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What’s it like for Latin American students pursuing MBAs in the USA?

Prodigy Finance - April 18, 2017

What’s it like for Latin American students
pursuing MBAs in the USA


Imagine flying thousands of miles away to attend graduate school on a continent you’ve never visited.

What questions or concerns might you have?

Students who borrow with Prodigy Finance experience this challenge every year. As part of our community initiatives, we invited three current MBA students from Latin America to share their experience with aspiring MBA students.

Getting to know our panelists

In a one-hour webinar, our panel – Thais “Cat” Ramme, Leonardo Ottoni, and Juan Carlos Arroyo – discussed topics ranging from how to choose the best MBA program for you, the advantages of a Latin American perspective in the classroom, to the pros and cons of having your spouse join your MBA experience.

Thais (aka "Cat") Ramme is a 2018 MBA student at Cornell Johnson with a concentration in Strategic Operations. At Johnson, she is a member of several professional and diversity clubs and is VP of Community on the board of the Latin America Business Association. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and prior to Johnson worked in Brazil with insurance and finance. Her favorite TV show is "Friends" and in her free time she likes to travel (she has visited 15 countries over the last 10 years).

Leonardo Ottoni is a 2nd year MBA student at UNC Kenan-Flagler, concentrating in management consulting. From his home in Rio de Janeiro, he was lucky enough to watch the 2016 Olympic Games. Active on campus, he serves as Corporate Relationship VP for the Latin American Business Association. After his graduation, he will join the DHL Consulting in Miami.

Juan Carlos Arroyo is finishing his second year at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business. From Lima, Juan Carlos is big fan and player of fütbol. On the CMU campus, Juan Carlos is very active with the Latin American community and has served leadership roles with the Tepper Soccer Club.

New journeys, shared experiences

Their stories and goals are exceptionally diverse, but they’re experiencing similar journeys while pursuing their US MBA degrees. In addition to taking Prodigy Finance loans, all three have share advice about reaching out to resources.

Leo stresses the importance of reaching out to existing students and alumni before leaving home – whether it’s a matter of school choice or to get an idea of a realistic budget. “They like answering your questions and telling you about their experiences.” And, don’t stop when you get to campus; ask second-year students when you need, they’re an incredible resource.

As networking is part and parcel of the MBA experience, you’ll find many people to chat with. Cat believes it’s key to reach out during the first month when everyone has a little more time and wants to make friends.

While he definitely appreciates his Latin American connections, Juan Carlos says it’s vital to meet as many different people as possible. It brings something to the classroom where it’s possible to explain case studies from a new perspective – and it transforms the MBA education into the amazing investment it truly is.

If you can, arrive on campus early – after doing plenty of research. The time to settle is critical; As Leo knows, “when it starts, it starts – and it goes fast.”

Above all, all three believe it’s important to keep an open mind and allow yourself to transform – not everything is as simple and straightforward as securing a Prodigy Finance loan.

Graduate school is an amazing experience, and we want you to be ready for the journey. If you have questions about Prodigy Finance loans, all you need to do is reach out. And, if you’d like to know when we’re hosting future Prodigy Live events and providing students from your region a chance to ask questions, check out our upcoming events


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