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Felipe Kanegae

Nationality: Brazilian
Age: 31
Last job title: relationship manager at Itaú bank in Brazil
Previous degree: bachelor in industrial engineering at Universidade Federal da Bahia in Brazil

1. Why did you choose to go back to school for an MBA? 

“I took a gap year after quitting my last position. I was doing well but wasn’t happy so I stepped back to figure out what I wanted and who I was outside of work. I wanted to study and learn new things. I wanted to take a break from my career and have an international experience. The MBA is a platform to explore my next career steps. RSM’s one-year programme is relatively short, and feeds into my motivation to be a force for positive change as I aim to do something to improve society.”

2. How is the MBA preparing you to do business in a world in motion?

“Making an impact is all over RSM’s course structure, for example in the course ‘The craft of management’. We look at business in a different perspective than just profits. We talk about sustainability practice in corporate finance. Everything is so much broader than what I was used to. This caught my attention and connected with me. Also, the diversity within the cohort is unique. I’m connecting with people who are far from my reality. Getting to know their reality helps you understand better what is happening around you. It’s eye-opening.”

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

“The Netherlands is a very welcoming place to be, and time seems to be flying by. Coming from a gap year, time management is a challenge and I need to balance everything out: academic studies and networking opportunities. Today we had a talk with someone from KLM, and there are many other guest lectures. It’s an intense but a fun experience. I expected the academic part would be the most enriching but living with international students and in a different country is a great experience too. And I feel more active and energic: I cycle, walk or use public transportation to get around.”

4. In what way has the Personal Leadership Development programme (PLD) affected you?

“My challenge is my next career steps. During my gap year my thoughts about this were unstructured. In PLD we think about habits, how we want to change, what kind of leader we want to be, and where you want to go next. How can I put everything about myself into a career? It’s an introspective journey for me. It’s valuable to have this time during a hectic MBA agenda. The leadership coach as part of the programme is really interesting too. She provoked me in many ways, so it gives space to figure things out.”

5. How have you utilised the alumni network and the career development centre so far?  

“RSM makes it easy to connect with alumni and talk about the MBA and how they landed a job. We have assignments in which we learn how to better approach and connect with alumni, and there are networking events. I also have a mentor through RSM MentorMe, this alumnus was also in traditional banking and now in impact investing so that’s an interesting option. RSM’s career coach is helping me explore what I’m looking for in my career. I had a nice entrepreneurial experience in my gap year, and she’s helping me give that a place and use my creative side in my next steps. I’m exploring options in both finance and tech-related jobs.”

6. What advice could you give to people who are considering doing an MBA?

“The MBA is a very individual decision. It’s a platform and a big investment. You need to understand what you want out of it, and which school matches what you want. I only applied to RSM because that’s what really attracted me and was the right fit because of the strong focus on soft skills, like its mission to be a force for positive change and the personal leadership development track.”

7. What does the future hold for you?

“Great question. I’d like to stay in the Netherlands for a few years at least. Every entrepreneur talks about sustainability and social entrepreneurship here. Not just on a global scale, but also on a community level. This has been eye-opening because I was thinking too big. I’m not sure what kind of career I want to follow but having this mindset and more connection to these thoughts is something that will help me move forward from now on.”