The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Full-Time MBA Dreamweaver Templates. Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee

Success Stories: The International Student

Diogo Silvy, UT MBA-Finance
Treasury Analyst, Eastman Chemical
Johnson City, Tennessee

A soccer scholarship brought Diogo Silvy from Brazil to East Tennessee, and the opportunity to earn an MBA at the University of Tennessee convinced him to stay.

Silvy’s “American dream” began in 2003, he says, when he arrived on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harriman, Tennessee. In less than 10 years, he earned both his undergraduate and MBA degrees, got married, became a father, and landed a job as a treasury analyst at Eastman Chemical in Johnson City, Tennessee. That’s a pretty remarkable transformation for a young man who didn’t speak English when his journey began.

“I came here not knowing English, so that first year at college was a challenge,” Silvy recalls. “I had to learn the language and the culture. I think coming to East Tennessee really helped me, because everyone is so friendly and helpful. I had the incredible support of a lot of people who spent time teaching and learning with me.”

After earning a business management degree at LMU, Silvy worked at DeRoyal, a leading manufacturer of medical products located just north of Knoxville in Powell, Tennessee. As an international student, Silvy was permitted to work in the United States for a year as part of the government’s Optional Practical Training (OPT) provision.

When his year at DeRoyal was up, Silvy and his wife faced what he describes as “one of the biggest decisions of our lives.”

He explains, “I had to choose whether I would go back to Brazil to continue my career or stay in the U.S. by continuing my education here. I knew I wanted to make the most out of this opportunity in the U.S., and I realized the best way for me to do that would be to apply to the MBA Program at UT.”

Since the Silvys would be paying for Diogo’s MBA education from their savings, the couple created a strict budget, considering only those top schools they could afford. Still, Diogo says, he was not willing to choose a program based solely on cost. It was a combination of affordability, location, program curriculum and rankings, and career services support that led him to UT.

“UT was an easy choice for me because of the location and all they had to offer,” Silvy says. “One thing that really caught my attention was the investment the University made on the Investment Learning Center on the first floor of the Haslam Building. When I saw that, I knew I really wanted to be part of the UT MBA Program. The University gave me the opportunity to earn the certification in Fixed Income from the Bloomberg Terminal.”

Once Silvy joined the program, he says, his classes proved to be just as dynamic and invaluable as the school’s leading-edge technology. 

He adds, “I had the opportunity to work with students from all over the world who were open to different backgrounds and different points of view. I was the only student from Brazil in my class, so, along with the students from India and China, I could share what it is like to conduct business in an emerging economy. I can honestly say that choosing this program was the best decision we could have made, because the MBA completely changed my life.”

Following graduation from the Full-Time MBA Program, Silvy joined ALCOA as a financial analyst. From there, he moved on to Eastman where he is gaining the work experience needed to achieve his goal of becoming a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA).”

Silvy credits the MBA Career Management Office with helping him successfully transition from classroom to career. A move, he says, which has enabled him to start building a future—and a family (the Silvys’ first child was born in 2012)—in his adopted home state of Tennessee.

“What the Career Management staff does to prepare you for success is incredible. I think the personal connection between the staff and students would be difficult to find at other schools. The MBA Career Management team always was available to help me out.”

MBA Program Office~ 504 Haslam Business Building ~ Knoxville, TN ~ 37996 - 4150
Phone: 865-974-5033 ~ Fax: 865-974-3826 ~


The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Big Orange. Big Ideas.

Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System