Matt de Sousa, MA ’14, never expected to be a student at Brandeis International Business School (IBS), much less its student body president.
His path to Brandeis IBS’ door was certainly a winding one. As a kid growing up in New Jersey, raised by immigrant parents – his mother is from Spain, his father from the Azores isles of Portugal – his goal was to work for Disney. He had always dreamed of going to art school, but ended up pursuing his undergraduate career at Seton Hall University, where he studied international relations, economics, and latino studies. Before discovering Brandeis IBS’ Master of Arts in International Economics and Finance (MA) - Lemberg Program, he was determined to get on the PhD track and become an economics or business professor.
But he ultimately decided to jump head first into the world of finance, and make no mistake: de Sousa is incredibly happy with where he ended up.
“It’s a great school; it’s a great program. There are things that happened in the last year that I would never have expected a year or two ago,” he said. “It’s been one big cycle of random events, but in an absolutely great way.”
His enthusiasm for a vast range of interests is not difficult to see. At turns, he describes his love for drawing and for risk management; he can advise you on both international finance and which of Jack Kerouac’s works to read (he recommends "Big Sur"). Nowhere is this passion more clear than when he talks about his plans for the coming year as the Brandeis IBS Student Association's (IBSSA) president.
“I want to get people excited,” he said, explaining the importance he places on creating a sense of community. “There are kids here that have traveled from over 22 hours away. And for me, this is far enough from home that this has become my home. This is everybody’s home now.”
He recently came up to Waltham for the weekend from his internship at J.P. Morgan in New York to see his friends before they departed for the summer to all corners of the world – Liberia, Germany, Israel and Pakistan, to name a few.
“’It’s like, ‘let’s get 200 countries and put them all in one room together,’” he said of Brandeis IBS’ international community (which, for the record, represents "only" about 70 countries). “It’s really interesting, and it works. It works really well.”
As for his own engagement with the community, he spoke highly of the team he was a part of for the Boston Security Analyst Society research competition this past year.
“It was intense,” he said of the experience. “We spent about 23 hours at a time in the Bloomberg lab together.”
As it turned out, it was also the perfect opportunity to combine his love for art with the business world, as he designed the graphics and presentation of their project. “I actually love data presentation,” he said. “I’m kind of a nerd that way. But then again, I could say that about a lot of things.”