Luciana Mendes is jetlagged. She’s just flown back from London, where she cosied up to Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas bankers.
The excursion is part of a finance program at France’s EDHEC Business School. Luciana enrolled in EDHEC’s Global MBA in January 2016. It costs €41,000 and takes 10 months to complete.
She joined after a career at Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest brewer. The role helped Luciana hone her leadership skills. She was based in São Paulo, a Brazilian city that she says has swelling MBA career opportunities.
Luciana plans to work in finance when she graduates. London meetings with top European banks is not a bad place to start.
Why did you decide to begin an MBA?
I had the opportunity to take some technical courses in Brazil that related to my sector, but nothing that brought me a global view about markets and management. The MBA is a chance to acquire a global perspective on the business world, and to do amazing networking with people from multiple countries.
For me it is also an opportunity to refocus myself and redefine what I want from my career.
Why EDHEC Business School?
EDHEC gives you the opportunity to experience a truly “global” MBA. My decision was based on three main things that I was looking for in an MBA: International exposure; a high MBA ranking; and diversity (this year we have more than 32 different nationalities, which offers me a unique experience).
The business trips as part of the Finance Track are also an excellent opportunity to meet and learn with recognized professionals from all over the world. I just arrived back from London, where we had really interesting lectures with impressive professionals, and visits to Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas.
Which electives are you taking and why?
I decided to take the Finance Track, which includes three mains courses: Fixed income; international advanced corporate finance; and alternative investment.
My background is in finance, but since I am looking for more opportunities in this sector, I decided to improve my knowledge through these advanced courses.
The classes are amazing and professors have impressive market knowledge. The school is extremely strong in finance. It also has the well-recognized EDHEC Risk Institute, which offers opportunities to students who are interested in this area.
What are your three key takeaways from a career at Anheuser-Busch InBev?
The three main takeaways from my career at AB InBev are all related to the company’s values.
The first one is “ownership”. You learn that your results depend on you, and you should feel responsible for that.
The second is “results orientation”. All the employees have specific goals that are defined according to the company’s direction. We all have the same objective and worked hard to achieve it.
The last I would mention is “leadership”. You don’t need to have a specific position or role to practice it. I learned to lead a team in order to achieve a specific objective in the company.
What career opportunities are there for MBAs in São Paulo?
The market is really competitive, but also open for professionals from all over the world. São Paulo is the most important city of Brazil and several multinational companies have their offices there. An MBA abroad is very well-recognized by these companies, especially in the financial sector.
The main sectors hiring in Brazil nowadays are mainly related to IT, financial services and consumer goods. All of these sectors have grown in the past few years and have good opportunities for people looking for a challenge.
What is your favorite pass-time in Nice, France?
To travel around the region. Nice is amazing and is next to cities like Monte Carlo, Cannes and Grasse. The city itself is extremely charming and has good restaurants and bars; you can easily find a good place to have a glass of wine or try the “niçoise specialités”.