After playing tennis and interning on Wall Street, Andre Vidaller soon will embark on a new adventure with the world's most popular search engine company after graduating from the University of Arizona in May.
Vidaller is earning dual degrees in finance and entrepreneurship with a global business minor from the Eller College of Management. Earlier this year, he landed a job at Google's European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, where he will provide marketing and advertising solutions to a portfolio of clients as an associate account strategist.
"I've never been to Ireland," Vidaller said. "I'm really excited. I think it's about time for me to move on to the next stage."
Vidaller grew up playing tennis in his hometown of Santos, Brazil. At the age of 15, he moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil. With the support of a sponsor, he spent the next three years playing as he traveled the globe and competed at some of the world's best facilities.
"I got to meet Roger Federer, who is my idol," he said. "The experience was great."
After a serious back injury, doctors told Vidaller he needed to cut back on his training.
"I wasn't really sure what I was going to do," he said. "That's when I opened my eyes to the opportunities to come to America, pursue a degree and keep playing high-level sports."
Although he had a few offers from different schools, he found the coaching staff, players and academic support offered as part of the UA tennis program his most appealing option. He came to the UA in the spring of 2011 on a full tennis scholarship.
However, there was a big obstacle to overcome: Vidaller didn't speak any English.
"That was my second time in America," he said. "It was really tough communications-wise, going to training and going to classes. I would be listening to words, but didn't know what was going on.... I lived with a New Zealander and Australian. It was their first time being in contact with someone that didn't speak English. It was a little tough at the beginning, but we became very good friends."
Over time, Vidaller began to pick up on English, and he used his personal experience to help other international teammates who joined the men's tennis team adjust to life in the U.S. He was selected as captain of the team his sophomore year.
"It was a great opportunity dealing on a daily basis with different perspectives, opinions and approaches," he said.
In addition to tennis, Vidaller has excelled in academics at the Eller College of Management. Coming from a family of engineers, Vidaller is breaking the mold by pursuing a career in business.
"I always liked to understand investment opportunities and what's going on in the market," he said. "I've always been interested in math. I knew business was for me."
Last summer, he had the opportunity to intern at RBC Capital Markets, an investment bank that operates on Wall Street in New York City. He landed a job with his most desired employer, Google, earlier this year and will start in June.
Vidaller said his experience playing tennis and the support of his family have contributed greatly to his academic and early career success.
"Playing professionally requires a lot of discipline and time management skills," Vidaller said. "Without my family and friends' support back home in Brazil, I don't think this would be possible."
Although he is excited to start a new chapter in his life, Vidaller says he will greatly miss the friends, coaches, teammates, faculty members and advisers to whom he has been close at the UA.
"I met great, amazing people who really helped me develop as a human being and as a professional," he said. "I created a family here. ... For me, I will miss those people."
Photo of Andre Vidaller by Beatriz Verdugo.