I think I owe the faculty of ISCTE Business School, the staff, the professors and my colleagues, the sharing of the wonderful experience they proportionated to me.
I entered the bachelor in Finance and Accounting at ISCTE but I have to say I was not very enthusiastic about going to college, and I was very uncertain of my choice. I skipped praxe (the famous ritual freshmen can choose to participate when they enter college) and all the first parties. In the first week of classes, everyone already knew each other as if they were best friends for a lifetime and I was a bit of an outsider – no problem at all. Surprisingly, I got to know people very quickly as everyone was so open and friendly. I was not very social (definitely not attending praxe and neither of the weekly parties organized by the students association) but by the end of the semester I knew and got along well not only with people from my class, but also with people from other classes.
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However I was disappointed with the Bachelor, it was very technical, very hands-on approach, which didn’t meet my expectations of expanding my knowledge about “how the system works”. So, at the end of the year, I ended up changing to the bachelor of economics, which was a sudden decision as I was studying for weeks for the national history exam of history, hoping to change to social sciences.
In the second year, I changed my mind and aimed at a more immersive college experience. I went to praxe, which was a really great experience since I got to know everyone since the first week. I seized the opportunity to enroll in some of the many students clubs ISCTE has – such as AIESEC and the Economic Students Club. I organized events, I managed teams, I helped young graduates to find jobs, I dealt with tough workloads and consequently I grew a lot, I got more self-motivated, I developed a huge network in campus and got to work with people from many different backgrounds (from human resources, to marketing, sociology, political science, history, among others, as ISCTE is not only a business school).
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Social Life and Classes
Now let’s go to the social part. ISCTE is probably the best university in Lisbon to make friends, every week you have small parties at campus that you can attend, often for free. Some of them are thematic and aim to engage people with foreign students and with different cultures. Besides the small ones, you have the huge ones. The freshman party at the beginning of each year is insane, one time around ten thousand people attended it at campus (check youtube, seriously). With all these events and clubs that you can take part in (and develop important soft skills), I assure you, that at the end of your studies, you’ll know half of the people at campus – at least.
Last but not the least – teaching quality. My experience couldn’t have been better, especially now that I have other experiences to compare to. My relationship with professors was closer than in high school. We could drop by their office at any time (no one cared about official office hours) and ask them questions – related to class topics or to more advanced stuff. You could also send them an e-mail and the answers were real quick, some professors would even answer you at 1 or 2 a.m. This is really impressive, compared to the experience I’m currently having at another university. Besides that, we used to have practical classes with no more than 25 people and theoretical ones with less than 70, which allows for in-class discussion and personalized doubts.
The support materials are awesome, most of the times you do not have enough patience to go through them all. Some teacher wrote books dedicated to teaching of their courses and therefore you can expect to have around 25 exercises with solutions per chapter covered. Furthermore, they give you a lot of reading materials and they post at least 3 or 4 mock exams in moodle – also with solutions – in order for you to have a grasp of what to expect for your finals. Besides, if you have a really bad exam because you were nervous, or because you didn’t sleep the previous night or so, they let you have a retake (worth 100% of your final grade) by paying a small retake fee.
Overall, I loved my experience, although I did find that some courses in the bachelor of economics should be less theoretical and less tied to social sciences. But the good news is that these courses (I would change 3 of them) are being reformulated and the professors that used to teach them are getting retired and being substituted by new and enthusiastic professors, with a much more practical view on the subjects.
ISCTE is also a very reputed college nationally. Every multinational company operating in Portugal hires at ISCTE and most of them are present in the annual job fair, where around 50 companies within different fields visit the campus in order to introduce themselves and show students their opportunities. So don’t worry, ISCTE can be fun and useful a great job in the end (employability is really high, even during the severe crisis we are enduring).
I would definitely recommend ISCTE to anyone, and remember, if you study there and invest yourself in your studies, you are very likely to get a scholarship from ISCTE to fund your master program.
The author of this article asked to remain anonymous.