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PORTUGAL - Health & Education

Joao Duque

Dean of ISEG, Lisbon School of Economics & Management


Joao Duque is Dean of ISEG, Lisbon School of Economics & Management. He was born in 1961 in Lisbon, where he lives. He has a degree in organization and business management from ISEG-University of Lisbon (1984) and a PhD in nusiness administration from the University of Manchester (1995). He has published more than two dozen entries as an author or co-author of books, book chapters, and articles in books and journals of a scientific nature. He is a member of the General and Supervisory Board of Caixa Central de Crédito Agrícola Mútuo, C.R.L., chairman of the Remuneration Committee of REN – Redes Energéticas Nacionais, SGPS, S.A. member of the Fiscal Council of Novabase Capital SA, and belongs to the PSI 20 Steering Committee of Euronext Lisbon SA.

"For Portuguese society, we work to develop students that go beyond being excellent economists or decision-makers for firms."
TBY talks to Joao Duque, Dean of ISEG, Lisbon School of Economics & Management, about the strengths of the institution, interactions with the business community, and expectations for the Portuguese economy at large.

What makes ISEG stand out as a place to learn economics and business?

ISEG wants to capture the interest of Portuguese, European, and Luso-phone country leaders keen to start their education in business and economics. We have a long tradition, which gives us an unmatched asset: our alumni network. Our network is the largest in Portugal because we are the oldest business school in the country. For ISEG, diversity is also an important differentiator. This is not a school of a single political, economic, or language orientation. Even in research and teaching methodologies, we do not fix on one approach. We are one of the most diverse schools in Lisbon. The main characteristic of ISEG is freedom; freedom to teach and freedom to learn.

What types of partnerships does ISEG have with the business community, and what is the importance of having a solid link with Portuguese companies?

We created a foundation supported by large firms to promote scholarships and the publication of research papers written by our faculty peers. Companies want to distinguish our best students in order to remain involved with the school. In return, we developed executive courses specifically drawn-to-measure to serve their needs. We have an executive education area to fulfill specific principles and objectives. Apart from answering corporate requests, we develop projects that cater to their needs. We hold annual meetings with partner companies because they are the employers of our students. And we have a yearly career fair to bring together prospective employers and students in order to facilitate hiring. Regarding links between academia and the private sector, we promote networking between faculty and industry. Firms are members of the school board, our international council, and the advisory board for executive programs. This gives us the insight to design programs to fulfill their needs. For example, due to feedback from the business community, we were compelled to include Python coding in curricula. The practical applicability of teaching drives the design of programs.

Which programs support the university’s commitment to being international and welcoming opportunities abroad?

First, let’s talk about students and the community. The most recent data indicates that 60% of applications come from non-resident students. The number is increasing substantially relative to the previous academic year. This gives us an idea of how international our student body is becoming. Meanwhile, we have classes where some components are offered abroad. This is critical to delivering courses externally and furthering our global footprint. At our Master in Finance, students spend time in Frankfurt to experience life in one of the world’s largest financial markets. Another executive education program of ISEG was produced jointly with Columbia University in New York – wherein students spent a week in the United States. And students also go abroad for their Master’s in IT, visiting Silicon Valley for a week. These are programs that we design to have a component of international study. As the oldest school and a state-owned institution, we are responsible for keeping specific programs in Portuguese. Therefore, we will only deliver some of our education in English because we are accountable to the country and other Portuguese-speaking countries. To this extent, we have joint programs with other universities abroad, such as Angola and Mozambique. We have previously run ISEG programs in countries, but nowadays, we are more cooperators than deliverers as they are developing and growing their structures. Usually, we enrich their programs instead of delivering our own. It is a way to let them grow.

What are the primary development objectives of ISEG going forward?

We will remain committed to sustainability. We are a school that fosters diversity of thought. We have programs oriented to both profit-makers and socially-oriented enterprises. This diversity helps us create programs that adjust to students with objectives in life besides profitability. Even for those programs oriented to generating profit, we teach that profit should be sought after within specific parameters – such as the preservation of the environment, commitment to sustainable organizations, and the fostering of an excellent working atmosphere. We have faith that educating people with this vision does make a difference. Therefore, sustainability is an area that we are developing. We want to be recognized as not only an educator but also a practitioner. We develop programs on sustainability, offering specific programs such as sustainable finance, for example. We also encourage our colleagues to conduct research in this field.

How is ISEG generating value for the Portuguese economy and Portuguese professionals?

For Portuguese society, we work to develop students that go beyond being excellent economists or decision-makers for firms. ISEG wants them to be good citizens. This means that beyond achieving good grades in technical courses, these individuals develop open-mindedness as citizens, participating and suggesting solutions to various vital problems. It is easier to create a good heart into a good economist than to transform a good economist into a good heart.



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