Leonardo Palú

Nationality: Brazilian
Job title: in between jobs, most recently head of sales and circular business at RHI Magnesita
Previous degree: bachelor in chemical engineering at Federal University of Parana in Brazil

1. What was the main reason for you to choose doing an MBA? 

“I worked in the same company for 12 years. I felt stuck and wanted to see what else was out there and grow further. I live in Rotterdam and RSM is one of the best in Europe. I was impressed with the open days of RSM’s EMBA and GEMBA, and the School has a good reputation and programme. I chose GEMBA because I felt it was senior level, and has a smaller class and more global travels.” 

2. What expectations did you have studying for your Global Executive MBA in a world in motion?

“I was working in recycling in a heavy industry company. We were making a difference to decrease carbon footprint in an industry that really needed it. The GEMBA can help me bring that view further to other businesses too to make more impact. It will give me a better handle to do something towards sustainability that’s also economically feasible, so companies stay stable. The GEMBA help to become future-ready."

3. How would you describe your RSM MBA experience so far?

“It’s a learning process that’s exhausting and energising at the same time. You’re being pushed and stretched by learning new things and consolidating this new knowledge. You need to put a lot of time and effort into it. It’s not difficult but it’s thought-provoking and challenging to take it all in. We deep dive into companies to see the application of our learnings in the real work. It’s all very exciting.”

4. What impact does the Strategic Leadership Development (SLD) component of the programme have on you?

“I initially disregarded this part. I was focused on which hard skills we’d learn. When SLD started in the first week, it immediately got us out of our comfort zone. Soft skills are actually a really important part of the journey. Leaders are the ones who should be able to connect with other people. You can have all the knowledge but if you can’t pass it on then your knowledge is wasted. RSM’s mentors and coaches – and your self-development – are all part of your change process.”

5. If you had to choose one Sustainable Development Goal, which one would you choose?

“It’s hard to put one SDG in front of another. All of them are important. You must think about what impact you can make where you are and where you work. I worked on recycling so it was about reducing carbon emissions and reusing natural resources. Everyone must do their part so all 17 are achieved in the end. Know which one you can impact the most.”

6. Has your MBA journey changed your outlook on what your career will be like after doing an MBA?

“I wanted to broaden my views and opportunities. It turns out this scope is much broader than I anticipated and even considered beforehand. One of those things is to become an entrepreneur. This was a new thought, and I wouldn’t have had the courage to take the step to leave corporate life and start an entrepreneurial endeavour. Through the programme, I’ve learned about Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA), which is to buy and grow an existing business with help from investors. My idea is to open my own fund to buy a company in Brazil.”

7. What advice could you give to people who are considering doing a Global Executive MBA?

“Be certain about what you want. It’s a big decision and a big investment, mostly in time and commitment. Make sure your family is in on the journey. For example, I’m leaving corporate life and will move back to Brazil. They need to be on board with your journey of change. You’ll be changing as a professional and a person too. In the end everyone can gain from it.”