Full-Time MBA Student Profile Meet Laura Gontijo de Vasconcellos, ’18
Industry access and community at Chicago Booth have prepared Laura Gontijo de Vasconcellos to successfully make a career switch.
Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Education: Universite de Strasbourg
Before Booth: Investment Banking, Banco Bradesco, S.A.
2017 Internship: Equity International, Chicago
Laura Gontijo de Vasconcellos: 00:04
My name is Laura. I’m from Brazil. Prior to Booth, I was doing investment banking and I was on the leveraged finance team. I decided that maybe it would be a good idea to join the other side of the table. At Booth, I felt that it would be a great school to make the transition from investment banking to private equity. One of the biggest challenges for people that want to get into private equity is not having the prior private equity experience, and at Booth, we have the opportunity to join the Private Equity Lab program, which is one of the courses that you have one part-time internship. So I applied to Equity International. I did my part-time internship there for 10 weeks, and I got an offer to join them again for the summer. I had access to weekly meetings where investment professionals discuss the opportunities they're seeking.
Laura Gontijo de Vasconcellos: 00:55
This is very valuable, out-of-class knowledge. That’s very important for career switchers because that's your first experience in the industry, and that’s when you, your doors are open. The access that I had to Booth alumni was unmeasurable. I talked to principal of private equity funds in Brazil, and they all explained a little bit about how Booth helped them to be where they are now. I got in touch with one partner of one of the biggest Brazilian private equity firms. I had coffee with him and he was very open, and that’s just because I'm a Booth student. I don’t think I could get that any other way.
Coming from Brazil, Laura wanted to make the switch from investment banking to private equity. She knew that Booth would give her the resources needed to make the transition.
Just as she hoped, more than anything else, the one-on-one time with professors and alumni have set Laura up for success in PE. During her first year, the hands-on classroom experiences also introduced Laura to an incredible internship opportunity at a top private equity firm. Having that type of access to your future industry is immeasurable, says Laura, who credits the strong Booth network.
One important part of business school are the extra curricular options. At Booth, you have the opportunity to participate in whatever you might like and everything is student-driven. I’ve been involved with the women’s soccer team here. When I first came, the soccer club only had a men’s team. I got together with a couple of friends, and now we have more than twenty girls on the team. We are playing in the Youth Chicago League.
Life in Chicago
Chicago is a big city but has the feeling of a smaller city because people are very warm. When you walk around, they smile at you. I really like that Midwestern culture. I also love the fact that we live in the Loop right next to everything. We walk around and restaurants, bars, the lake, and the beautiful skyline of Chicago are right there. It’s amazing.