By Danna Lorch
Bruno Drummond, BSBA ’03, MSA ’09, MST ’20, knows what it’s like to have to work for what you want. “Nothing was ever given to our family,” he recalls of his childhood growing up in Belo Horizonte, a city of close to 3 million residents in southeastern Brazil. “We had to fight for it.”
What his family did have was a deep belief in education. His parents were first-generation college graduates who worked tirelessly to send Drummond and his brother to private high school; they also helped fund college for six of his cousins. “They taught me that education is the only investment that doesn’t lose its fair market value,” he says.
Drummond made a significant investment in his own education when he decided to leave Brazil and transfer to Suffolk’s Sawyer Business School in 2001, shortly before the start of fall term. That big leap was made easier, he says, by the admissions officer who “moved mountains” for him, working with the registrar to organize his class schedule.
“That was the start of my Suffolk relationship,” he recounts. “Everywhere you go at Suffolk, there is someone who cares about you and your story.”
The 18 months Drummond spent completing his BSBA degree were often tough. He strove to improve his English while taking rigorous courses and supporting his young son. “It built my endurance,” he says.
Then, at the end of his senior year as he was preparing for his final exams, he received a call with the news that his father had passed away. “It had always been his dream to see his son graduate from college,” says Drummond, who flew home to be with family.
At this devastating time, with graduation in the balance, his Suffolk support system stepped up: His professors reassured him that he’d made the right choice and told him they’d work with him to ensure he would still graduate. From that moment, Drummond knew he’d found a second home.
“Suffolk is a safe harbor. It’s small enough to know everybody, but it’s big enough to make big life changes,” he says.
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“Bruno knows his customers’ needs well, which makes it easy to match them with our students for immersive consulting projects," says Professor Jodi Detjen, MBA program director. “Having this formal partnership means our students can work with a range of sectors. From an experiential education standpoint, it’s invaluable.”
Photograph by Michael J. Clarke
Immersive consulting is a vital component of the Sawyer Business School experience. Over the years, undergraduates and graduate students have consulted for a wide range of companies and organizations, including a local coffee chain, a cannabis/robotics startup, a global engineering firm, an international aid agency, and many more.
Bruno Drummond knows how important those opportunities are. That’s why he and his company, Drummond Advisors, have established a partnership with the Business School to fill the pipeline with international companies and organizations that have consulting assignments. One of the first companies MBA students worked with was LogBank, a Brazilian fintech company that wanted to better understand the regulatory landscape in the U.S. market.
After completing a second master’s degree in taxation, Drummond joined the Business School faculty as an adjunct instructor and steadily increased his philanthropic contributions. The Goncalves-Drummond Endowed Scholarship Fund is a particularly meaningful gift, which he established to honor his parents who so deeply valued learning. The inaugural scholarship was awarded in 2021 to Sawyer accounting students Owen Langone and Hoang Ly.
“Suffolk embraces its students, its community,” Drummond says. “Suffolk brings knowledge to the world. That mission has reached me at the highest levels, through networking, through knowledge, through providing a skill set that set up my achievements. When you embrace students and your community, and you apply that vision over time, you will have successful individuals. That’s why I give. It’s a mission that should go on.”
That sense of community led him back to Sawyer to earn a master’s degree in accounting. Just a year out he launched Drummond CPA, now Drummond Advisors, recognizing the need for an accounting firm specializing in businesses operating between the United States and Brazil. The firm provides legal, accounting, and tax advisory from seven global offices.
From the beginning, Drummond has made it a point to hire Rams and to collaborate with Professor Jodi Detjen, the academic director of Sawyer’s MBA program, to create immersive capstone projects at Drummond Advisors for students (see sidebar below). “He wanted to give back and do it in an academically sound way,” Detjen says.
Building Knowledge And Networks