Imprimir Republish


Watershed moment

Executive decides to leave big business behind in order to teach

Eduardo CesarEsteban Ferrari, 43, considers himself professionally and personally fulfilled as a teacher. He began his career by studying mechatronics engineering at the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo (Poli/USP). He then worked for two large multinationals and now teaches graduate classes at places like USP’s Institute of Administration Foundation (FIA) and the Álvares Penteado Business School Foundation (Fecap), in the city of São Paulo, in addition to working as an executive coach and career coach. “The only time I worked as an engineer was during a one-year internship in the technical sector of the company Cofap – long enough to know that that wasn’t what I wanted to do.” He then worked six years at Allison Transmission, a division of GM in Brazil that makes automatic transmissions for buses and trucks. For the first three years he was an after-sales technical trainer for automotive distributors and dealers; for the second three, he coordinated after-sales services. “It was a very operational area and I wanted to work with strategy and planning.” In 1999, he decided to take a graduate course in business administration at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV).

He next went to work at Telefônica as a senior marketing analyst. During his ten years there, he held the posts of manager and superintendent of marketing. Everything was going very well in his career but the long working hours demanded of an executive kept him from spending time with his two children. “That’s when I started asking myself if I really wanted to continue working in the business sector,” he says. He was particularly drawn to one of his ideas about making a change – to take up teaching – because he enjoyed topics in the field of personnel and behavior management, which were classes that had taken at the FGV and during his graduate-level business studies at the Dom Cabral Foundation in 2002. “It was a path I thought I might pursue, but the change would require courage, and I was comfortably settled in.”

During his vacation in May 2009, he decided to trek one of the Santiago de Compostela routes in Spain. “It was a milestone in my life, a watershed moment between before and after,” he observes. Temporarily leaving his wife, children, and the entire lifestyle to which he’d grown accustomed in São Paulo, he spent 30 days covering 800 kilometers of a path that, according to him, has nothing to do with mysticism. “It’s a pathway to self-reflection, where I had the opportunity to get to know myself better,” he says. Upon his return, he announced his decision to quit the firm where he then worked. In February 2010, he started his master’s degree at the USP School of Economics, Business Administration, and Accounting; his research topic was career transitions. “I studied the phenomenon at the same time that I analyzed myself,” he says. Ferrari has a favorite thought that he always shares with his students: “The answer to what we want to do in the future almost always has something to do with what we’ve done in the past and found highly enjoyable.”