Tell me a bit about yourself.
My name is Julio Caggiano and I am from Brazil. I am a Brand Ambassador at the Brazilian Joint Office of UNESCO's Sustainability Chair (UNESCO-SOST) and I am passionate about telling visual stories for disruptive brands. Thankfully, I have had the chance to work on several projects in the marketing world, including publications in the New York Times Square, Deezer, and Louis Vuitton.
How and when did you discover Minerva?
When I was a full-ride scholarship recipient in an educational program that guides Brazilians to study abroad, my advisor told me I could be a great fit at Minerva. She could not be further from the truth. We were in the middle of the pandemic at the time, so the online learning techniques did not push my interest away, as I knew that my academic performance relied solely on my dedication. It was now just a matter of doing my best to get in and continue to pursue excellence.
What made you apply to Minerva?
What led me to apply was the possibility of building an international career with the logistical support of a prestigious university. Coming from the business and humanitarian world, I knew how special the opportunity I could take from Minerva's civic projects was to build case studies with leading brands around the globe. My main goal after college was growing a network of experiences going from startups in Silicon Valley to well-known companies established in Europe—and Minerva can specifically provide me that with the seven cities approach.
What was your favorite accomplishment that you submitted in your Minerva application?
Without a doubt, my favorite accomplishment was about the time I got the chance to fundraise almost 1 million dollars ($787,535.00) to aid 33,978 people in extreme poverty in my country when I worked as the marketing responsible for the NGO "SP INVISÍVEL." Hunger has always been a personal subject to me, as I grew up in São Paulo's ghettos hearing the stories of when my mother could barely have dinner. I am happy to take a stand in changing this reality for future generations of my home nation.
What excites you the most about attending Minerva?
I am keenly excited to explore the cultural variety of the program. Part of why Minerva grabbed my attention comes from the global immersion beyond a simple "1-year exchange program," and I cannot wait to explore how society works in completely different environments.
What major are you most interested in, and how will that contribute to your future career?
Although I was initially seeking a Social Sciences path, today I am more interested in Minerva's business degree, especially the "Brand Management" concentration. Mastering the techniques on how to become a General Manager will profoundly aid me as I intend to seek leadership positions in multinational corporations to construct modern, disruptive, purpose-driven brands.
Is there any city within the global rotation that you are most excited to explore? Why?
London! Beyond the cultural similarities between London and São Paulo (I learned to love a rainy technological metropolis), I am thrilled to pursue opportunities to work for local brands like Unilever and HSBC. There is a personal appeal too. As part of being a classic portrait of a Brazilian raised in an underprivileged neighborhood, I became passionate about soccer - and I am super excited to visit every possible premier league game on weekends!
What has been your reaction to the letter of admission?
I must say a mixture of fulfillment and inquietude. Most of my educational journey relied on different scholarships I held since high school. I was aware of how challenging it can be to seek an international undergraduate experience as a low-income student. Then, I get accepted to a global university hosted near Silicon Valley, supported by billionaires like the CEO of Netflix, with an incredible scholarship. It is completely surreal for someone who had to sell his school meals for a whole year to buy a toy at Christmas.
The moment that struck me the most since the admission letter was when I won one of the hardest fellowship awards, Líder Estudar in Brazil, funded by the country's most renowned billionaires. In the last interview, there were people recently admitted from Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, MIT, and other top 10 prestigious institutions fighting for scholarships. But people looked curiously at my story—as if I received the chance to represent the future of education from a new perspective. In other words, a boy crazy enough to seek an untraditional path toward success. I love to think of my future like that.
What kind of person do you think should apply to Minerva?
The unwavering youth who dare to be different. Our world seems to evolve at a hard pace to follow, so people must know that Minerva will not prepare them to wait for opportunities, but to make them. If this resonates with your thinking, then Minerva might be the right place for you to apply.
Can you share a piece of advice for future applicants?
Directing my message to those international students unfamiliar or scared of the application journey in the US—I advise being eight months in advance before each deadline. Then, you will learn to enjoy the application project, despite how stressful it can be for most people.
This is key for better results, as there is an increasing need to organize your life story into a compelling format for admission officers. Over-planning will not lead you to success. So take your time to develop it. Trust the process, be organic, and tell your story—we would love to hear it.
If you were inspired by Julio's story and are seeking a college experience that will teach you valuable pragmatic skills that will enable you to change the world, consider applying to Minerva.