Fabio Santana






Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals



By Fabio Santana

What in the world am I doing here?

Ok, so I must admit that the title of this blog is mostly click-bait. Having never done any sort of blogging before, I thought I would follow the seemingly standard way for news organizations to get page views nowadays.

Although I chose the slightly sensationalistic title, there is a bit of realism to that self-reflective question. Just a few months ago, I was sitting in my apartment in Rio and “telecommuting” to Boston as an IT project manager for Boston Children’s Hospital. I had a good paying job and an office with an amazing view of the white, sandy beaches of the capital city of samba. I was only a few hours away from my family and happily married to a beautiful, successful, driven (albeit jealous) Brazilian wife. Given all the awful, disturbing things constantly happening around the world, I believe I had a pretty decent existence in this rock flying through space.

An alternate view of the Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio (Oct 2013)

An alternate view of the Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio (Oct 2013)

So why give up a great job, move almost 10,000 kilometres away from my family, and pay upwards of USD$70,000 to spend a year of my life in a place with much crappier weather? For me, the answer is simple: life experience.

Like everybody else, I want to learn about business, advance my career, expand my network, and perhaps make more money in the process. But in the end of the day, the top reason for me to pursue an MBA at Oxford is to accumulate stories. If like me, you subscribe to the YOLO mind-set, life is about being happy and doing things that interest you. Simply having a good job is not enough and I consider learning to be one of the main reasons for our existence. Without getting too deep, I just want to have some great stories to tell my grandkids.

Of course, there’s a bit more to the story of why I am here. As most of my classmates have done at some point in their lives, I moved away from my homeland of Brazil when I was 18. In the college-friendly American town of Boston, Massachusetts I obtained bachelors and masters degrees in the IT field and progressed nicely through jobs in the higher education, high tech, and healthcare industries.  As a bonus, while living in Boston I met the lovely Patricia and after chasing her across hemispheres (see image below) we eventually got married both in the USA (for the government) and in Brazil (for the family).

Wedding invitation highlighting our global trek (Jul 2013)

Wedding invitation highlighting our global trek (Jul 2013)

Luckily, Patricia is not just a pretty face and was chosen to join the Esprit program at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) after graduating from the MBA program at Hult (Boston) in 2012. GSK’s leadership program involves a three year international rotation starting at your home country, which explains why we were living in Rio last year and are now living in London (more on my commute in a future blog).

Patricia and I in Dubrovnik, Croatia (Sep 2014)

Patricia and I in Dubrovnik, Croatia (Sep 2014)

So why am I here again? I guess I can say that I am here to support my wife and to enhance my life. And at the end of the day (or more accurately, the year), being able to say I’m an Oxford MBA isn’t too shabby either.

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