Paula de Rezende Martins is a full-time MBA candidate at Barcelona’s ESADE Business School.
During the MBA, Paula raised €12,000 for the Class Gift Campaign — an initiative that finances a scholarship for a future ESADE MBA candidate. The ESADE MBA costs €61,700.
The Brazilian also received the Women of the World scholarship award, and directed events for the Women in Business Club.
Paula also excelled leading the organizing committee of the Innovation Summit, a flagship MBA event that brings together companies and top talent in a dynamic problem-solving environment.
Prior to the MBA, she worked for Brookfield Incorporações, a real estate firm, as a customer relations manager in Brazil. Before that, Paula worked in retail in São Paulo for Livraria Cultura S.A. She holds an undergraduate degree in architecture.
Why did you decide to begin an MBA at ESADE Business School?
I felt a little bit stuck — I had a lot of experience internationally but in Brazil I didn’t have quite the career path that I wanted. I felt the MBA could give me more business knowledge, because I felt there was a gap. Being an architect, it’s hard to convince people you can do business.
I looked into many business schools. I had no interest in schools in the US; they didn’t achieve the diversity I wanted and the programs are very long. I thought ESADE offered the most complete program. It offers so many extra things in terms of clubs and tracks. There’s so much flexibility. I also have a particular interest in Barcelona — one of the most amazing cities. I really wanted to live here.
What were your goals with the Women in Business Club?
Our challenge was to relaunch the club. Our idea was to make the club something for the wider community, not just for the MBA. We wanted to focus not just on women but to promote inclusion in a wider sense.
Things are way better in terms of gender diversity, but I feel there are differences [in the way men and women are treated in the workplace], and I think this needs to be addressed.
Have you valued ESADE’s diversity?
For all the realities in business school that I’ve learned about, it [the value of diversity] is one of the top ones. We have over 40 nationalities among 164 students. I have friends who were doctors, dentists, movie-makers, artists, dancers, consultants, from finance, marketing — they have so many experiences to share.
Business school is supposed to prepare you for the world.
Tell us about your involvement in the Innovation Summit.
It’s a one-day event. We have people from industry come and talk about innovation. In the afternoon we bring in companies and have cases. It was one of the best experiences of the MBA. It’s a very important platform for ESADE. We have the talent in our year to make it work for the whole community, and we wanted more engagement and participation from students.
What are you most proud of, of your professional career so far?
I’m proud of the trajectory of my career so far, although I wanted more. I’m proud to have dedicated so much time. I didn’t have a social life. But nobody demanded it. I wanted it.
What are your career plans post-MBA?
During the MBA, I met my boyfriend and we’re planning to stay in Europe together. I’m still in pursuit of a job. I’m still interviewing. I want to stay in retail, it’s something I’m really passionate about. I want to apply my MBA on the strategic side to drive a better customer experience.