBA after being promoted to a managerial role in my previous job. I felt the need to gain a more theoretical understanding of various subjects I encountered daily, such as leadership skills, marketing, and finance. To be honest, pursuing an MBA degree in the US hadn’t crossed my mind until last year, when I delved deeper into the application process and realized that the perfect opportunity had arisen.

Why did you choose Simon Business School? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Fortunately, I had the opportunity to visit Simon during the Experience Simon Weekend in January 2023. This event is designed for prospective students to gain insights into the school, partake in in-person interviews, and connect with their future peers. While I had applied to several other schools, my perception of Simon shifted during that weekend. I comprehended how Simon would benefit both my career and personal growth. It became clear that I could leverage my experiences and strengths to further enhance my professional journey. Another pivotal factor in my decision was Simon’s commitment to diversity. As an international student, I was aware of the challenges of relocating to a new country, forming new connections, and building relationships. What drew me to Simon was its dedication to fostering a friendly and inclusive environment for all students and creating a supportive atmosphere conducive to success.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2025?
My most valuable and differentiating contribution to the Class of 2025 is my adaptability, honed through a career spanning various industries in Brazil, including clothing, consulting, real estate, consumer goods, and healthcare. This diverse experience has equipped me with the ability to thrive in different environments and embrace change. I have a genuine passion for continuous learning and have always welcomed the challenges that come with transitioning between industries. Notably, the Brazilian market’s unique demands, including cost pressures and currency volatility, have further sharpened my ability to adapt and be resilient. I can confidently say that I’ve succeeded in navigating these challenges in Brazil, and I’m excited to bring these skills to my business school community.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
While Brazil’s all about soccer (and yeah, I’m a fan too), my real sports passion is American football. I go crazy cheering for my team, and just to kick it up a notch, I’m deep into fantasy football—currently rocking 12 leagues. What gets me is the game’s strategy—it’s like a real-life chess match. The teamwork, the different plays, the scouting—it all clicks with me. I see our careers as kind of similar, because like a football squad, those in the business world take on challenges together and push for those wins and success.

Post-MBA career interests:
I plan on pursuing a career in pricing and product management.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
One thing I would absolutely do again as part of my application process is reaching out to current students. They offer invaluable insights into the university’s daily life, support systems, and internship opportunities. Speaking to fellow international students who share your language can also help bridge communication barriers and establish connections with future peers.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?simon business school 2025
Reflecting on my MBA application journey, there is one aspect I would approach differently. The decision to pursue an MBA in June 2022 was driven by a significant life event. I had less than three months to prepare my application, from inception to submission. While I successfully managed to meet the deadlines, I now recognize that a more strategic approach could have enhanced my overall application. If I could revisit this process, I would choose to start my preparations as early as January. This extended timeline would have allowed me to delve deeper into my self-assessment, refine my career goals, and thoroughly research the MBA programs I was interested in. It would also have provided me with more time to connect with potential references and put forth a more compelling application.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
If I were to identify one part of the MBA application process I would have gladly skipped, it would undoubtedly be the waiting period for admission decisions from schools. The anticipation during this time can be particularly nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing for every applicant, myself included. However, for international students like me, it carries an added layer of significance, as it directly impacts our ability to plan and execute a move to a different country. In my case—having applied during the first round—I had to endure nearly three months of anxious waiting before receiving any communication from the school. Looking back, if given the opportunity, I would have eagerly skipped this extended period of uncertainty.

To deal with the waiting game, I found comfort in keeping myself engaged with various activities. Engaging in self-improvement pursuits, such as enrolling in online courses and networking within the MBA community, helped me remain productive and distracted from the anticipation.

What is your initial impression of the Simon students/culture/community?
My initial impression of Simon’s students, culture, and community has been overwhelmingly positive. During the application process, there was a strong emphasis on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), but it was only after I started my journey at Simon in July that I truly realized how deeply these principles are woven into the DNA of the school.

One aspect that immediately struck me is the incredible diversity within our student body. Our class is a true reflection of Simon’s commitment to diversity, with nearly half of the students coming from international backgrounds. In today’s globalized world, the ability to collaborate with people from various diverse backgrounds is crucial for future leaders. Simon’s dedication to nurturing this adaptability and respect for all individuals is evident in every aspect of the community. I firmly believe that this diverse and inclusive environment will not only enrich our academic experience but also equip us to become compassionate, flexible leaders who can thrive in an increasingly interconnected world.

What is one thing you have learned about Simon that has surprised you?
One aspect of my experience at the University of Rochester that has pleasantly surprised me over the past two months is Simon’s genuine commitment to the students and their overall well-being. As an international student, the transition to studying abroad can be quite challenging. It involves being away from our home country, dealing with distance from family and friends, and essentially starting a new chapter of our lives. What truly stands out to me is how Simon consistently goes above and beyond to address these challenges. They actively promote various events and initiatives aimed at bringing students together and fostering a sense of community. These efforts create an environment where international students—like me—feel supported and integrated into the university community. Simon’s dedication to our well-being not only eases the anxieties associated with studying abroad, but also enriches our overall educational experience.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
One thing that I’m most anxious about in my first year is securing an internship offer. Transitioning to the MBA program has been a significant change for me, especially since the entire recruitment process is quite different from what I was accustomed to in Brazil. I’ve had to adapt to new methods of recruiting, learn how to craft effective cover letters, and prepare for interviews that follow a different format than what I’ve previously experienced. While this adjustment has triggered feelings of anxiety, it also excites me tremendously. I thrive on challenges and enjoy the process of learning new things. This experience has pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I believe that it will not only help me secure an internship but also enhance my overall professional growth. 

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
One thing that I’m particularly thrilled about in my first year is the wide range of courses I can dive into. As I mentioned earlier, I have a strong passion for learning, and Simon’s MBA program offers an excellent opportunity for that. Coming from an economics background, I’m especially excited about the chance to explore subjects like marketing from scratch. This presents a golden opportunity for me to expand my skill set and deepen my knowledge significantly. At the same time, I’ll be able to revisit and strengthen my understanding of finance and accounting, which will be extremely beneficial for my career aspirations.

What’s also incredibly exciting is the abundance of elective courses at our disposal. There are so many fascinating options that I find it hard to narrow down my choices. It truly reflects the program’s diversity and depth. These electives will not only enable me to delve into areas I’m personally passionate about but also provide me with a well-rounded MBA education.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.