Though Marco Centanaro Garcia is on the verge of starting his career, he leaves Grounds having amassed a wealth of experiences that others might otherwise take a lifetime to achieve.
Born and raised in Montevideo, Uruguay, he came to the U.S. set on pursuing a business career, with a specific focus on finance, and in his own words, “determined to find a university offering a comprehensive business education that wouldn’t restrict my learning to a particular area of the field.”
It led him to apply to UVA and to McIntire, heartened by the Integrated Core curriculum and its promise of delivering a holistic view of the business world that would develop his business skills. Once admitted, Centanaro Garcia dove in fully, pursuing a double major in Commerce and Economics.
Looking back, he found that the most challenging part of his McIntire education was prioritizing his time among homework, readings, projects, and extracurricular responsibilities in order to find the right balance.
Yet despite the challenges that came with carrying two rigorous majors and studying abroad, the Finance and IT concentrator remained undeterred, earning honors from the Raven Society, as well as becoming a Miniotas Scholar and Warwick Johnston Scholar, all while seeking out more opportunities at seemingly every turn.
Serving as Co-Founder of the Private Equity Club at UVA along with Jack Baldwin (McIntire ’23) and Antonio Machioni (McIntire ’23), the group he helped established provides an introduction to the industry, offering resources, training, and networking opportunities to aid in recruiting for McIntire students and non-Comm students alike. He also spent time as a Corporate Finance Peer Academic Coach, leading review sessions on financial concepts to more than 40 students.
Outside his area of expertise, Centanaro Garcia was similarly passionate about fighting food insecurity and hunger and locally dedicated himself to a pair of organizations. First, he served as President in the Food Assist Club, where he led the executive board, gathering food from dining halls, restaurants, and Greek life houses to distribute to the needy throughout Charlottesville. In early 2022, he co-founded the UVA Food Union, an association of more than 15 student organizations aiming to make Charlottesville a more sustainable and food-secure community.
Those many leadership roles will serve him well as he begins his professional life in Austin, TX, with Bain & Co, where he interned in a pair of stints, most recently, in the summer of 2022 in the firm’s Private Equity Group in Houston. He’ll have the chance to further apply all that he learned at Rouss & Robertson Halls as an Associate Consultant.
“My experience at McIntire was truly unforgettable,” he says. “What stands out the most are the lasting connections that I formed with fellow students, professors, and staff. Whether we were collaborating, learning from each other, or simply engaging in conversation, I will always cherish the invaluable lessons and relationships I gained at the Comm School.”
There’s more: Centanaro Garcia’s reasons for celebration now exceed his educational and professional accomplishments—as he revealed to us below.
What Comm School course, professor, or educational experience has made the greatest impact on you and why?
It’s quite challenging for me to pinpoint specific instances during my McIntire education that have left the most profound impact on me. This is mainly because my time at the Comm School was an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding experience, where I was fortunate to be surrounded by highly motivated and brilliant professors and students who constantly inspired and enriched my learning journey. In particular, I want to acknowledge all those professors who always encourage us to ask questions, no matter how trivial they may seem, and to disagree with them as long as we do so in a respectful manner. I believe this approach is the most effective way for students to learn and develop critical thinking skills, pushing them to think outside the box, take positions, and stand up for their beliefs.
What’s one lesson that you’ve learned at the Comm School that has helped you navigate your professional future?
The most valuable lesson I have learned at the Comm School is to always strive for excellence and do everything to the best of my ability. This does not guarantee that you will be the most skilled or proficient, but by giving your all and pushing yourself, you will be able to prove your worth and experience a deep sense of achievement. At the same time, your hard work will not go unseen, earning you the respect and admiration you deserve.
To all the students out there, I would like to offer a piece of advice that has served me well throughout my academic journey: Always remember that before being a student, you are first and foremost a person. While achieving academic success is certainly important, it is equally essential to prioritize your happiness and fulfillment. The things that truly matter in life are those that make us feel accomplished, proud, and happy. So, as you embark on your academic path, choose a path that aligns with your passions and values. And above all, strive to maintain a positive and respectful attitude towards those around you, as you never know whose life you might touch and how that might come back to you in the future.
After you walk the Lawn, what are you looking forward to most and why?
Regarding my professional aspirations, I cannot wait to witness the fruits of my academic work come to fruition as I enter the corporate world and strive to make a meaningful impact on society.
On a more personal note, I am absolutely thrilled to be marrying my best friend, life partner, and fiancée, Pia Cavallini, on Dec. 8 of this year. This exciting milestone in my personal life fills me with great joy and gratitude, and I look forward to embarking on this new chapter as a family man.