September 30, 2020

Florida MBA Programs

International Attraction: Florida's MBA programs have worldwide appeal

MBA degree programs at Florida schools attract students from all over the world who like the diversity at the schools and opportunities to interact with local businesspeople.

Carlton Proctor | 2/27/2017


Sergio Butuem
Nova Southeastern University

Sweet Success

Sergio Butuem entered Nova Southeastern University’s MBA program not only as a student but also as a business success story.

In 1987, Butuem, then just 17, joined a friend who started a small chocolate company in Brazil.

Over 30 years, Cacau Show grew to 2,000 stores and became one of the largest chocolate store chains in the world.

Now 47, Butuem, who is also a mechanical engineer and tax attorney, decided to take his business skills to the U.S. He also wanted to learn about U. S. markets and explore business opportunities.

“After 25 years, I just felt it was time to make a change in my life,” says Butuem. “There are a lot of security problems in Brazil, and it’s not so safe for kids. So I talked to my business partner, and we decided I would sell my share of the business and leave Brazil.”

Moving first to Fort Lauderdale in 2014, then later to Plantation, Butuem entered Nova’s H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business & Entrepreneurship, focusing on entrepreneurship. He will graduate this spring.

“When I began to look for an MBA program, I wanted one that would fit my intentions and the way I thought about business and entrepreneurship,” says Butuem. “What I really liked about Nova was that we are in classes with people who had successful businesses. And we have amazing professors with experience in the real world. In Brazil, the MBA professors were strictly academics.”

Butuem plans to pursue a doctorate and an academic career but has his eye on business opportunities in south Florida.

“My intention when I moved to the United States was to advance my academic career,” says Butuem. “But also, if a business opportunity arises in south Florida, I want to pursue it. It’s important to me to have a successful business here.”



Pablo Villagomez
University of Miami

‘Enjoy the Journey’

Pablo Villagomez is a second-year MBA student concentrating on computer information systems, management science and finance.

A native of Mexico City, Villagomez, 27, came to the U. S. with a degree in marketing and says he chose UM because of the international makeup of its students, the caliber of its professors and small classes.

“My MBA class is incredibly diverse,” says Villagomez. “I love to listen and try to understand the different perspectives to a challenge or a problem from people with different backgrounds and skills than mine.”

Scheduled to graduate this spring, Villagomez says the highlight of his MBA studies so far was a summer internship at Boston Scientific in Weston.

“I was assigned to be the team leader of a project whose goal was to increase demand of products in international markets,” he says. “I gained invaluable experience that helped me later with my full-time job search.”

He was recently offered a full-time job at Microsoft and plans to start his career there, he says.

UM News

» They’ve earned millions of dollars in their 20s as professional athletes. Now they have the knowledge and skills they need to continue their professional and personal success. More than 30 current and former NFL players graduated July 1 from the inaugural Executive MBA for Artists and Athletes program. Some are already applying their skills in ventures from restaurants to real estate and non-profit organizations. Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap enrolled “to prepare for life after football” — to learn how to run a business, network, build a team and choose where to invest. He now plans to start buying residential properties.“There were a lot of long nights and early mornings because I had to work out before I came to school,” says the 27-year-old. Knowing that many athletes struggle and even go bankrupt after retirement made the effort “well worth it,” he says.

Tags: Education

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