Today’s Full-Time MBA student profile features Fernando Matheus Duarte Casarotti (Class of 2024), a First Year who hails from Brazil with a background in law. He and his wife have quickly settled into the tight-knit Darden community — a selling point when they were considering MBA programs.
Casarotti was also featured on the Poets & Quants “Meet the Darden MBA Class of 2024,” where he described what he was most excited about for the year ahead and shared his favorite resource for prospective students (spoiler: he recommends “The Best One Yet” podcast).
Check out Casarotti’s recent Q&A below, and for another great way to connect with Brazilian students and alumni, sign up for the upcoming virtual chat on 15 February!
Piracicaba/Sao Paulo – Brazil
Many people don’t know, but I have an artistic vein – I’m a ballroom dancer and can play a bunch of musical instruments. Also, as a geek, I’m very proud of my 40+ Funko Pops collection
Q: What was your background before coming to Darden?
A: I went to Law School and worked my entire career at the Brazilian government (Court of Justice of Sao Paulo, Brazil), in a bunch of different areas and capabilities – from Legal (Civil and Criminal Law) to Consulting and Public Management. I started my career in a town called Campinas/SP (where I also got my bachelor’s degree and met my wife!), and lived the last few years prior to the MBA in Sao Paulo/SP
Q: How did you end up at Darden?
A: Despite holding what many people consider the “dream job” in Brazil, I began feeling unsettled. Politics played a big role where I worked, which started to bother me, and I began to realize that I was heading towards a very dangerous place — my comfort zone! My creativity, professional freedom and opportunities of growth were beginning to feel limited. As such, I knew that to turn into the world citizen I aimed to be, I needed to take a big step forward and pursue my MBA.
I had a very tough time during the application process with all that was happening in my life while I was trying to earn that so-desired target score at the GMAT (Data sufficiency? Seriously?!), and the support from my wife and the Darden community were key to overcome that! At the interview, I felt great that I was incentivized to be my true self and, for sure, that was one of the main elements that has allowed me to thrive.
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: As someone pivoting to Consulting, I felt this would be the career to allow me to achieve my main goals. The first, to get a job where I’d never get bored; the second, to achieve the maximum level of professional, intellectual and geographical freedom. Consulting is an industry where I’ll be able to work across different areas, always with heavy intellectual work in a non-hierarchical structure, and transform into a world citizen.
Q: How would you like to impact Darden as a Latin American student?
A: If I had to boil it down, I want to make something clear: We, internationals, must be proud of our accents. They don’t just represent that we’re from another country; they represent our courage and bravery to get away from what we consider the safest place on Earth (close to our family, speaking our own language and immersed in our own cultures, in successful careers), to pursue a bigger goal and a better life. Sadly, only a very few of us can have the opportunity to fulfill this dream.
This is why, while at Darden, I’d love to embark in the journey of opportunity-giving, helping to open more and more doors to international students to embark in this life-changing path – all while, of course, involving everyone here and filling every space with all the unique Latin American receptivity, passion and joy (and food!).
Q: What advice do you have for prospective students about to embark on the application process?
A: I heard this advice over and over again, but didn’t really understand the extent to which it would be helpful (so, don’t roll your eyes because you’re reading it for the 1057 time): Be yourself.
Many times, we act in a way that we think is expected from us, but this jeopardizes our opportunities to highlight our true and joyful personalities. Be yourself! If you tell bad jokes (as I do), do it; if you’re usually with a smile on your face, “wear” it; if you’re passionate about whatever subjects it might be, make it clear.
Also, be intentional about Darden. There are plenty of great business schools around the world, but why do you want to be here specifically? (Spoiler alert: There are a bunch of reasons!) That goes back, I must say, to letting our passions shine. I’m biased towards Darden (it really is amazing), so I won’t even start talking about it – maybe during a coffee chat!