Q:When did you complete your Graduate Certificate in Business Administration?

A:I completed my Graduate Certificate in Business Administration in Spring 2016.

Q:And now you're working on your MBA! When do you plan to complete your master's program?

A:I am on track to complete my MBA in Fall 2018. I was able to transfer 15 credits towards my 60 credit MBA program.

Q:What is your professional background?

A:I discovered the word “entrepreneurship” while I was working at my law firm back in Brazil. My firm had started to scale, and we went through all the problems that every early company has. If you grow too quickly, it's a problem. If you don't have enough clients, that's also a problem. How do you approach and manage your clients? How do you maintain good client relationships? How do you handle revenue? They don't teach those skills in law school. Soon I realized that I was doing wasn't just law, I was thinking about business.

Long story short, the law firm was successful—but our challenges were something I wanted to master. I thought, maybe that's my spark. Then I found the grad certificate. It promised to be an efficient way to learn more about entrepreneurship, which I definitely did.

Q:How did you decide to attend D'Amore-McKim?

A:I was looking for MBA programs that were well-positioned in the rankings. I got in touch with D'Amore-McKim, and they told me more about the graduate certificate program. I hadn't known that applying for a MBA would require a GMAT score. I thought to myself, “Do I want to prepare two years for my GMAT, or do I want to start studying business and see where it goes?” I wasn't sure that a MBA was the right path for me, so the graduate certificate was a good way for me to get started.

Q:What skills are you learning at D'Amore-McKim that will help you in your future career?

A:Strategy and managerial skills have been most helpful to me so far. Decision making skills for complex scenarios have been key. Seeing other people's mistakes and other people's successes through case examples has also been helpful for me, as an entrepreneur.

Q:Can you describe your role with IDEA, Northeastern's student-led venture accelerator?

A:I'm a Venture Coach. My role is to talk with early-stage venture entrepreneurs. In the IDEA program, we help entrepreneurs do product validation, prepare a business plan, pitch their idea, and think as an entrepreneur.

Once they have a vetted business model, they can make a pitch for gap funding. As a Venture Coach, I help prepare them for that pitch as well. Most of my ventures have gotten gap funding, so that's a good thing! That means they are proving themselves to a board of funders from IDEA, and they are capable of moving forward and growing. IDEA has been one of the coolest things I've been able to be a part of here.

Q:What have you enjoyed about your work with IDEA?

A:It's very organic. It's not like a class, it's more about conversations. You learn more from seeing the ventures entrepreneurs at work than you can in the classroom. Seeing young undergraduates have the courage to pitch in front of a whole investing committee—that's something I take pride in. Teaching them how to do that is pretty amazing.

Q:Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?

A:I possibly want to scale into a venture capital firm—still working with start-ups, but on the other side, managing a portfolio of companies. That would be great, if I get there in ten years. Everyone says that an overnight success takes ten years!

Q:What would you say to a prospective student considering D'Amore-McKim?

A:Once you're in, you'll see that D'Amore-McKim students have a lot of focus. The students have a drive to learn that I've never seen before. They're not just going to classes to listen to the professor talk. They bring a lot of things to the table. That was something that impressed me. I didn't know that the intellectual capital around D'Amore-McKim, including the alumni group, was so strong.