2019 Best & Brightest: Lucas Bagno, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

Lucas Bagno

University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management

Driven to make an impact in the world – without cancelling my World of Warcraft subscription.”

Fun fact about yourself: I was born and raised in Brazil by an Italian family. We moved to New York shortly after I came to college in Minnesota, and I will be living in San Francisco after graduation.

Hometown: Syosset, New York

High School: Marista Dom Silverio (Belo Horizonte, Brazil)

Major: Management Information Systems, Entrepreneurial Management and Finance

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: FINA 6322 – Financial Modeling with Tim Nantell and IDSC 4491 – Pitching Technology Strategy with Corrie Fiedler and Ken Reily

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Leadership Roles:

  • Atland Ventures – Managing Partner
  • Carlson Business Board (Student Body Government) – Senior Representative
  • Delta Sigma Pi, Professional Business Fraternity – President, Chancellor
  • TEDxUMN – President, Chief Financial Officer
  • Harvard Business School – Peek Ambassador
  • MIS International Case Competition – Selected Competitor
  • Carlson Funds Enterprise – Financial Analyst
  • Entrepreneurship Club – Director
  • Google – Allo App Campus Ambassador

External Activities:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Certificate in New Ventures Leadership (one of 110 selected out of ~1700. Multiple Forbes 30 Under 30 are alumni of this program).
  • Harvard Business School – PEEK Weekend (Pre-MBA program)
  • Business Insider – Published article on Freshman Year: Brazil Has an Easy-Money Problem


  • Carlson Junior of the Year Finalist
  • Gold Global Excellence Scholarship
  • Schachtman Family Undergraduate Scholarship
  • Jawaid U. and Helen Z. Elahi Legacy Fund Scholarship
  • Dean’s List, Carlson School of Management

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Hospital Vila da Serra (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) – Financial Analyst, 2016
  • Kipsu (Minneapolis, MN) – Customer Success Intern, 2017
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (New York, NY) – START Intern, 2017
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (New York, NY) – Management Consulting Intern, 2018

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be working at Strategy& (formerly Booz & Co.) in San Francisco as an Associate. I will be part of the Tech Strategy team, focused on the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) industry.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is John Stavig, the director of the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship. He has been a very important mentor to me since freshman year, mentoring me throughout my undergraduate career and as I’ve started leading Atland Ventures, the student-run VC firm at the University. John’s support has been absolutely incredible. He spent countless hours giving strategic feedback, connecting us with potential stakeholders and helping us to take Atland from zero to one. His knowledge of entrepreneurship and passion for helping students has been changed the path of my college career.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? Carlson pays special attention to building a global community with multiple perspectives, which can be seen both by its semester-abroad requirement and the diversity in its student body. This exposed me to a multitude of cultures and experiences, which has certainly fastened my personal and professional growth. Additionally, Carlson’s location was fundamental in my development: Minneapolis is one of the top startup hubs in the country and, at the same time, hosts 19 Fortune 500 companies. This exposed me to the best of both the entrepreneurship and corporate world.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson is that there is truly no limit to the positive impact that businesses can make in people’s lives – small changes can lead to big impacts. This progress is driven by entrepreneurs and business leaders who, at the beginning, might not know entirely what they are doing, but who are bold enough to try to make a difference. This courage is the birthplace of all other virtues.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Four-and-a-half years ago, I was undecided between studying business or theoretical physics. I’ve used the following framework, which I still find extremely valuable for other major life decisions: try to find the combination between what you love, something you are great at, and something others value. The intersection of this Venn diagram is the sweet spot that will make you feel truly valued.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The skills you learn in business school – both the soft and hard ones – make you very versatile and are widely applicable in many different areas. This makes me comfortable about exploring different career opportunities in the future. I have always feared becoming extremely specialized in a given area, and I discovered that business school gives you this additional layer of optionality – which I find to be a very underrated value of this education.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…astrophysics. Since I was a child, I have always been fascinated with space, and going to the planetary with my grandfather was one of my favorite activities.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college?  Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group. Reading his biography while in high school taught me the importance of having a bias for action. He has started over 400 hundred companies, including one of the first private space startups. This made me realize that I would prefer to study business and take action towards something I’m passionate about than to focus on more theoretical fields of study.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of?  I’m proud of leading Atland Ventures, the first independent, for-profit student-run venture capital firms in the country, alongside 22 of the brightest students I’ve met. While in Atland, I’ve had the experience of meeting, doing due-diligence, and investing in top startups alongside distinguished venture capital and investment firms, in addition to fundraising a (soon-to-be) over $1 million fund. We are the first ones in the country to operate like a real-world VC firm, in which our students get to carry over investments. I am confident this will open doors for and change the paths of hundreds of students for the years to come.

Which classmate do you most admire? Matt Jessen-Howard, my roommate and Partner at Atland Ventures. Matt and I do not agree on virtually anything, and this has been key in the development of our friendship. While building Atland, Matt and I have always emphasized the importance of having “radical transparency” and “strong views, weakly held”. These two principles, combined with very different perspectives, create an environment with very open, passionate and intelligent discussions. This has been an incredible catalyst for growing Atland and strengthening our relationship.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would thank my grandfather. He taught me the importance of being intellectually curious, which is the trait fueling most of my drive and ambition. As a child, we would have countless conversations about space, philosophy, politics, history, and many other topics. I still remember that, while in elementary school, he would drive me to school telling me stories about Ancient Rome, the French Revolution, and World War. I would not where I am today without him.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?  The number one item is to start a company in the space-industry later in my life. As I mentioned, I have been passionate about space since I was very young. While I recognize I will probably not live long enough to see humankind become a multi-planetary species, I must do my best to try to move the needle in that direction. I have a small tattoo in my arm that reads “Per aspera, ad astra”, which is Latin for “through adversity, to the stars.” This is both a motivational message and a reminder. I’ve always believed in having “skin in the game” in everything I do – sometimes too literally, I suppose.

Second, I want to become an American citizen. I’ve made the decision to come to college and build a life here before I started high school, and I’ve always been incredibly passionate about the country’s history and culture. I’m lucky my parents ended up moving here later on, and I’ve always felt much more at home here than anywhere else in the world.

What are your hobbies? Reading is one of my biggest passions, and I’m glad I was able to keep my habit of reading a book every week or two throughout college. Movies and videogames make up the top three.

What made Lucas such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Lucas serves as the Managing Director of the Atland Venture Fund and has led the structuring, fundraising, recruiting and launch of a student-owned venture capital firm. He has recruited a team of 23 undergraduate students representing 4 colleges and 12 majors while working with faculty to develop and deliver a complementary course on new venture financing. With initial commitments of $300,000, the fund started making equity investments in May of 2018.”

John Stavig
Program Director
Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship


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