Thiago Ortiz - Product Enthusiast, Magic Cube Geek & Avid Runner
Tell us about yourself 😄
Where are you from?
São Paulo, Brasil
What is your role in TMC this year?
Senior Vice President, Product (Community)
What's a fun fact about yourself?
I love the magic cube. I have 5 different cubes and plan to buy many more. Once I won a prize in a tech conference in the Silicon Valley after the speaker challenged someone in the audience to complete the cube in less than one minute. I raised my hand, went to the stage, and completed it in exactly 58 seconds!
Pre-MBA Life 🤓
What is your story leading up to the MBA?
Even though I graduated in Marketing, I have never worked in the area. While still in the university, I was approved for a fast track trainee program in the biggest bank in Brasil, and after rotating trough the retail bank areas, I ended up managing the bank’s mobile app. There I’ve started my product journey, managing almost every digital product the bank offered: from checking account to personal loans. In the last three years, I specialised in payments, managing credit card portfolios and creating a new free P2P digital wallet aiming to promote financial inclusion of unprivileged people in Brazil.
Why did you decide to do an MBA?
The MBA was a dream to me since I left the university, and since I was approved for my previous company’s sponsorship program, for me, that was the perfect opportunity to experience life changing experiences with unique people for two years and still have an upgrade in my career.
Why did you choose to come to LBS for your MBA?
Definitely because of the people. The diversity, open mindset, and collaboration you find in LBS are singular.
Why are you interested in technology / what about technology are you most interested in?
I see technology as the most efficient way to bring scalable transformations to our society. One can meaningful products locally, just as one can create purely commercial ventures in scale. However, when you join meaningful purposes with the scalability that only tech products can achieve, it becomes possible to deeply change society for the best. That became clear and meaningful to me when I was launching a new digital wallet for financial inclusion in Brazil, and from then on, I want to be a part of a scalable business that brings a meaningful change to society through technology. For now, must of my knowledge is from Fintech, but I want to explore more about HealthTech, urban mobility, and Edutech.
LBS Experience 😎
Describe your LBS MBA experience in 3 words
Amusing since I’ve attended amazing social events and trips which would only happen during these 2 years of your life.
Emancipating since I discovered that the world is culturally and professionally much larger than you thought before. My will explore and learn grew exponentially.
Self-discovering since I’ve challenged myself to explore so many different things that I wouldn’t even think about in my routine previous to the MBA, such as exploring different industry or running a Marathon.
What has been your most memorable experience from the LBS MBA so far?
Finishing my first marathon in the arms of a “human finish-line” made of MBA friends that organised the race for us since there were no official races due to COVID. They helped us training, organised the itinerary and were there providing water and cheering for us every 10k along our London route. By the end, there were 30+ friends waiting for us in the finish line in Regents Park!
What was the most challenging part of pursuing your MBA during a global pandemic?
Travelling was the worst part for me. I handled the restrictions relatively well by practicing sports and socialising more closely with my various 6-people groups. The trips, however, were much harder to plan and enjoy than in normal times.
What are your summer 2021 plans?
I’ve interned at Amazon during the summer, helping Amazon Business transform the Public Sector’s procurement experience. Dealing with the public sector was a huge challenge, but also a big learning opportunity. It took me way outside of my comfort zone. I’ve learned about how do essential institutions in our lives, such as NHS, buy their supplies, and helped impact their business though a totally new procurement experience - for a public company. With Amazon Business’ marketplace, they have access to a competitive marketplace instead of the traditional tender experience.
Plans Going Forward 🚀
What are your post-MBA goals/plans (in terms of career, life/living etc.)?
I’m still not sure, to be honest. That’s the beauty about the MBA, I guess. There are so many doors opened that I will need to think about it during my second year. The only thing I know is that I want to work as a product manager in a impactful company. Let’s see where LBS takes me.
What do you hope to achieve through TMC specifically this year?
I truly want to root the product management mindset within LBS’s community. For me, product management is one of most interesting and challenging roles within a company, with the power of changing the traditional way of creating value to customers. It really aims to put the clients’ long term interests above the short-term goals. Not to mention that it enhances the collaborative culture within teams, making every employees’ days more meaningful and fun.
Finally, what, if any, advice do you have for incoming LBS students?
Come to your MBA with all the curiosity you can find within you. Try to be less strict with the short and long-term career goals you wrote in your essays. Explore different electives, attend events not related to your previous industry, and grab a beer with people you have never talked to. You will end up getting to know yourself much better, and you will love what you will find!