There are five Portuguese business schools among the best in the world, according to the Financial Times


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With the exception of ISEG, all the Portuguese schools represented in the Financial Times’ global ranking, which evaluates the executive education segment, improved their performance.

There are four Portuguese business schools among the 50 best in the world in executive education. Nova School of Business and Economics (Nova SBE), Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, Porto Business School (PBS) and ISEG – Lisbon School of Economics and Management are the educational institutions that appear in the Financial Times (FT) global ranking. All, except ISEG, have improved their position in relation to the previous edition. Nova SBE is, once again, the national school that appears in the lead, in the best position ever. There is also a fifth national school that, although outside the Top 50, is present in the specific rankings: Iscte Executive Education.

Faculty of Economics from the University of Porto
Faculty of Economics from the University of Porto

“Nova SBE is one of the Portuguese schools in the Financial Times’ executive training ranking, which once again demonstrates the excellent quality of training in Portugal. The results achieved by Nova SBE, which ranked 18th in the world (the best ever obtained by any Portuguese school in this ranking) consolidates our leadership in Portugal, both in open and customized programs, leave us very satisfied and show that we are on the right path to creating a community of talent and knowledge with impact on the world,” says Pedro Brito, Associate Dean of Executive Education at Nova SBE.

“It is through working with companies and organizations that we are able to transform the economy and society, forming leaders who are prepared to understand their role and responsibility in building a more just and sustainable society,” he adds.

Last year, Nova SBE ranked 22nd overall, having climbed four places in the table, to 18th place. However, more specifically, in the ranking that evaluates the performance of institutions in open programs, Nova SBE is now in 29th position ,having fallen from 20thplace, and in terms of customized programs, it is in 16thplace, having jumped 13 places.

The indicator ‘Partnerships with other schools’contributed to this result – the best ever achieved by Nova SBE in this ranking – , in which it reached the 6th position worldwide, reflecting the work done and the partnerships achieved with other organizations, such as the business schools that belong to the UNICON global network and the “Exponential Business Administration” (xBA) program, which results from a partnership between Nova SBE and StartSe, distinguished at MERIT Summit 2022 ,in Madrid, with an international innovation award.

“The proximity to our corporate partners, the quality of our faculty and the school’s vision focused on impact are some of the reasons for this success. But also the avant-garde culture that is reflected in the teaching methodology, namely through the integration of real challenges from companies, the introduction of new learning technologies and support for the professional development of students,” explains Pedro Brito.

“Since we started our path in executive training, we have been committed to helping people and organizations prepare for their future, from a lifelong employability perspective. That is why we provide a training offer that integrates active learning, personalized and aligned with the real needs of people, companies and societies,” he concludes.

Católica rises to the Top 25

Católica-Lisbon, in turn, appears in 24th place in the global rankings, rising to the world’s Top 25 in executive education, after 27th place last year.

“Being in the Top 25 worldwide in executive training is an excellent result that results from our strong investment in the talent of our teachers, in pedagogical innovation and adaptation to the needs of companies. Our executive training team is to be congratulated for these results, as in two years we were one of the three schools in the world with the best progression in the rankings. This trajectory and recognition makes us responsible to serve even better the training needs of the professionals of the future, accelerating their careers and creating value for companies,” says Filipe Santos, dean of Católica-Lisbon.

In the specific rankings, the Portuguese university reached 31st place in open programs – largely due to its rankings in indicators such as ‘International location’ (25th place), ‘Faculty diversity’ and ‘International participants’ (both 26th place) – and 21st place in customized programs – thanks to its performance in indicators such as ‘New skills and learning’, (18th place), ‘Goals achieved’ and ‘Growth’ (both 19th place).

Future executive training will be “even more aligned with customer needs and market trends and requirements in innovative formats oriented to an increasingly digital world, in which leadership qualities are fundamental,” anticipates Céline Abecassis-Moedas, director for executive training at the Católica.

PBS and ISEG in the second half of the ranking

The third Portuguese business school to appear in the FT’s global ranking in the executive education segment is Porto Business School, which ranks 34th this year , a six-fold improvement over the previous year.

