Business course

Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Lais Giardullo Bernardes, IESE Business School

“Don’t let your life be sterile. Be helpful. Make your presence felt.

Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Fun fact about yourself: I started the MBA six months pregnant! In the end, I was happy to go to a school with strong values ​​related to supporting families.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of São Paulo (USP), Computer Engineering

Most recent employer and job title: Marae (Family office of Guilherme Leal), Head of Impact Investing; McKinsey & Company, business analyst

What makes the case method so appealing as a way to learn and become a better manager? Being forced to step into the shoes of the main character of the case makes you think deeply about the issue at hand and improves your decision-making skills, making you feel like you really live the situation. Plus, when you hear different points of view in the classroom, you get a broader and richer perspective than any other method could give you.

What has been your favorite part of Barcelona so far? What made it such a great place to get an MBA? A beautiful city to live in, with an affordable lifestyle and a very active business environment!

Aside from your classmates and your location, What was the key element of IESE Business School’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I felt extremely connected with IESE. Firstly, it is because of the style of leadership the school teaches – including the need to be committed to leaving a positive and lasting impact on people, business and society. Second, I chose IESE because of its focus on discussing the role of business in improving the world. Speaking with IESE alumni, they shared how this drive permeates all classes and subjects, as it is part of the core of IESE, and not just in sustainability-related classes. This was the key to my decision because it was directly linked to my main objective with the MBA: to intensify the impact of my career and improve the reality of Brazil through entrepreneurship.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at IESE? The leadership courses were very insightful for me. It made me see leadership as an opportunity to serve others, with concrete cases. The courses were interesting and covered current situations and innovative companies. I have already been able to apply the concepts learned in class and have had positive results. I really believe that in the long term, this will have a major impact on my career.

Describe your biggest achievement in your career so far: While working as an impact investment officer, I developed a clear vision of the cocoa industry and the impact framework/theory of change to reduce poverty among cocoa farmers – an issue major social in Brazil. This task was difficult because it involved a multidisciplinary team and a complex problem. Ultimately, this effort has led to new business models and innovative solutions that will have a huge impact on the lives of Brazilian cocoa farmers.

Describe your greatest achievement as an MBA student so far: Being able to give birth and take care of my little girl while learning and actively participating in class!

What advice would you give to help potential candidates gain admission to the IESE MBA program? Have a clear vision of how the MBA could help you have a greater positive impact in the world. Also, be yourself, be honest! I see some people trying to be another person to get “the right fit”, but I firmly believe that authenticity is the most valuable asset in your application.