Ruy Lopes, MBA ’04, has taken the best parts of his School of Management education and his years as a professional athlete and turned them into business success.
He played professional soccer while attending college in his native Brazil, earning a degree in civil engineering even as he faced the competitive challenges inherent in playing for the country’s second-division team.
The importance of teamwork, both on the field and in his classes, along with a strong academic foundation have helped Lopes in his new career as an entrepreneur.
His drive and commitment impressed the managers at the Brazilian division of ThyssenKrupp Elevadores, an industrial conglomerate with 200,000 employees worldwide, who hired him as a human relations manager and later agreed to sponsor his MBA studies at the School of Management.
After completing his MBA, he returned to ThyssenKrupp, where he managed strategic planning and marketing. He later assumed responsibility for its larger business unit for five years.
Lopes says that much of what he learned in the MBA program is the key to his latest accomplishments—running two successful companies with his brother, Gustavo.
“Two years ago, my brother invited me on two big adventures,” he says. “First, I joined him at G11 Engenharia, a successful construction company.” G11 Engenharia specializes in apartment, condominium and leisure housing construction and has completed several projects in and around Porto Alegre, Brazil’s capital.
“Second, we designed, planned and patented a new business solution named OBOX,” he says. “The concept is a portable store that can be installed anywhere with a flat surface and electricity.”
Designed in dimensions that allow for easy transportation, similar to a shipping container, OBOX can be customized for many different uses, such as a showroom, shop, pub or newsstand. Its flexible layout allows for the installation of shelves, doors and windows.
OBOX has won raves, including a 2012 bronze medal in the International Design Excellence Awards in the environments category.
Lopes cites the entrepreneurship classes taught by former School of Management Professor John Hannon as a key to his success. “His classes were fantastic and he gave very practical entrepreneurship lessons,” he says.
“Eight years after I graduated I can affirm that the UB MBA is a great program,” Lopes says.
In addition to his entrepreneurship classes, he acknowledges the important knowledge he gained in finance, economics, consumer behavior and marketing.
At his two companies, Lopes says the best part of his job is helping his people to do their best by making them feel confident about their talent and development. “You can achieve extraordinary results by keeping good relationships with your team members, suppliers and clients,” he says.
Lopes continues to play soccer in amateur leagues and still loves the teamwork and strategy involved in fielding a winning team. He also enjoys spending time with his wife, Fernanda, and their “wonderful baby” Florença.
Written by Cathy Wilde