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Utilizing the MBA to grow as an inclusive entrepreneurial leader

By Lucas Ferro, MBA Class of 2025
Monday, April 8, 2024
Lucas Rodrigues Ferro headshot

Lucas Ferro, MBA ’25

What drives a person to venture into entrepreneurship? Is it the desire to solve problems? Professional independence? Belief that they can do better? For me, it was simply an opportunity that knocked on my door. During the past five years, I’ve had the chance to start two businesses in different countries: a real estate management company in Brazil and a flooring showroom in the United States. These experiences eventually led me to MSU.

The real estate venture in Brazil was founded in 2020. During that challenging year, I found myself stuck in the country due to the COVID lockdown. I used that time to structure the business’ operations before I returned to the United States. During the following two years, I supported the real estate agency’s growth remotely while also working as a construction manager in Louisiana. It was then that I was invited to delve into a new adventure: my construction management boss invited me to participate in expanding his business, specifically a showroom. On the surface, it may appear that these two types of businesses don’t have much in common, but two things they do have in common are that the challenges never cease and the people involved are passionate.

Small-business owners usually lack access to abundant resources. My journey was no different — I agreed to embark on it without much knowledge of administration. I simply knew that I was hardworking and flexible and enjoyed being out of my comfort zone. An entrepreneur must have the will to succeed because challenges are numerous, and most of the time, you don’t have straightforward answers. So, the only way is to learn as you go.

“So, if you ask me what inspired me to pursue an MBA, it was the people I met throughout my journey. It’s about creating an environment where people can develop both personally and professionally.”

As the real estate agency grew, so did the team. Running a service-oriented business generally involves a larger team than a business focused on physical products. With each new team member, the responsibility increased. It wasn’t just a commitment to employees but also to their families. The pressure to ensure the business’ success, not just for the sake of that employee but for their children and family, became immense. It’s a tremendous responsibility — creating a good working environment for someone who was unemployed before and is now one of the most determined individuals in their financial sector. Someone with extreme dedication who, after hearing their story, you realize never had the opportunity for education and training but possesses a will to succeed in life, aspiring for the best for their family.

However, a concern lingered. I wasn’t able to make the business grow enough to value this team that had placed so much trust in me. How could I avoid disappointing them? How could I contribute to all the effort, dedication and commitment that this team had shown to my company? With these questions in my mind and a certain pressure, I decided to seek knowledge on how to make a company obtain resources, grow and create an inclusive environment.

So, if you ask me what inspired me to pursue an MBA, it was the people I met throughout my journey. It’s about creating an environment where people can develop both personally and professionally. Always fostering a mindset to learn and grow from all situations, no matter the outcome, just like in the MBA.

Today, I can say that the program is structured for us to succeed. We learn how to tackle obstacles as a team. We learn how to lead and mold an environment where equity, inclusion and diversity are fostered, hence increasing the chances of success.

I am grateful for all the experiences and friends that this journey at MSU has brought into my life. I often say I am blessed to have the opportunity to be here, and I am certain there’s no other place I’d rather be.

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