In the rankings that evaluate open programs and customized programs, the Invicta school achieved 42nd and 46th places, respectively. It was the only one of the five Portuguese schools to improve in both categories, having climbed 11 places in the open category and two places in the custom category.

The parameter ‘Partnerships with other schools’ was the one that gave it the best evaluation (16th position, worldwide), as well as ‘Growth’ (24th position, worldwide).

“These results once again demonstrate the success of Porto Business School’s work of anticipation and adaptation to the new demands of the business world, so marked by uncertainty. In a society in constant transformation, particularly with regard to digital and technological innovation and sustainability, we continue, year after year, to be an international reference in the area of management training and to meet the current needs of executives,” says José Esteves, dean of Porto Business School.

ISEG completes the national presence in the Top 50, taking the 47th place in the FT table. It dropped, however, six positions in relation to the results achieved in the previous edition.

In terms of open programs, the school of economics and management whose campus is located in the Rato area (Lisbon) ranks 59th , while in terms of customized programs it ranks 52nd.

In the case of custom programs, the performance in the criteria ‘Partnerships with other schools’ (21st place) and ‘International clients’ (26th place) contributed to these results. For the open programs, the indicators ‘International participants’ (33rd place) and ‘Faculty diversity’ (38th place) stand out.

“There are hundreds of business schools in the world operating in a totally open and competitive environment. Being among the Top 50 in one of the most recognized rankings increases our responsibility, but it is also recognition of the good work we do. A work with purpose. At ISEG, executive education is coherently inserted in an organizational perspective where the creation of business value overrides individual success, although it does not take it away. And this way of looking at the growth of training in the organizational context is recognized by the market and therefore recognized by the FT ranking,” says João Duque, president of ISEG.

For Francisco Velez Roxo, who recently took over as chairman of the executive committee of ISEG Executive Education, this recognition is both gratifying and challenging. “Gratifying because it is linked to the fulfillment of the vision and organizational mission of a school that has always been committed to executive education; and challenging because the focus on training that is both highly segmented and integrative at the same time must increasingly show a perspective of more knowledge, expertise and good professional development in the high competition wheel of companies and among schools at the international level being part of credible and reputable rankings,” he explains.

Outside the Top 50, Iscte also in the ranking

Although there are four Portuguese business schools in the FT’s aggregate ranking – constructed through two components, one ranking for open-enrollment programs and another for customized programs for companies – there is one more Portuguese business school in these more specific rankings: Iscte Executive Education.

In the case of the former (concerning open programs), in a range of 75 schools analyzed, Iscte Executive Education ranks 68th, having achieved the best results in the parameters ‘International location’ and ‘International participants’. As for the customized programs, the academic institution ranks 61st out of the Top 75. The criterion ‘Growth’ contributed strongly to this result, followed by ‘Program abroad’.

“This is the year of confirmation of the strategy we have been following. Internationalization takes its rightful place and we have been duly rewarded. The Financial Times points us as the number one school in Portugal and 14thin the world with the best combination of international origins of students (geographical diversity) and number of international students. A prize that comes at a good time after we suffered what we had to suffer in internationalization with the closing of markets by Covid-19. Now China, India, Brazil, the United States and the Middle East, among other markets, arepaying off,” comments José Crespo de Carvalho, president of Iscte Executive Education.

And he reinforces: “If there were any doubts, the path has been traced. We will continue to strengthen the international focus of executive education. We want to be global and reach at least 50% international students by the close of 2024.”

HEC Paris once again leads the podium

The global podium belongs, in turn, and in line with recent editions, to HEC Paris, which has a campus in France and another in Qatar. However, the French business school registered a drop in the more specific rankings, in which it also took first place last year.

In this edition, HEC Paris ranked second in the open programs ranking and third in the customized programs ranking.

The second place on the podium belongs, in turn, to IESE Business School, with campuses in Spain, the United States, Germany and Brazil. It should also be noted that, when it comes to open programs, it is now this school that leads the table.

The podium is completed with Insead, with a presence in France, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates, at the third level.

The Financial Times “Executive Education Ranking” evaluates the performance of schools, taking into account teaching methodologies, faculty qualifications, contribution to new skills and learning, and the participants’ return on investment.

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