Newly Accredited: Universidade de Lisboa on Earning AACSB Accreditation
Dean Clara Raposo shares how the AACSB accreditation journey helped create stronger bonds and laid out strategic gains the school hopes to see as a result of accreditation.
In this blog series, AACSB is spotlighting business schools around the world that have recently earned AACSB accreditation. We ask the business school leadership about their journey to accreditation and what the new achievement means to them. In this interview, Clara Raposo, dean of Universidade de Lisboa’s ISEG-Lisbon School of Economics & Management, shares how the AACSB accreditation journey helped create stronger bonds within the business school community, as well as the strategic gains the school hopes to see as a result of accreditation.
Why was it important for your school to undergo the rigorous process of earning AACSB accreditation?
In a globalized world, it is fundamental to follow international standards and to be recognized for doing so. This is true for any competitive industry, and more so for business schools. For ISEG Lisbon, being AACSB accredited means three very important things: (1) self-awareness of our identity and goals, (2) a common cause and objective shared by everyone in the school as well as by our alumni and strategic partners (bonding and purpose), and (3) international recognition of our high standards of teaching and research, with the aim of attracting more and even better international students, faculty, and partner schools. Located in the center of a highly attractive city, Lisbon, we expect to strengthen bonds with partners from geographical areas where our presence is not yet very strong.
What did you learn about your school through your accreditation journey?
I learned that people at our school were a lot more resilient and determined than I had initially expected. Despite some hiccups during the long accreditation journey, the entire school supported wholeheartedly the accreditation process, and people were willing to implement change where needed.
What were the most challenging and rewarding parts of the accreditation process?
The most challenging part of the process was defining the criteria for faculty qualification and implementing that system.
At a personal level, the most rewarding part was feeling the pride of our community (faculty, students, professional staff, alumni) when we were preparing for the initial accreditation visit of the peer review team. Those were unforgettable days of sharing and excitement.
For the school as a whole, the most rewarding part has probably been the stronger bonds developed and the engagement around the assurance of learning process.
What impact do you hope to see from having achieved AACSB accreditation?
I hope the international profile of the school increases further. AACSB Accreditation translates into international recognition of ISEG Lisbon’s high standards of teaching and research. Therefore, we expect to attract more and even better international students, faculty, and partner schools. Our beautiful location in the center of a highly popular European capital city should also play a role in making ISEG Lisbon a desirable school of economics and management, and AACSB accreditation will be a catalyst in our internationalization strategy.
What advice would you give to another school approaching the accreditation process?
View this as an opportunity and never as a threat: take your time to debate which are your weaknesses and main objectives with all parties at school. People should not be scared; instead they should be determined and enthusiastic. Be honest about your current identity and set ambitious goals for the future. Convince yourself and others that it is possible to reach them. Listen to your mentors and reviewers. Spend time on your assurance of learning process, and use it to realize how much progress you are making. Be positive about the process and never give up. Remember: no one expects your school to be perfect, but you should be aware of any weaknesses it has and make sure you roll up your sleeves and continuously improve.
Clara Raposo is dean of Universidade de Lisboa’s ISEG-Lisbon School of Economics & Management in Portugal.