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Student Spotlight: Carlos Taguchi Godoi Bueno Trades Tennis Court For Business Classroom

student spotlight bueno

By Kelsey Ernest

TAMPA (December 03, 2021) –- Carlos Taguchi Godoi Bueno’s dream of becoming a successful student-athlete playing collegiate tennis in the United States ended before it truly began. A competitive tennis player at 9 years old, Bueno was banking on getting a scholarship for college. That is until his body and the years of wear and tear from playing competitive tennis became too much.

It was during a trip to visit family in Florida where Bueno’s journey from the tennis court to the classroom led him to the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business as his new route to success. 

Bueno had taken tennis lessons starting at 7 years old and began to fall in love with the sport, the same as his father and uncle. He participated in his first competition at 9 years old, and eventually qualified for national tournaments in Brazil. 

His body couldn’t withstand the daily 4-hour practices he was putting into tennis and his injuries increased and worsened. During his senior year of high school, Bueno took three months off the courts due to the pain from simply walking. From inflamed tendons and wrists to more serious inflammation in his Achilles tendon, it was clear he would not continue to play at the highest level. With college tennis out of the picture, he needed a new plan to keep his dreams of studying in the U.S. afloat. 

“When I realized that tennis was not going to be a reality, I knew that if I wanted a scholarship, I would need to study a lot in school because it is not cheap studying in the U.S.,” he said.

As a first-generation student, Bueno knew that he would need a university with programs to help guide him through the college processes. When he visited his family in Florida, one look at the programs offered at the Muma College of Business convinced him that USF was the place he belonged. With the Corporate Mentor Program at USF, he could be assured to be set up with mentors who would help integrate him into his future professional field.

“My parents didn’t graduate from college, so having a mentor to help guide me into corporate America and the professional world, is amazing. It’s one of the biggest draws to USF for me,” Bueno said.

Tutoring became his new opportunity to create connections with college athletes while working his way back to success in new endeavors.

“I understand how difficult it can be balancing school and sports and I liked building relationships with the athletes to help focus them on their classes. I was able to connect over this experience with the students I helped,” Bueno said.

Bueno said tennis taught him about discipline and time management, and he is applying these skills in his new position as an equity research analyst with the USF Student Managed Investment Fund.

“I learned to be a hard worker and to manage my time in ways that have helped set me up in other aspects of my life,” Bueno said.

Students analyze the global stock and bond market, make recommendations for investments, and pitch their ideas to an advisory board. From there, the students defend their plans to manage the $1.6 million in the long equity portfolio.

“I still get the same feeling of excitement that I used to get with tennis, but now in my project managing over $1.6 million,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, but I feel that same thrill from playing on the court.”

Finance and economics had always piqued Bueno’s interest growing up. At USF he joined the Student Investment Club and the Economic Scholars Society. Between the two, Bueno was able to learn how to manage $370,000 in an online portfolio and how to navigate the complexities of business transactions about their impact on the environment. 

Bueno recently accepted an internship position with StepStone Group, an investment advice company. StepStone provides customized investment advice on global scales while utilizing over 260 professionals to analyze the portfolios of the clientele.

“My courses helped give me the technical knowledge I needed for my positions, and with my mentorship, I was able to get real-world experience to pair with it,” he said.

In the spring, Bueno will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in finance with a concentration in asset management, and a bachelor’s degree in quantitative economics and econometrics.

While he had to shelve his first dream of becoming a tennis star, he’s confident a promising career in finance and economics will be just as rewarding.