Lisbon Sets the Standard
ISEG is one of the eighteen schools of the University of Lisbon, which is the largest in the country and the only one ranked in all relevant international rankings. Located in the city centre, ISEG has around 6000 students, of which 20% come from abroad. This gives the school a truly international environment, which extends across all its degrees and courses: bachelor, masters, doctoral, and executive.
Several courses are taught in English such as: two major undergraduate courses (Economics and Management), master courses (e.g. finance and monetary and financial economics), three of its doctoral programmes (management, development studies, and economics) as well as the MBA programme (since September 2017). ISEG’s MBA is the only programme of its kind in the University of Lisbon, and it is the oldest in Portugal. The English-speaking version was released with the 34th Edition, attracting foreign students, mainly from South-America and Africa.
The 35th Edition which started in September 2018, has the participation of an increased number of foreign students compared to the previous cohort (30% and 20%, respectively). The MBA programme is AMBA accredited. The recent School’s accreditation by AACSB has brought more notoriety to all management programmes, including the MBA, increasing our motivation and ambition: our goal for the next 3 years is to place the MBA in other high-profiled international rankings.
Contrary to standard vision statements, we are not concerned about our MBA programme becoming a reference in the market nor be the first in the country. MBAs’ visions should not be defined in reference to the marketplace but rather assessed against its capability to develop high-level competencies in students.
“ISEG’s MBA is the only programme of its kind in the University of Lisbon, and it is the oldest in Portugal.”
Hence, ISEG´s MBA aims at helping students develop a full set of high-order or meta-level competencies that will allow them to create sustainable and high-performance organisations and industries. This is, in our view, the most important skills that managers can learn in the modern fast-changing business environment.
ISEG´s MBA has three complementary pillars: 1) 360º business skills development, from marketing to strategy, and from finance to operations management; 2) leadership and team building skills, including negotiation and mindfulness; and 3) intra and entrepreneurship innovation. Learning experiences are organised outside the campus, such as a two-day session at the Portuguese Air Force Academy, during which students undergo a set of field exercises aimed at training leadership and team-building competencies.
ISEG is proud to accommodate a rich variety of perspectives from all points of view: scientific paradigms, background experiences, religious beliefs, and political positions. This leads ISEG to accept and nurture multiple ways to analyse the world, stimulating the need to take various perspectives into account, before carrying out interventions in economy and society.
Such view is also distinctive in the MBA programme, which translates into the stimulation of a critical thinking approach at work and when looking at career growth. We do not teach subject matters; we teach how to think! The box hereinafter illustrates our stance regarding the way we designed our MBA.
Carlos Canha – My MBA experience and what changed.
My background is on IT/telecommunications, project management, and new business development. I started my career dealing with contracts, for which I needed to develop a deep understanding of the business as well as having a strategic view of the market. ISEG´s MBA had an important impact in my career since I am now in charge of the internationalisation process of an American IT consultancy company for the EMEA market.
The insight I was able to gain from this MBA was instrumental for my performance in strategic decisions and prepared me to understand and anticipate many important cultural and technical issues. The same applies for the guidance of strategic studies that were conducted by the company for the launch of new products and services that are now returning positive results.
For me, the MBA impact was twofold: 1. I embrace risk with more assertion, and I am much more confident in decision making. 2. My managerial skills have developed significantly. For instance, the soft skills learned during the course left an important mark for someone with a background in engineering. Skills such as body language, self-controlling, empathy, confidence, hearing, and voice projection.
All these are now part of my daily activities, and I now realise how critical they have been in both professional and personal growth. It was also an opportunity to meet new people from different areas – colleagues and teachers – that shared their valuable experience.
ISEG MBA was a very demanding course but it was, without a doubt, worth it; it gave me the right tools to take higher challenges and look at business and the world in a different way! Thank you ISEG, class mates and teachers.
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