Thomaz Galvao
Home Region

São Paulo, Brazil

Undergrad Education

Universidade de São Paulo

Previous Experience

Ensina Brasil, McKinsey, PayPal

HBS Activities

Soccer Club Leadership, Education Club, Latin America Club

“In the diversity of the class you will find daily what resonates with others and what doesn’t.”

Thomaz Galvao was born and raised in São Paulo, an Afro-Brazilian in a country where half the population is African-descendant, yet remains underrepresented in education, the economy, and politics.

“My grandfather and father overcame so many challenges,” Thomaz says. “Education was largely responsible for their social mobility. Through education, I’ve been able to reach a status usually denied to Black people. I want to push the boundaries even further, to continue the path of achieving new highs where people like me are not usually seen, to help others rise to a higher quality of life.”

Putting his ideals into action, Thomaz became the co-founder, in 2016, of the McKinsey Black Network in Brazil, an organization that grew from two consultants to sixteen in the two years he worked with the firm. After working at McKinsey, and motivated to “give back so many privileges I had received,” Thomaz joined Teach for Brazil (Ensina Brasil) where he was responsible for managing alumni and partnership strategies.

Starting his startup now

With a scholarship from the Lemann Foundation, Thomaz was able to pursue an MBA. He choose HBS, partly because “it represents a pinnacle of success for many Brazilians that would reflect well on me as an effective professional,” but mostly for its resources “ HBS resources and excellence would empower me with the hard and soft skills I will need to succeed.”

Inside the classroom, Thomaz “learns through others’ experiences and perspectives, enriched by voices from forty-three different cultures. I have to understand daily where their opinions and concerns are coming from. Daily, you find what resonates and what doesn’t resonate with others.”

Outside the classroom, Thomaz collaborates with four other HBS RC students, all from Brazil, on a new venture they are incubating in the i-lab. “Our country has one of the highest unemployment rates in the Americas,” Thomaz explains. “There are significant gaps between supply and demand for job occupations: companies can’t find people with sufficient tech skills, and job seekers struggle to find work. We want to close this gap by creating an online marketplace to match employers with employees we will train in technology and soft skills.” In order to get there, Thomaz says, “We want to build our brand so that our students are seen as trustworthy.”

This spring, Thomaz and his collaborators will participate in the New Ventures Competition; in the summer, they’ll go back to Brazil to further develop their plans. “We’re working with a company who may fund us and help us test the model.”

“We’re passionate about developing something scalable. We’ll test the model online to reach areas that lack public and private resources. Ultimately, our training model may be online, in-person, or a hybrid of the two. We hope to understand how to customize the idea for own country.”

If the testing is successful, Thomaz would like to pursue the venture (currently unnamed) after graduation. But right now, HBS is the perfect place to experiment. “We have a safe environment to do something different,” says Thomaz, “so why not?”