Felipe Terrazas Martins (Class of 2019) was born in Brazil and grew up in Chile. Felipe attended the Universidad de Chile in Santiago and worked as a portfolio manager for Zurich Financial Services before becoming an associate at BlackRock. He held both of these positions from his home in Santiago, Chile before moving to the U.S. to pursue his MBA at Darden. As president of Darden’s Latin American Student Association (LASA), Felipe is eager to continue many of the organization’s social and professional events and to implement new ideas and collaborations.

Felipe’s first impression of Darden came from an alumni networking event in Santiago, Chile before ever stepping foot on Darden grounds. His engagement with Darden alumni in Latin America reassured him that he would fit right in with Darden’s global community and would have access to continued support through Darden’s alumni network during his degree and beyond. After hearing more about Charlottesville from the Chilean alumni, Felipe knew that Darden would be ideal for an immersive MBA experience. “Charlottesville is a great environment, especially for international students and those learning English as a second or third language, because its smaller size causes you to continually interact with people,” Felipe explained. “I did not want to be in a large city for my MBA program. The purpose of going to business school is to learn and to make connections, so being in a large city might only be distracting.” Darden’s emphasis on the case study method also attracted Felipe. As he describes, “the Darden case study method provides students with an in-depth understanding of major business decisions made in the past so that students have the tools to make the best business decisions in the future.”

Felipe (far right) and other Class of 2019 students from Brazil at the Facebook office in San Francisco, CA during a Darden Tech Trek

Building a strong professional network is essential to the MBA experience, and attending Darden broadened Felipe’s already-global professional network. “At Darden there are people from all different business industries and nonprofits. With Darden’s vast alumni network, I know I could find a Darden connection or alum in any field and in any place in which I would want to work or travel.”

Felipe’s career goal is to have opportunities to expand businesses within and to Latin America. “I would love to be a part of a corporation expanding to Latin America, or a Latin American organization expanding within the region, as I believe in the positive growth of the area,” Felipe said. “Where there is growth, there is opportunity. I could see myself doing this in many roles, whether as a consultant or product manager or regional director. I am not as concerned with a particular role as I am with connecting countries in the region with each other and with the world.” Taking the best ideas and practices he has learned at Darden and in the U.S., Felipe would ultimately like to travel around Latin America and use his learnings to continually improve business in the region.

As LASA president, Felipe hopes to strengthen alumni connections in Latin America in addition to promoting LASA’s social and professional events at Darden. “My goal for LASA is that its networking effect would grow and exist long into the future,” Felipe shared, “that LASA could connect Latin Americans with people within Darden, within Latin America and throughout the world.” The alumni he met in Chile prior to attending Darden were all former LASA members and, given their positive impact on Felipe’s decision to attend Darden, he hopes to provide that same experience to other prospective students.

In line with Felipe’s vision, LASA recently joined a collaboration with the Darden African Business Organization, Darden South Asia Society, Asia Business Club at Darden and other affinity clubs to create a new speaker series focused on emerging markets. In addition to the regular barbeques and social events, Felipe also hopes to plan a spring Carnival, celebrating the Brazilian Carnival festival.

Felipe advises prospective students to make the trip to Darden when deciding which MBA program is the best fit. “Visiting Darden is well worth it, if you are able. The students I spoke to during my visit to Darden stood out from visits to other schools. Speak to as many current students as possible, and if you can’t make a trip to Darden, connect with students over the phone. A phone call is free.” He encourages prospective and current international students, especially those for whom English is a second language, to speak up, express ideas and take advantage of the supportive Darden community that is willing to listen and to help. In his second year at Darden, Felipe prompts first year students to “use your time well and prioritize the things you want to be a part of and do. Use your energy wisely; be sure to enjoy your time here by balancing the academic, professional and social aspects of your MBA experience.”

The Darden Soccer Club took first place at an annual Charlottesville soccer tournament
Darden students and friends at a barbeque, one of the regular social events LASA hosts