Carolina Lacerda '99 & Ricardo Lacerda '96

Carolina Lacerda '99 & Ricardo Lacerda '96

Founder, CL Assessoria & Founder, BR Partners

From São Paulo to New York

The Lacerdas were both raised in São Paulo but met while they were each working for Bear Stearns in New York. Ricardo earned his MBA at Columbia, and the way he described his School experience convinced Carolina to apply. They got married 10 days after Carolina’s Columbia graduation. 

Building Momentum

“When I graduated from Columbia I had five or six job offers,” recalls Carolina. “I went to work for Merrill Lynch because it was my dream job; I spent about 10 years there.” From 2011 to 2015, she headed investment banking for UBS in Brazil. She now runs her own market advisory firm, CL Assessoria. Ricardo headed Goldman Sachs in Brazil before ultimately serving as Citi’s head of investment banking for all Latin America. In 2009, he founded BR Partners, an independent investment bank. 

A Perfect Balance

 “At Columbia, there was a very strong balance of practical and professional experience along with the academics,” says Ricardo. “I was able to work for big firms, then start my own firm and have a successful entrepreneurial career. Columbia prepared me to have a wide range of experiences in a very successful way.” 

A Lesson Remembered

“One of my professors would always tell us, ‘cash is king,’” Carolina says. “This drove my decisions both personally and professionally. At work, people would say, ‘You need to approve funds for this company’s great idea!’ But I’d see that the company didn’t have the cash and wasn’t going to survive. Today, people thank me for that because we could have gotten the bank into trouble.” 

Living Abroad, Staying Involved

The Lacerdas regularly host recruitment and alumni events in São Paulo. They recently made a generous recurring leadership gift to the Columbia Business Fund, joining the School’s Hermes Society. “We want to help the School in the same way it helped us,” explains Carolina. Adds Ricardo, “We don’t want to do something that’s just for one time. We want to stay involved to ensure that our contribution is making a difference to the School.” 

To learn more about becoming involved and supporting the School, please visit or contact Isaac W. K. Thweatt, executive director of individual giving, at [email protected] or 212-854-0719.

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