Carolina Leite

Carolina Leite

Carolina Leite

Nationality: Portuguese
Programme: Full-time MBA, 2017
Pre-MBA: CSR Director and Business Unit Manager, Grupo CH, Coimbra, Portugal
Post-MBA: Senior CSR Associate, Moody’s Shared Services, London, UK
Current industry: Finance

Before I joined the Cass Full-time MBA, I was working in Portugal as an internal Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) director, while also being the head of a new business unit. I felt that I had progressed as far as I could with the consultancy firm that I was working for.

I chose the Cass programme because of its reputation as a top MBA in London. I was attracted by the fact that Cass is located in the heart of the City of London, by the prospect of engaging with high-profile speakers and faculty, and by the possibility of taking international electives in areas such as sustainability and digital innovation.

The fact that the MBA cohort is small, compared to other MBAs in London, was a plus for me because it allowed me to develop strong relationships with my classmates and broaden my professional network. I also engaged with the wider Cass community while participating in initiatives such as the CityStarters Weekend.

Returning to an academic environment after seven years of professional experience is a challenge. I have never stopped learning while working, but stopping to study really speeded up the process of acquiring knowledge and developing my skills. At Cass, the rhythm is intense, which prepared us to achieve the demanding goals we set for ourselves during the programme and following graduation.

For the Strategy Project, my team worked with Fuller’s Brewery on their international expansion. This was an interesting exercise and an opportunity to apply some recently acquired strategy frameworks. In our team, each member had a different skill set, which led to constructive discussions with various points of view, resulting in well-balanced conclusions.

The International Consultancy week took place in Iceland, with my team providing consultancy to Artasan, a leading pharmaceutical company. We undertook a risk analysis and strategic plan dealing with the pros and cons of entering Iceland’s e-cigarette market and I’m sure our input influenced Artasan’s decision to enter the market. The experience enhanced my development, as the project involved ethical considerations that caused the team to reflect and discuss issues based on the data we gathered, while also managing our personal convictions.

I chose two international electives, one on sustainability in Cuba, which broadened my knowledge of CSR, and another on digital innovation in San Francisco, which allowed me to explore a fascinating new industry. The opportunity to widen my knowledge while being exposed to cultural differences was a personal highlight.

By introducing fresh perspectives and challenging me to apply my knowledge and skills in different contexts, the Cass MBA reinforced my view that the realities of a rapidly changing world should be translated into new ways of conducting business. I believe that success involves more than generating economic profit and that companies need to plan how to better serve the society and environment in which they operate, and upon which they have a deep impact.

I am now a Senior CSR Associate for the EMEA and APAC regions at Moody’s Shared Services. The MBA exposed me to different cultures and backgrounds, and prepared me not only to integrate into a global company, but also to better understand the uniqueness of each country with which I now work.

My Cass experience gave me the confidence to aim higher and to play a more dynamic role in promoting change. The MBA year was definitely the fastest year of my life; I grew a lot, both professionally and personally.