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Outline: How is life at CLSBE? Do you remember our “Terrible Experience At Lisbon’s Most Elite University” real testimonial from an Asian student? In the following article you can find one more real testimonial, this time from a European student, sharing with the Uduni community her experience at Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics (CLSBE)!

Related: Studying at ISEGTécnico (IST)ISCTE-IUL and Nova SBE – real testimonials!




I came to Portugal over a year ago to study my Masters at Catolica-Lisbon, and I was all full of hopes and expectations of how great it will be. Now it’s my last semester here and I don’t even know what to think of my experience, whether to love it or hate it. But let’s start from the beginning.

First impression – nothing works in Portugal

I would say the beginning in Lisbon was tough. Firstly, I had to find an apartment in Lisbon, which appeared to be not so easy. Especially when each time you see that the reality is far from what’s advertised. Once you choose something, you don’t even get a contract. Then the metro strikes were happening all the time. Even the weather seemed trying to knock me down with the mixture of heat, conditioning, and wind.

Don’t get me started on the university

Finally university started, and it hits you, that nothing works there either. First, the course registration. You cannot just simply get in to the courses you need. Unless, you find the right person to talk to, which only proves that the student office is a mess.

And what a disappointment I had during the Assessment Day! It was positioned as a very important event, where you will simulate applying for a job and get feedback from recruiters. In the end it proved to be a joke, my group had no company representatives, and the feedback was useless. Yet it didn’t stop everyone from being extremely nervous, which left we wondering whether my fellow students ever had a job interview before. Which would be insane, it’s Master studies after all.

Another thing that hit me was the fact that a lot of people got into CLSBE without even having an interview, at least a lot of international students. That makes you wonder whether there was any screening of applicants at all or they just take everyone who applied.


Related: Do companies still care about Erasmus experiences?


Is it still that bad?

I cannot say the first impressions persisted for long. After a while it became so much better. I got used to the rhythm of Portugal, even the metro strikes didn’t annoy me anymore.

And the people at Catolica actually aren’t that bad. I can definitely say that they are motivated, hardworking, have interesting ideas. And I must say I do not agree with the previously published article: I did not get an impression that Portuguese students are not shut off from internationals or that the only thing anyone cares is parties.

I also think that most of professors or other staff working at Catolica are nice and helpful people, individually. BUT if you take CLSBE as a whole, it has many flaws and it has never managed to improve in my eyes. Why?

  • It is a money making machine. Even with the tuition fee that is not low at all, you still need to pay for books, case studies, even school certificates that take one second to make. Or you again need to know the right person.
  • Mandatory attendance and class participation grading. Not that it’s a bad thing. But when everyone speaks not because they have what to say, but just repeats the same ideas because of the grade, it becomes a waste of time.
  • Grading at it’s random. Not all the courses, but sometimes it seems like a lottery.
  • Occasional professors who cannot really teach. Maybe they have knowledge and expertise, but teaching requires other skills, too.
  • Insane workload. And I don’t mind working hard, but a lot of the times it seemed like working for nothing, and that quantity is preferred over quality.
  • All career events are simply useless if you’re not Portuguese. A lot can be said when even last Career Forum announcement started with a headline “Do you speak any Portuguese?”

It feels a lot like all I do is complain in this article. But CLSBE also fell down in Financial Times rankings in 2015 (still “Always at the top”), and I guess for a reason. Hey, just please don’t fall further. I need at least your good name, because that’s about the only thing the school has given me.

Final thoughts

Maybe I am being over dramatic, I hear from my friends who study in other European business schools that there are plenty of similar problems, too. But it doesn’t mean I have to be okay with that. I suppose it is also a question of expectations, and I admit, mine were very high.

In any case, now I am absolutely in love with Portugal. Anyone who listens to me knows that Lisbon is my No.1 love. It just has a good vibe about it. With all the sun, the tiles on the sidewalks, picturesque views and lovely neighborhoods with clothes drying outside. And there is always something to do, your social calendar will never be empty.  I met here amazing people, too. People who will be my friends for life.

So I guess my advice to anyone would become to Lisbon, for sure! But for holidays or work, worst case scenario as an exchange student. Just don’t come as a full-time student.

If I had to describe my experience in one word it would definitely be #MixedFeelings


The author of this article asked to remain anonymous.


Would you like to share your testimonial as well? If yes, please send it to [email protected], either in Portuguese or English!


Regarding not only this article but also the “Terrible Experience At Lisbon’s Most Elite University” testimonial, the Uduni team hereby expresses that this platform does not aim to create a bad impression on CLSBE – as a matter of fact, we currently have on our team 5 amazing people from that university. You can also check the follow-up article from the Asian student by clicking here!


DISCLAIMER: The articles featured on our platform were prepared or accomplished by students in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of UDUNI. UDUNI does not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in these articles. It is part of our mission to empower students, by providing them access to real testimonials and opinions, and we believe that is the reason why some of our articles may not please everyone.
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  1. First of all a money making machine? At the master level when compared to other top universities in Europe católica is not that bad.
    Yes católica has organizational problems, that are in fact annoying and ineffective. Nevertheless i would like this website, created by NOVA students, to also highlight the “great experiences” there that i also know that exist.

  2. This article is a perfect summary of how I felt during my first few months and how I’m feeling at the moment. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Hi everyone, I am portuguese and I am in the first year of my ungraduation but I can already see some of the problems with CLSBE present in this article. I relate especially with some professors who cannot teach (I had several of these in my 1º semester) but I believe (or I want to believe) that Católica tries to find excellent professionals to be professors, however excellent professionals don’t make them automatically good professors, they need other skills , like this master student says. Other think is the fact that I chose CLSBE because of it good reputation, if that stop to exist I really don’t see any motive to stay at Católica. I may change to NOVA, who’s also as good (according with Financial Times) as CLSBE and A LOT CHEAPER. Also it is true that CLSBE is, indeed, a ” money making machine”, and for that, we should, at least, have the right to a great service and education!

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