“Destiny and Purpose” – Thoughts at Orientation Week

This week, we welcomed 370 excited MBA students on campus to begin their first year at IESE. Professor Marc Badia, Director of the MBA program, shared some inspiring advice in his speech. In this post, Lucas Barreto (MBA Class of 2021) responds with his thoughts.

During Professor Marc Badia’s speech to the MBA Class of 2021 at orientation, he offered us three pieces of advice. Of the three, the first one came to me as the most intriguing and profound. In his words:

“Take ownership of your destiny: find your purpose”

While questions like “What is my purpose?”, “What is the meaning of my life?”, and “Who am I?” take us beyond the well-drawn frontiers of business and into the open fields of philosophy, they are essential tools for decision making in life and are the core structures which sustain men amidst all kinds of crisis. In Clayton Christensen’s book, ‘How Will You Measure Your Life’, he describes Harvard Business School students whose morale was driven low by the financial crisis around them. How will we take charge of our destiny and not be torn by the tidal waves that may appear around us in life? I recall a friend who rhetorically asked on one occasion: when a fisherman is alone, on a small boat at sea, in the middle of a storm, what does he hold on to?


There is a classical exploration of the question of “Who am I?” that I am sure many of you know:

  • Q: Who are you?
  • A: My name is Lucas Barreto.
  • Q: No. That’s your name, not who you are. Who are you?
  • A: I’m Brazilian from Rio, I’m a mechanical engineer and an MBA student at IESE.
  • Q: No! That’s where you come from, what your profession is and where you study. I’m asking WHO you are.
  • A: Well then how am I supposed to answer?

I grappled with this question for a long time, before I found the answer which has been ringing in my ears since I first heard it:

I am the values which I TRULY ASPIRE to have.

For example: If I am a man who seeks justice, I aspire to have the value of justice in my choices and actions. Therefore, if I behave in a way which is not just, I am clearly not being myself because I am a person who seeks justice. All it takes is a large dose of sincerity and will power to decide what are the values I really want to ingrain into my life.

The beauty of this is that I am not what I did in the past, or what I have or where I come from. I am the ideal version of myself, the one that I work day and night towards being. The degree to which I am true to myself is what makes me strong and gives me balance to face any storm.

While seeking your purpose and your passion in your career, take a moment to ask yourself what are the values which are dearest to you. The values you would like to have as the compass to your life and the definition of who you are. They will give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment. These are the questions I’ve been holding on to as I stride towards taking ownership of my destiny and using the IESE MBA to become the best I can be.

All the best to Lucas and the Class of 2021, embrace the challenges and enjoy the ride! 

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Lucas Barreto View more

Born in Rio de Janeiro - Brazil but lived in the USA, France, and the UK.
Studied mechanical engineering, and worked in R&D while playing in a samba group. I greatly value spirit of service and personal relations, and want to integrate these values into my post-MBA job as most as possible.

MBA Class of 2021

linkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucas-barreto-470a0428/

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