Committing to pursue an MBA is a significant decision that can profoundly impact one's personal and professional life. It is a decision of deep personal nature which can open be difficult to discuss and debate with family and friends. So, as someone who has experienced this dilemma firts hand let me share my story with you and tell you seven reasons why I decided to pursue the International MBA at Porto Business School.
I was working as a medical dentist and having a serious case of serious FOMO (fear of missing out). There was this constant feeling that I could-would-should be making a different impact on the world around me.
In fact, doing an MBA was always part of the plans, and then one day I started to consider it a little more seriously. I was ready to make a career change, I was ready to do an MBA!
Nonetheless, reaching this conclusion was only the beginning of the journey.
Choosing to pursue an MBA involved considering many factors. The timing of my career, the type of programme, whether to pursue it full-time or part-time and the choice of a reputable school were just a few of the countless considerations. It was an intimidating task, but I knew I had to make well-informed decisions that perfectly aligned with my future expectations. I knew I was only going to do one MBA in my lifetime, so it was crucial that I got it right the ﬁrst Eme around.
Sounds familiar? Well… Don’t worry, my story had a happy ending! After a few months and weeks of researching, and talking to everyone I knew – and even to people I didn’t - I came across Porto Business School.
A few months have passed since and today, as I approach the end of my journey as a candidate and drawing from my own experience, I present to you the seven reasons that led me to choose the International MBA programme and Porto Business School.
1- The Programme itself
Having initially considered the Executive MBA, which would have allowed me to continue to work while doing the programme, I soon realised that the international MBA was a better fit for me (and it is also possible to do it part-time).
The International MBA is a triple-accredited programme and probably the most immersive full-time programmes out there. Having a no-business-related background it was important for me to be as focused as possible to learn all the hard skills I needed for a career change. Additionally, I came to ﬁnd out, the programme truly honours its “international” naming. During my journey as an international MBA candidate, I had professors and peers from all over the world, I went to Montreal, Canada for an international business case competition, I went to California, USA for a business innovation course at UC Berkeley, I visited multiple Portuguese companies with international operations, I attended lectures and talks with international authors, guest speakers and so much more.
2 - A chance to work on myself - both Hard and Soft Skills
Part of the beneﬁts of doing a full-time programme is having the chance to take a break and focus on developing yourself.
Developing hard skills is almost taken for granted. You’ll learn from both top executives and top academic professors. You’ll do countless individual and group assignments, as well as the occasional exam here and there, so there’s no way you won’t be learning marketing, operations, or ﬁnance.
However, a great part of this programme’s transformational nature comes from a good balance between the technical courses and the soft skill courses.
Throughout the programme, I got to learn from championship-winning coaches and C-level executive recruiters who taught me how to adapt to any circumstance, how to establish priorities clearly, and how to take on and give feedback in a constructive way.
All of this is part of a crucial journey of self-awareness because at the end of the day your career should be about what you can bring to the table, and how you can grow at that table and help others along the way.
3 -Contact with Real World Companies & Real Executives
As I mentioned above during your MBA you’ll get to have many executives as professors and you’ll take on several company visits and talks. Additionally, you’ll also get to make projects for real companies and have CFOs coming to your classroom and reviewing your ﬁnancial analysis presentations.
Yet, this connection with companies does not end there:
One aspect that is quite unique to Porto Business School is that the school was founded by some of the most innovative and disruptive companies out there, and as a student, you get to embrace and have fun with this disruptive feeling passed on by the founders. You’ll hear many times “think of this school as lab (…) think of this school as a safe place, as a controlled environment to engage and experiment. Worst case scenario, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t”. As a student, you’ll get challenged to get out of your comfort zone and this is what ultimately will make you become your YOU 2.0.
4 -A School that Truly hones Diversity and Inclusion
Coming from a non-business-related background my main fear, when starting the MBA, was feeling an outcast. This could not have been further from the truth.
In my MBA cohort, I’ve met le from the most diverse background. From engineers to PhDs all the way to veterinary doctors, finance specialists and crisis managers, my cohort was as diverse as you can imagine, and I could not have learned more from my peers. I’m also proud to say that there were more females and than males in my class which is mostly not the case in business schools.
As diversity and inclusion become the words of the century it is very easy to have most organisations advertising themselves as promoters of these standards but in very few will this be so clearly observable. PBS certainly does a good job at capturing these values.
One other interesting aspect is the fact that the school is perfectly adapted to people with disabilities.
5 -A unique campus!
Porto Business School Campus is a wonderful modern building that received several visits from architects and art students. Built-in 2013, the building combines the use of natural light, open spaces and its own two gardens (one vegetable garden included!) in a busy urban central location next to the country’s biggest shopping centre.
It is a stunning and very inspiring facility, designed to promote a natural social ﬂow, with an emphasis on sustainability, where you’ll easily feel at home.
6 - The City of Porto
This may sound like the most obvious one but there’s certainly more to it than what meets the eye!
Porto is a beautiful city and it’s not by chance that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nonetheless, for an MBA student, there may be other more relevant charms.
The city has a long-standing tradition of fostering a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. In fact, Porto is home to many start-ups, incubators and innovation centres and has recently received the honour to be nominated for hosting the world’s largest entrepreneurship and innovation academy, the European Innovation Academy (EIA).
7 - Lifelong Friendships, becoming part of an Alumni Network & Parties… Great Parties! Networking is one of the most important parts of your MBA.
Attending PBS for your MBA not only offers a world-class education and career prospects but also provides a unique opportunity to forge lifelong friendships, become part of an extensive and diverse alumni network, and enjoy memorable parties. Some might even say that those memorable parties are responsible for many lifelong friendships (and the occasional marriage!).
One of the ﬁrst events I’ve attended as a PBS student was the Alumni Day. I remember that day, an alumnus from 20 years ago receiving a dimension and a great part of his cohort being there to support and congratulate him.
You’ll become close friends with the people from your cohort, but you’ll also get to make friends from the other MBAs and executive programmes.
In the end, it will be the transformational essence of the journey that will bond you for life.
Summing up, pursuing an international MBA at Porto Business School is a transformative journey ﬁlled with valuable experiences and opportunities which you’ll never forget not regret.
Article by Inês Castro Alves, currently attending The International MBA