“An organisation’s ability to translate learning into action is the ultimate competitive advantage.” So said Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric – and it’s a lesson that the ISCTE Business School (IBS) takes to heart. Originally founded in 1972, IBS is located in Portugal’s coastal capital. Today, approximately 150 teachers and more than 3,000 students work across its six departments that, between them, offer six undergraduate and 12 master’s programmes. All continually strive to learn and grow.

Describing how they achieve this, the Dean, José Esperança says: “Our alumni network links us to important firms.” As well as providing work placement opportunities, many alumni visit the university as professional guest lecturers. “They’re very motivating,” says Esperança. “The last few years have been hard for the Portuguese economy, and our alumni have retained very important jobs throughout.” Indeed, successive generations of IBS graduates have enjoyed employability rates close to 100 per cent.



This network is key for IBS staff too, helping them develop course content in response to real business needs. “Our alumni talk
at conferences and events,” says Esperança, “to help our staff understand the direction of business.”

Meanwhile, working to maintain a competitive advantage, IBS focuses on entrepreneurship. The school offers two hubs: one targeting hi-tech businesses; and a business accelerator. “That helps all kinds of start-ups,” notes Esperança, “from engineers to scientists and beyond. We encourage people to take a global view. We give them exposure to business people internationally to help them raise awareness in other parts of the world, and we offer pro bono support with lawyers, accountants and more to help companies progress.” It’s a complete package of support.

One successful graduate from this hub is Science4you, a company selling science toys. Initially a school project, the business launched in 2008. It now has 200 employees, links with Oxford University, and sales of more than €12 million a year. With successes like these, it’s hardly surprising that the business school’s parent university – ISCTE-IUL Instituto Universitário de Lisboa – was named most entrepreneurial university in the UP Awards 2015 of Portugal Start-ups.

Overall, IBS is a progressive and innovative school with strong industry links, a global outlook, and entrepreneurial know-how. It’s a winning formula that enables students to embrace the teachings of business leaders and go forth and conquer worldwide.