Portugal offers excellent conditions to international students, both in terms of academic and living experiences. When considering taking an MBA, it’s important to bear in mind the quality of the programs on offer; the existence of conditions to ensure that you, as a student, will make the most of your time; and an overall living environment that is sustainable from the financial point of view, while providing you with social interaction and career advancement opportunities that will eventually make your investment worthwhile.
This blogpost covers Portugal’s added value regarding these factors.
MBAs with international accreditation and recognition
Some MBA programs in Portugal are well ranked worldwide and are fully taught in English; students and the population in general master the language (mandatory in Portuguese public education curriculum from the 3rd grade onwards) and Faculty members are often selected based on their teaching and research experience abroad.
In terms of format, one full-time year or two part-time years is the norm.
The clear definition of guidelines for the recognition of MBAs by the Association of MBAs means that accredited programs, such as The Lisbon MBA, offer students the same international and strategic viewpoint on Business Management as programs in London, Copenhagen, and Paris offer. Likewise, they cover the same core subjects, often taught by Professors who explore Portugal’s strategic location to go back and forth over the Atlantic to teach in Europe and in America throughout the year: Marketing; Business Economics; Financial Accounting; Quantitative Analysis; Finance; People & Organizations; Operations Management, etc. are approached combining concepts, in theory and practice, with a strong focus on group work.
A thriving business environment
Lisbon features entire quarters completely transformed since the 2010 crisis by young entrepreneurs responding to less-than-perfect conditions with their ideas and business acumen. The successful bid to host The Web Summit in 2016 confirmed, more than created, the innovative spirit of a country that boasts many award-winning tech and science accelerators. Furthermore, Portugal’s privileged relation with its former colonies means that it operates as a business bridge linking 4 continents (according to the researcher Ivana Casaburi, Chinese investment in Portugal accounts for 3, 3% of GDP, more than any other European country). This explains why Portuguese institutions, and MBAs particularly, pay a special attention to entrepreneurship, soft skills and market exposure.
Portugal’s thriving business environment is crucial to the enlargement of professional networks and post-graduation career opportunities.
A welcoming country for foreigners
Over the past five years, the number of foreign students in Portugal grew by 74% (official statistics – IPP). Top institutions and an entrepreneurial society are only two of the factors behind this. The country is a member of the European Union and has bilateral visa agreements with many non-EU countries. It is one of the safest places in the world and people are historically welcoming. Recent winner of several Tourism awards for Best Destination, Portugal boasts an unusual mix of history and culture, gastronomy and nature. The weather is mild all year round and attracts many adventure-lovers.
Social and legal changes have lately opened up the real estate sector to short-term accommodation and student residences. Day-to-day life is relatively inexpensive (about half what it costs in London, for example), while the quality of life is enviable.
Bearing all this in mind, MBA students in Portugal can add a defining competitive edge to their resume in a place that gathers the perfect conditions to help them deal with the typical pressure and workload of an MBA.
For additional information on this topic feel free to contact The Lisbon MBA advisors.
Marta Andaluz is Director of Marketing and Admissions at The Lisbon MBA, a joint venture between two top European Schools based in Lisbon: Católica-Lisbon and Nova SBE. They offer a 1-year Full-Time MBA and an Executive MBA in collaboration with MIT Sloan School of Management.