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Real Humans of the Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2025

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Carina Odfjell, Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2025

Age: 27
Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Sao Paulo, Law
Pre-MBA Work Experience: Mattos Filho Advogados, Corporate Attorney, 3 years

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I was happy with my career as a lawyer, but I found myself increasingly more interested in the business aspects of the cases I dealt with, rather than the legal aspects. I had never had a formal business education and figured that, if I wanted to make a career switch, attending a two-year MBA program would be just what the doctor ordered for me to explore my interests and possible career paths. 

Why did you choose HBS? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
HBS was my dream school. A multitude of factors played a part in this: it’s beautiful campus, tight knit community, the international prestige and weight that the Harvard brand carries, the intensity of the academic experience, and the glimmer in the eyes of alumni I spoke with when they talked about their experience. To me, HBS was an all-encompassing school that didn’t specifically focus on one area of business and would give me a wholistic business education.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2025?
Not many people have a legal background at HBS. I think the fact that I used to work as a corporate attorney allows me to give regulatory perspectives in class that contribute to the overall discussion. And the fact that I sometimes bring pao de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) to class.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I’m a big fan of musical theatre.

Post-MBA career interests:

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Start as early as possible and give yourself time to complete all the requirements.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?hbs 2025
Have a more structured study plan for the GMAT.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I would definitely have skipped the GMAT. Having a close friend going through the same application process helped a lot because we would motivate one another and keep each other on track.

What is your initial impression of the HBS students/culture/community?
It’s an incredibly vibrant, fast-paced, and exciting culture with a tight-knit community of kind and inspiring people.

What is one thing you have learned about HBS that has surprised you?
People are incredibly kind and humble. I’ve heard others sometimes say that people at HBS can be snobbish, but I did not find that at all.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Being able to do everything at once—keeping up with academic requirements, social events, professional development, and general well-being.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Being able to soak up all the amazing opportunities that are available to us as HBS students. That ranges from taking full advantage of the incredible content delivered in class, to being able to build meaningful relationships with classmates and attend the fantastic events around campus.

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.