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Profiles of Individual Alumnus

Fast-tracking Around the Globe
Rodrigo Daleffe’s MSGF broadened his knowledge base

Rodrigo Daleffe, the executive director of trade finance and correspondent banking at Banco Santander, in Mexico, was a good enough tennis player as a junior to play on the tournament circuit. "I like competition," he says. That spirit continues to drive him as he climbs the professional ladder.

Rodrigo, 34, was born in the southern Brazilian state of Paraná, in the town of Campo Mourão, and raised after age 16 in São Paulo. "My mom has Italian background, but I am 100 percent Brazilian," he says. He spent some time in high school on an exchange program in Minneapolis, Minn., where he learned to appreciate a good down jacket.

Back in warmer climes for college, Rodrigo graduated from the University of São Paolo and started his career as an intern at Citibank, in international cash management. A year later he joined Banco Santander, which propelled him through five countries over the next decade, a fast-track tour of different departments and responsibilities. Beginning in Brazil, he next got his passport stamped in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Hong Kong, and Mexico again. He barely had time to work his way up the tennis ladder in each venue’s local racquet club before it was time to move on. In Puerto Rico between 2004 and 2006, however, he managed to meet his future wife, Nanette.

During his three years in Hong Kong, Rodrigo entered the Master of Science in Global Finance (MSGF) program jointly organized by NYU Stern and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. "My undergraduate degree is in general business, and I wanted a more specific finance degree," he says. "I liked the fact that the other students in my cohort were all experienced professionals and that the faculty was well-known and knew what they were talking about."

Rodrigo highlights the module on applied corporate finance and valuation as the one he most preferred, because it was more related to his professional experience at that time. "I felt I could apply the knowledge immediately to my day-to-day work environment," he says.

Valuation, along with real estate and investment concepts, was a central part of the integrative project he and five classmates created, called "Investing in HK Car Parks - More bang for your buck: A myth or a fact?" The integrative project required close collaboration with colleagues with different backgrounds and professional experiences, Rodrigo recounts. The experience, he adds, "was the opportunity to apply in real life what we learned during the course. And apart from that and not less important, my teammates and I became very good friends."

Overall, Rodrigo says, the most valuable aspect of the MSGF program was "the knowledge itself," apart from the other students and the brand value of the degree. The program broadened his knowledge of the field, he asserts. "Combined with my own experience as a more commercially oriented banker, I can say I can discuss anything related to finance now."

Moreover, the experience of going through the MSGF program literally "changed my way of thinking," Rodrigo adds. "It helps every day – I am able to be much more elaborate when structuring a deal, and more confident."