- IMD Business School
Alumni Stories · Leadership

MBA Alumnus and Club President in Brazil tells how IMD shaped his career

“IMD turns knowledge into wisdom,” says Barreto
October 2017

In 2014, Diego Barreto studied at IMD and, until that moment, thought of himself as a traditional businessman. However, after completing the institution’s MBA program, he embarked on adopting a new economic model for himself. But, how?

For a school that develops leaders, IMD’s greatest strategy is that it instils self-knowledge – at least that’s how Barreto sees it. He is currently CFO at Ingresso Rápido and president of the IMD Alumni Club, both in Brazil. He’s well aware that, after his experience in Switzerland, everything changed in his career.

“IMD offers an environment that explores, hands-on, anything that is new, aiding students in deciding what to incorporate and how to incorporate it. It’s different than just going to class. IMD turns knowledge into wisdom,” acknowledges Barreto.

IMD also provided him with critical insight into which paths the economy and organizations will end up taking when it comes to business models that will inevitably exist in the future. “We all can develop technical skills. If we are trained, our cognitive abilities will learn whatever is necessary. But not all of us are aware of how we act and of our behavior as managers, which determines if we can lead successfully or not,” he explains.

Barreto believes he chose to renounce the “traditional entrepreneur” model after critically examining his own personal issues: “Today’s economy favors collaboration and innovation. Power is becoming decentralized, and strategies are redefined often. I chose to follow this path even though it’s a risk, even knowing that every new day will be completely different from the last,” he states.

When he understood this, Barreto abandoned the model that, according to him, is doomed and discovered Ingresso Rápido, a company that implements several qualities aligned with today’s economic realities. The organization is diverse, dedicated to innovation, and employs a high number of female professionals in leading roles. Its management is decentralized and initiatives are often shared with company employees.

“We believe that our major incentive is the fact that we take risks, because you cannot survive in the today’s economy without putting yourself at risk. We get a lot of things right, and we make a lot of mistakes. But we make fast mistakes, we learn fast, and we always venture out,” claims Barreto.

At IMD, he was immersed in a similar business approach incorporating risk. During his MBA, he learned a great deal about market trends and worked on analyzing them. He was also exposed to a variety of business and management models.

“In Brazil, most companies follow a traditional economic strategy, and consequently, the market has trouble adapting to new models, opening its mind, and embracing the up-and-coming generation.”

For this to happen, Barreto believes that entrepreneurs should raise their own awareness levels and realize that the greatest investment they can make is in their professional staff and in the way they lead them. At Alumni Club Brazil, and along with other IMD alumni, he believes he can harness knowledge to invest in entrepreneurship, networking, and the adoption of new trends in Brazil.

For companies to succeed in today’s economic landscape, Barreto reaffirms the needs to focus on talent, curb turnover, and invest in staff. “This generation is driven by engagement. They are not as chained down as the previous generation and therefore are not as committed and do not get themselves stuck in companies. We can benefit from this in a positive way by developing new management models and fresh thinking to make companies interesting for them,” he adds.

According to Barreto today’s generation of leaders at companies like Google, AirBNB, and iFood, are paving the way and showing what it takes to be successful in an ever-changing landscape. For him what defines these leaders is their professional qualities, attitudes, and innovative management models, not their age.
Diego Barreto is CFO at Ingresso Rápido, Professor of Strategy, Economics and Leadership at Casa do Saber, President at Alumni Club Brazil, Mentor at Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator, Mentor at Brasa – Brazil Student Association, and Counselor at the Brazilian Institute of Investor Relations.