A resident of Melbourne, Australia, Rafael Gracioso Martins is a managing partner at Outroll Venture Capital. He graduated from Harvard Extension School with a master’s of liberal arts in information management systems. Martins received a bachelor’s degree in business management from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He shares the value he found in attending the Extension School.
HARVARD EXTENSION: Why did you decide to earn a degree at Harvard Extension?
MARTINS: Business and technology evolve at incredible speeds, requiring continuous lifelong learning. After working as an IT manager for four years, I decided to further my education in the IT management field. My requirements were to find a reputable university that offered a part-time master’s degree with a mix of online and on-campus courses. After doing some research, it was clear that Harvard Extension was the best fit for me.
HARVARD EXTENSION: How has this experience helped you in your career or personal development?
MARTINS: Studying at Harvard Extension was paramount in my professional and personal development. Harvard Extension helped me better understand the technology industry, and reach the biggest breakthrough in my modern career: starting a venture capital firm.
As I studied each subject, I started to see IT as a tool to support business. My viewpoint went from creating and investing in technology ventures to investing in nontechnology ventures that could use IT as a growth-support tool.
The on-campus components and the amazing teaching staff at Harvard enabled me to expand my horizons on what business and IT is about. This was the most valuable academic and personal experience that I’ve had so far. It had a deep personal and professional impact.
HARVARD EXTENSION: In which ways did you connect with the Harvard community?
MARTINS: The on-campus experiences enabled me to connect more closely with the Harvard community. The plethora of events and talks on campus helped connect me with other students across all Harvard schools. Online tools and classes also helped me to create a network of classmates all around the world.
HARVARD EXTENSION: Do you have a favorite class or faculty member? Why?
MARTINS: Most classes were fantastic and it is hard to pick a favorite. However, three classes stood out for me: “The Capstone Seminar in Digital Enterprise” with Zoya Kinstler was fantastic and critical to my professional development; “Moving the Enterprise to Mobile” with Christina Inge was a great course; and “Beyond the Basics of Front-End Web Design” with Jennifer Kramer taught me more about web development than I imagined possible.
HARVARD EXTENSION: Do you have any advice for new students?
MARTINS: My advice is simple: Enroll today, and take as many on-campus courses as possible.
HARVARD EXTENSION: Describe your Harvard Extension School experience in one word.
MARTINS: Growth. It helped me grow in almost every aspect — personally and professionally.
This article was originally published on Harvard Extension School’s Student Spotlight web page in May. It has been lightly edited.