Nova School of Business and Economics (Nova SBE) is committed to upholding essential values that drive its mission. Nova SBE, located in Carcavelos, Portugal, is renowned for its dedication to talent development and knowledge with a global impact.
As stated by Ana Balcão Reis, Vice Dean of Degree Programs, the university’s primary mission centres around the cultivation of talent and knowledge that can make a tangible impact on the world. Nova SBE envisions itself as an open, innovative community that strives for a more equitable, sustainable, and peaceful world. These guiding principles shape every facet of the educational experience offered at Nova SBE.
This article goes through the core values that underpin the institution’s mission, examines its dedication to fostering diversity and inclusivity, and highlights innovative programs and support services designed to empower students on their academic and personal journeys. Additionally, we hear from Rita Ramos, Director of Program Affairs, Nova SBE students and alumni who share their personal experiences of the supportive community that characterizes Nova SBE’s unique identity.
Exploring the Core Values and Impactful Initiatives of Nova SBE
Ana Balcão Reis, Vice Dean of Degree Programs
What is the primary mission and core values of our university, and how do they guide the overall educational experience for students?
Nova SBE’s mission is to be a community dedicated to the development of talent and knowledge that impacts the world. We aim to be an open community focused on the development and co-creation of innovative projects and the development of talent through degree and non-degree programs, generating cutting-edge knowledge, both academic and applied. Furthermore, we want to establish a culture of impact, based on our research and on our graduates’ achievements, for a more equitable, sustainable, and peaceful world.
To achieve this, we make sure that all our programs are aligned with these values. We believe that we are ensuring this with:
- rigour, maintaining excellence in all school activities, from course design, teaching, research and school management;
- impact and commitment to transform the world in responsible and inclusive ways;
- an open attitude that enhances diversity in all of its dimensions and that is reflected in our students’ admissions policy and in the design of our programs;
- a vanguardist and innovative mindset that is open to change and not afraid to take chances;
- and a sense of responsibility for establishing bonds with society and stakeholders, to engage a global and supportive community.
How does our university foster an inclusive and diverse community, and why is this aspect important in achieving our mission?
Nova SBE strives to be a diverse school. We embrace multiculturalism, and 65% of our Master’s programs’ students are international, and from more than 40 different countries our alumni community is working in more than 90 different countries. Furthermore, we have been increasing our budget for scholarships as we want to guarantee access to our programs to students with financial limitations. For this, we are raising funds from our corporate partners and our alumni, building on a community that aims to increase equality of opportunities. This is very important to achieve our mission of creating a positive impact in the world.
Another example is, when creating a students’ club, both the students and the staff approving them must consider factors such as gender, ethnicity, and academic year to ensure that a wider range of students benefits from this and to guarantee inclusivity and diversity. Our faculty has also been increasingly more international. By learning and developing as people in such a diverse environment, we believe that our students will contribute to a better world and thus, expand the horizons of our impact and community.
Can you provide examples of initiatives or programs that demonstrate our commitment to academic excellence and innovation, and how they benefit our students?
Besides being fully committed to the excellence of our programs, we have, in the last few years, opened new programs, including the Master’s in Business Analytics, the Master’s in International Development & Public Policy, and the Master’s in Impact Entrepreneurship & Innovation, which have attracted students from around the world. The exchange of ideas has contributed to more knowledge and innovation. We are also continuously improving our agreements with top universities from around the world, such as Saint Gallen in Switzerland and Bocconi, in Italy. In addition, we work closely with the Students Union to create student clubs that benefit both the students’ careers and their physical and mental well-being.
We also support an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, working closely with corporate partners to ensure that practical knowledge, is relevant to our students’ professional careers. We have built the Nova SBE Innovation Ecosystem – a community focused on innovation projects with companies, public entities, and NGOs, new learning spaces, and new research spaces that also serve our students, teachers, and researchers. Our students also have the opportunity of working with these organizations namely through the participation in PBL – Project Based Learning – a great learning methodology that allows students to work with real-world projects.
Rita Ramos, Director of Program Affairs
What kind of support services does the university offer to help students succeed academically and personally?
We are very committed to providing support to our students, making sure they achieve academic success. For this, there are several teams within the academic services that handle various tasks: course registration, enforcing academic policies and managing graduation processes. Our team of Student Advisors gives the best academic guidance, and finally, a team within the International Programs and Mobility office that supports both incoming and outgoing students. In terms of personal accomplishment, our Life @ Nova team ensures our students have their best experience, facilitating their integration and promoting well-being and the importance of mental health.
How does the university ensure that students receive adequate academic advising and guidance throughout their academic journey, including course selection, progress tracking, and degree planning?
Our students count on the support of the Student Advisors, who listen and collect their concerns about programs and course units, providing them with academic guidance and supervising their journey. This team also implements new initiatives in student services that boost the overall program experience and promote high-quality support services from admission to graduation.
Can you describe the university’s approach to supporting students’ mental health and well-being?
