Barbara Souza learned about the MBA program at EMLYON Business School while studying French in Lyon; Pedro Souza (no relation) found out about it while at an MBA event in Paris.
With its solid reputation for entrepreneurship, both swiftly recognized that the program perfectly suited the professional pathways they had set out for themselves.
EMLYON has a formidable standing when it comes to the E word—entrepreneurship. Its business incubator has supported around 1,350 projects and created 11,000 jobs, while 85% of companies formed there are over five years old.
Both Barbara and Pedro demonstrated a flair for innovation prior to their MBAs, but the program enabled them to consolidate this mindset for the corporate world.
“My main objective coming to EMLYON was to completely redirect my career from an extremely technical background to the entrepreneurial world,” says Barbara who joined the Navy at 19 to study Nautical Sciences in Rio de Janeiro, and later became a merchant navy officer for Maersk, a leader in the shipping industry.
Life as a seafarer was difficult, and so Barbara decided to develop her own business as a fine art painter creating feminine figures out of old nautical charts.
“Creativity is something that I bring to everything I do, so going into marketing and innovation was a natural choice,” she explains.
“Studying marketing and new venture management at EMLYON is helping me know better how to tackle problems with inventive ideas. It helps me understand more about human behavior and how to adjust my ideas to what’s expected from customers, or to a need that customers don't even realize they have.”
Barbara is currently working as an MBA consultant for a hotel company, Golden Tulip. She notes that the integrated knowledge and analytical thinking process she’s developed at EMLYON is helping her in her current role.
“I find myself facing a lot complex problems, immense amounts of data, and it feels somewhat natural to process, analyze and create ideas in a limited time frame. This is a very important skill to have in the corporate world of today.”
For Barbara, the career support offered at EMLYON Business School was “efficient, detailed, and impeccably programmed to fit our schedules, needs and ambitions.” She adds that “we learn very well how to build a meaningful network, how to express ourselves, which is something that creates value and makes us stand out.”
Pedro began his career as an engineer, taking up product development roles in multinational corporations such as Whirlpool. His interest pivoted towards strategy and he decided to pursue an MBA.
“I decided to look for an international MBA degree to further boost my development,” says Pedro, explaining that EMLYON's “entrepreneurial soul” drew him to the school. He currently works as an external consultant supporting a project for an enterprise investing in startups.
“I have had the opportunity to experience the practical results from the theory I’ve learned in class,” he says.
As for the city itself, both Barbara and Pedro were enamored by its charm. For Pedro, EMLYON Business School is perfectly located midway between the South of France and Paris, and right next to the Alps.
Barbara explains how the city’s culture and gastronomic scene left her in love with Lyon.
“Leaving Brazil to come to France, and especially Lyon, has changed my way of perceiving things,” she says. “Lyon is a highly international place; we hear different languages everywhere. Whoever has the chance to study here, has the opportunity to be intensively exposed to diversity, which is amazing.
“There are also so many restaurants and gastronomic events in Lyon—one needs to be really prepared to put on the extra pounds!