Full-Time MBA, MBA/MSDS, Student Profile or Feature

Meet MBA/MSDS Student, Marcelo Costa de Sousa, ’19

By Brett Twitty-

We continue our MBA/MSDS spotlight with a conversation with Marcelo Costa de Sousa, ’19. Marcelo spent his summer with Kabbage as one of Darden’s Technology Venture Fellows, and we recently caught up with him to talk more about his decision to pursue the dual degree, his experience so far and his advice for prospective students. Check out Marcelo’s answers below! New to the series? Be sure to review our Applicant FAQ as well as our previous Q&A with Winfred Hills, ’20

Why did you apply for the MBA/MSDS dual degree?

Prior to Darden, I was leading digital transformation projects for a large South American bank. In this role, I realized I wanted to take my tech knowledge to the next level, and I was especially interested in learning about trends, how to leverage technology for maximum business impact and best practices for managing tech teams. The MBA/MSDS allowed me to accomplish all of these things simultaneously.

How’s the experience been so far?

It’s been great. I’ve already learned a ton about the applicability of data science to business problems, and there’s still a full semester left. I’ve found that my data science classes have helped with some of my Darden courses, and they have also been a differentiator in recruiting. It’s definitely more work on top of the MBA, but it’s totally manageable.

How do you feel this experience/training will set you apart in the marketplace?

I’ve already had a very positive experience both in recruiting and during my internship. I found that the dual degree afforded me a unique perspective on my work at Kabbage. The business training from the MBA combined with the technical perspective from the MSDS allowed me to navigate between strategy and technology to develop solutions that were sophisticated but still applicable. I also felt I was well-positioned to work with and lead co-workers from both fields (business and technology).

Any advice for prospective students?

If you are unfamiliar with Python, R and/or SQL, take some time in advance to learn the basics. This will definitely help you get up to speed and make the transition to your data science classes a little easier. The summer term of the MSDS degree will definitely teach you about these tools, but it’s worth trying a little bit on your own. As far as where to find classes on these topics, I recommend digital learning platforms such as EDX and Coursera. Other than that, I would also encourage some light reading about the application of data science to solve business problems.