Felipe de Mello e Souza, MBA ’11
By Brittany Smythe
BSBA Marketing ’11
Felipe de Mello e Souza, a dual-citizenship Eller MBA student, was born in Ithaca, New York, but moved to Brazil after his father completed a graduate program. For the remainder of his childhood, he and his family moved to and lived in a different country every three years.
“This has given me a broad base from which to pull when talking to different people, and made me genuinely interested in most subjects,” Souza says. “The trade-off is that I’m not an expert in any of them. This was a driving factor in getting an MBA; it is a degree that also provides marketable skills — a way to capitalize on diverse backgrounds, interests, and perspectives.”
He graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 2004. “After college I wasn’t sure of what my next step would be, but I knew I wasn’t ready to fall into a career path,” he says. “Since hearing about the Peace Corps in high school, it had been an opportunity I kept stored in the back of my mind. After exploring graduate school options, the Peace Corps resurfaced as the only direction that truly motivated me.”
Souza says that for him, few experiences have matched the quality and self-fulfillment he felt in his volunteer work through the Peace Corps. “Having people depend on the effectiveness of my work and being rewarded by having as much responsibility as I could take helped me develop a continual drive to succeed.”
After the Peace Corp, he began looking at grad schools again. “Few schools matched Eller in terms of value — getting a high-quality MBA and graduating with little to no debt is a hard offer to turn down,” he says. Of course, he was also excited about living in the Southwest, with its year-round hiking and biking opportunities.
Now, as he concludes his first year, he says he appreciates the tight-knit community of the Eller MBA, but also the opportunities to engage with students from different backgrounds. Eller’s diverse population has increased the network of like-minded individuals with whom Souza strives to surround himself.
Looking forward to his post-MBA life, he says, “Ideally, any career I enter will allow me to not only use, but also further develop my abilities. But as long as my job is fulfilling and allows me the opportunity to keep moving to different parts of the world, I’ll be happy.”
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