Life @ Nova is fully committed to providing our students with the best experience during their journey at Nova SBE. To facilitate their arrival, this team assists them in important areas such as housing, mobility and visa. There are also integration activities for newly arrived students, as well as programs designed to support students who are struggling with a specific course. There are psychologists who listen to our students, who also have the chance to attend well-being events, such as workshops, mediation sessions and many others. In a nutshell, Life @ Nova creates a positive, supportive and healthy environment for our community.
Leonor Sequeira, 1st year MSc in Management student
How would you describe the overall student life experience on campus, and what aspects do you find most enriching and enjoyable?
For me, the Nova SBE way of living is the perfect combination of academic excellence, hobbies and other activities’ development and a friendly environment where we still save time for our friends and family. Although our professors ask much of us and some of our time has to be spent studying, preparing classes and developing projects, life at Nova SBE is much more than just going to classes and studying at the library. Nova SBE pushes us to engage in several activities that develop other important competencies, enabling us to have the time, organization and physical space to do so. A perfect example of this is the huge offer of student clubs, with the most diverse themes and activities, one can join at Nova SBE. Moreover, I find at Nova SBE a strong community of people that (in some ways) think just like me, which helps me identify with them, but (in other ways) have very different ways of structuring their thoughts and ways of living, which pushes me to meet new ways of thinking and evolve with that experience. All in all, being a student at Nova SBE has helped me meet likewise individuals whom I call friends now and develop my knowledge and way of thinking through its strong community of individuals always friendly and open to help each other.
In what ways do you feel supported by the faculty and staff at the university in your academic journey and personal growth?
In my opinion, Nova SBE gives its students full support during their academic years in all possible topics and, because of that, should be seen as an example for other Portuguese universities. Nova SBE built a very strong environment of departments that are prepared and available to help students with current issues that might happen to anyone. In my experience, no matter what problem I had during my years at Nova SBE there was always someone from the faculty and staff ready to help me. As I joined Nova, I had someone to explain to me what it was like to be a university student and how everything worked at Nova SBE. There was even someone ready to guide me through campus! I started thinking about my Erasmus, and there was a whole department just for that matter and that helped me understand everything I needed to move abroad. Then, when I started thinking about my future, there was someone there to help me with my career: not only to understand which path I wanted to follow but to prepare me for that step towards a new life: whether it would be at a Master’s program or working in a company. There was one time I was really struggling with Calculus (I mean who doesn’t?) and my teacher gave me a private office hour of more than an hour to help me. Additionally, I spent one semester in lock and the Student Representatives, together with the Student’s Union, were able to get me an extra grade improvement. All in all, I have learned that, at Nova SBE, there is always someone available to help me with whatever concerns I have: it may be someone from the staff, a professor or even a likeminded student who is part of the Student Representatives team or the Student’s Union.
How has the university fostered a sense of community and belonging among students, and what resources or initiatives are in place to support student engagement and involvement in campus activities?
Nova SBE has built a very strong and welcoming community, open to everyone who studies at Nova SBE and where anyone will definitely find like-minded individuals. As I started studying here, I was welcomed with a very dynamic and fun event, where I got to meet lots of people who are now my friends, I was able to talk to my future professors and get to know them, and I was presented the campus and everything there is to know about the Nova way of life. All of a sudden I was already in a WhatsApp group with all the Bachelor’s students, I had a Microsoft Teams’ team with all the important information needed and I was receiving weekly letters that would tell me about everything going on at Nova SBE. Besides these efforts to create a strong community, Nova SBE fostered many activities to be closer to its students and to create an environment for students to create strong relationships, such as events, workshops and student clubs. There is always something happening on campus and there is always space for students to participate, engaging with the Nova SBE community and feeling like we’re part of something big!
Rita Roquette Travassos, 2023 MSc in Management alumna
How has the university supported you in your career development and provided opportunities for professional growth after graduation?
Nova SBE has been instrumental in my career development and continues to offer valuable support even after graduation. The career services department has provided a range of resources, including resume workshops, interview preparation, and job search assistance. They also regularly host career fairs and networking events that have allowed me to connect with potential employers and explore various career paths. Additionally, the university’s alumni network has been a valuable resource. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with fellow alumni in my field who have offered guidance and mentorship.
In your opinion, how important is the emphasis on academic excellence and rigorous coursework in preparing students for their future careers?
Emphasizing academic excellence is incredibly important in preparing students for their future careers. A strong academic program fosters knowledge, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. A rigorous coursework challenges students to think critically, develop analytical skills, and handle complex tasks, all of which are important in the professional world.
Can you share an example of a faculty member or mentor who played a significant role in helping you develop the skills and knowledge necessary for success in your chosen field?
I had several mentors and faculty members who had a profound impact on my academic and professional development. However, my thesis advisor was a dedicated mentor who went above and beyond to support me as a student.
One memorable instance was when I was struggling with a particularly challenging research project. He took the time to meet me regularly, providing guidance on research methodology, literature review, and data analysis and he patiently answered my questions and encouraged me to explore new ideas, fostering a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
At Nova SBE, you will see your future in a new light!