Growing up in Brazil, Marcelo Souza always had a passion for education.
As a teenager, he set his sights on earning an advanced degree from BYU—a goal he accomplished when he graduated with an MBA in 2005. The lessons he learned at BYU Marriott helped him to not only adjust to a new culture but also become a better businessman and reinforced his top priorities of family and religion.
While attending a technical school in his hometown of São Paulo, Souza completed an internship as a salesperson for a manufacturing company. He gained additional sales experience in Brazil by earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Escola Superior de Administração de Negócios in 2001. However, Souza felt he could do even more, so he began exploring the possibility of furthering his training at BYU.
“Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meant I was often exposed to BYU. The university became important in my desires to always be learning and pursuing education,” Souza explains. “I came to the point where I was not going anywhere professionally, and I realized the BYU Marriott MBA program would give me the opportunity to jump-start my career.”
In addition, Souza chose BYU Marriott because he felt he would fit in at the school despite the adjustments he would have to make as an international student. “I knew I would have Church culture to help me cope with American culture,” he says. “Having Church members around me would make the adjustment process easier for me, my wife, and our two young daughters.”
During his time in Provo, Souza took an international business class. His professor focused on helping students understand the need to adapt to different cultures when doing business in new or unfamiliar areas. Souza was able to apply these lessons not only to his ongoing adjustment to the United States but also to his career; as sales director for manufacturing firm Total Valve Systems, he sells products internationally—often to people from cultures unfamiliar to him—as part of the company’s efforts to expand to new markets.
Another skill Souza gained while studying in the MBA program was learning how to find answers to difficult questions. “BYU Marriott taught me to be curious and work hard toward solutions for problems. My classes frequently used case studies where I had to think outside the box,” he explains. “I learned how to analyze situations and find the best approach forward, which still helps me to this day.”
These and other lessons helped Souza reach his goal of revitalizing his career. He was recently promoted to sales director at Total Valve Systems, which is located in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, where Souza and his family currently live. While Souza enjoys his position and successful career, he is most grateful for the more permanent things in life, specifically his faith and his family. “Faith and family are permanent and remain after everything else, like money and career, are gone,” he says. “I emphasize appreciating those two things because if I focus on other, temporary things instead, the permanent things may not be possible anymore when I go back to them.” Because of his focus on the things that matter most to him, he especially appreciates how religion was included in his coursework at BYU Marriott.
Now, more than 15 years after graduation, Souza says his time in the MBA program continues to bless his life immensely. “My MBA did not pay off right away, but after making progress in my career I can say that I have a position I enjoy and am proud of,” he says. “I have seen the results of putting time and effort into my education.”