Application for Nova SBE in Lisbon

Application & Admission
  • Posted by salieri on 02/25/14 8:39pm

    Dear Thomas,

    I have a few questions regarding my chances to get into one of the universities offering the CEMS program. I am currently in the last semester of my undergraduate studies in international cultural and business studies at the University of Passau in Germany. I will probably not achieve a final grade better than 2,5 ( German system) so I'm clearly not a top student.
    Moreover, I spent 8 months at a university abroad and finished two internships. (6 months in consulting, one month for an NGO). Besides German, I speak English and Spanish fluently, have medium French and basic Greek skills and would like to start with Portuguese.

    I know that it will be impossible to get into the top schools in my situation that is why I am particularly interested in the MiM program from Nova SBE in Lisbon. Do you know anything about the selection criteria? Their page says that no GMAT, nor letters of recommendations are required - on the one hand an advantage for me as I could apply ahead with the opening of the application period the 3rd of March without spending time on the GMAT preparation, on the other, a good GMAT score could put less weight to my bad final grade.

    I can imagine that it will be harder to get accepted for the CEMS program. Should I try it anyway?
    Will my chances be higher if I just apply for the MiM program? I heard the two selection processes are independent from each other though. Another option would be to apply for one of the double degree programs. Nova SBE does not require an application fee which is a plus.

    I was planning to apply for the Catolica in Lisbon at the same time and trying to go on exchange from there. In this case CEMS would not be an option, but the school does fairly well in the rankings nevertheless.

    I am interested in the two Portuguese universities because their fees are quite low (around 9000€, 16000€ for CEMS though), high life quality and low costs of living in the country.

    My plan B would be applying for schools in UK. I was thinking about Manchester Business School but I am happy for suggestions.

    My actual question is if I can hope to be accepted by any of the better business schools or if I have to lower my standards. Could you give me any suggestions on how to raise my chances?

    I am looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Posted by Thomas Graf on 02/26/14 11:24am

      Hi there,

      thank you for your questions.

      When reading through your message, my first thought was: Don't bash your CV too much. 2.5 may not be "top" but it is neither a 3 nor worse. Also, your CV looks good. Studies abroad, two internships, consulting and NGO, and several languages. Every school that looks a little bit beyond academic grades only should at least have a look at you.

      I am not sure about your chances ESCP, HEC and LBS - if you like these schools I would give it a try (provided that you make a GMAT of 650+), even though they emphasize academic grades a lot. Furthermore, there are schools such as IE Business School, EMLYON, or ESSEC among the so-called top schools that openly say that they consider non-academic achievements as well.

      I am saying this just for the case that you are somehow interested in schools from the higher positions in the FT MIM Ranking and didn't dare to even consider them so far.

      As for the Nova School: If you are interested in the school, the MIM, and the CEMS MIM there, why don't you apply for both programs? Even if this would costs a fee, what are these fees in comparison to the overall costs that will have anyway? Overall, I like your idea to do the CEMS MIM as this would provide you access to a huge network. You are right that the CEMS emphasizes a lot on academic achievements and may not accept you - but I would give it a try.

      If you feel better assessing your chances in advance, here are some things you can do:
      (1) You can contact the Nova School and CEMS and just ask them.
      (2) You can contact the CEMS team through this platform by using the REQUEST INFO button here. Of course, this will not be the NOVA CEMS team but the CEMS headquarter in Paris and part of their answer will be that the decision lays in the hand of Nova. But you probably will receive a first feedback that may indicate you already a bit whether applying may be worth it - and you don't risk anything.

      As for your overall plans, I wouldn't focus only on schools because the fees are low. Instead, I would also have a look at the career services they offer, which firms come to campus, and where the students start to work afterwards. Every good school should provide that data - and if not I wouldn't study there. If you want to work in the UK, I would strongly (though not exclusively) consider UK schools. Make a list of the most interesting schools for you - e.g. by determining which schools welcomes employers for whom you want to work later on - and prioritize them according to tuition fees. Maybe you find a school from the UK that is in the "mixed zone" such that the costs are bearable for you and the school's employer network includes some of your target employers.

      If you decide for schools outside of the UK and you still want to work in the UK, make sure that the school welcomes international employers.

      Best wishes
      Thomas

      by Thomas Graf

    • Posted by salieri on 02/26/14 7:11pm

      Thank you so much for your answers, Thomas.
      I did not choose Nova SBE just for financial reasons. I'm as well interested in spending time in Portugal, learning a new language and the impact on my future career. ( e.g. connection to Brazil)
      I am still trying to figure out if the school is that highly regarded in other countries than Portugal, but, as you said, an e-mail to the school would probably answer most questions.

      • Posted by Thomas Graf on 02/27/14 11:27am

        Hi there,

        thank you. I understand now that you want to study at Nova for more reasons than just financial considerations. That makes sense to me. I find particularly interesting your strategy to look for a European school with a brand in or connections to Brazil.

        Asking the school itself indeed should be a good idea. Do the Nova people have a plan here and can they even give you some good arguments for why their studies provide a benefit for people who want to work in Brazil? Or do they have no clue on this? You can even ask them about whether any of their graduates works in Brazil and whether you could contact this person. Finally, you could ask firms in Brazil if they know Nova.

        Just some ideas and you may develop more by yourself.

        Best wishes
        Thomas

        by Thomas Graf

    • Posted by salieri on 03/03/14 4:44pm

      Thank you again, Thomas!

      Sorry to bother again but right now I'm facing a little dilemma. I want to apply for the program as soon as possible, yet I'm still waiting for two grades that hopefully should push my current average significantly upwards. (Right now there's an ugly 3,0 on my transcript)
      At the same time, the Nova page states that early applications are recommended. That's why I don't want to wait too long.

      What would be your suggestion for my situation? Apply with a worse grade and eventually get an "early applicant" bonus or wait and apply with better grades and risk your admission.

      • Posted by Thomas Graf on 03/03/14 11:40pm

        Hi there,

        I understand the problem - but honestly, I would simply contact and ask them. There is nothing to lose in my opinion.

        If they recommend you not to apply since they perceive your chances of acceptance as too low you can apply when you have the better grades - AND you can refer on your previous conversation with them (and then, when you have the grades, maybe even let the same person know that you actually have the better grades and will apply now so that he or she can have a look at it bypassing the typical process).

        If they recommend you to apply now then you can apply without risking much to do the wrong thing (given that it's there recommendation).

        If you feel uncomfortable asking them, I would apply now and mention the additional expectable grades in your introduction. Maybe they accept you: great. Maybe they give you a conditional offer (conditinal on your sooncoming grades): fine. Maybe they reject you - then apply again when you have the grades.

        Best wishes
        Thomas

        by Thomas Graf

    • Posted by rigel on 03/24/15 1:18pm

      Dear Salieri,

      I am interested in the Msc program from Nova SBE in Lisbon. Do you know anything about the selection criteria since you too were trying to find an answer for the same? Their page says that no GMAT, nor letters of recommendations are required - on the one hand an advantage for me as I could apply ahead with the opening of the application period of March without spending time on the GMAT preparation, on the other, a good GMAT score could put less weight to my bad final grade.
      Could you give me any suggestions on how to raise my chances in order to be accepted by Nova SBE school?

      I am looking forward to hearing from you.

      Thanks in advance!