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Concentration: Strategy, International Business
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Re: COPPEAD - Info about the program and exchange to Wharton / CEIBS ? [#permalink]
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Hi RookieMBA,
I'm a 1st year student at COPPEAD. Briefly addressing your specific questions:

Does anyone have more info about the quality of the courses, professors and infrastructure?
Professors are top-notch, with extensive academic and professional experience, all of them PhDs or Post-Doc level. Most of courses are case-based, and 90% of cases used are those from top schools (mainly HBS), with a few COPPEAD-written Brazilian cases. Infrastructure is also excellent, facilities are not much different from major international business schools. The only negative side is the distance - COPPEAD campus is a little bit far from downtown, which makes mobility an issue. However, those who don't have a car organize among themselves for pooling or spliting Uber rides, and it works perfectly.

There seems to be some other options in Brazil, in particular FGV, but I do not know much about the reality in the country. What about safety and job opportunities?
Safety in Brazil is always an issue, but honestly nothing to be too concerned about - it's not as dangerous as major newspapers use to claim. As I'm Brazilian and my perception may be biased, I strongly recommend you to reach out to foreign alumni on Linkedin to get a better perspective. However, as far as I'm concerned and based on fellow's experiences, don't worry too much about it.
As for the job opportunities, COPPEAD alumni are in a quite good position. Apart from the brand recognition, the school has a strong network in Brazil, which helps you to get employed after you finished the course. We also organize recruiting events (both for summer job and for full-time positions) and have excellent rapport with large Brazilian companies. For instance, a colleague of mine from Chile managed to get a part-time job yet on 3rd term. Speak Portuguese is probably a good differentiation factor if you're foreign.

Is the exchange program very competitive?
Since spot allocation is based on GPA for mandatory courses, it can change considerably from year to year. Among the mandatory courses both quantitative and qualitative aspects will be tested, so the more balanced are your skills, the better are your chances to get the spot you want.

Some additional information:
- COPPEAD mixes an academic M.Sc and a typical international MBA, which is great because you get the best of two worlds. A not-so-bright side is that you're expected to deliver a final academic research dissertation + article, which is different from most of world-class MBA programs out there.
- Since 2020 they have moved all the classes to the morning period, allowing people to work part-time if they want (unless you really need, I wouldn't recommend working up to the 3rd term, because the academic workload can be quite intensive in the 1st and 2nd terms and you want to get good grades to ensure a spot in the best exchange programs).
- It's not clear in the website, but there are government-funded scholarships available to nearly all the students. They are awarded based on entrance ranking and are available on a monthly basis. The amount it not huge (BRL 1,500), but covers roughly 30-40% of your living costs (in my personal example). Brazilian exchange rates have been quite low, so it's a good moment to be a foreign in Brazil :)

I'll be happy to help (https://www.linkedin.com/in/thiagopsilveira/) should you have any additional questions.
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COPPEAD - Info about the program and exchange to Wharton / CEIBS ? [#permalink]
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Hey RookieMBA,

First, congrats on your GMAT score. Your application should be highly competitive for COPPEAD. TOEFL scores for non-native English-speaking COPPEAD candidates are in the 95-100 range, with some people scoring over 100.

You are correct in your observation that the program is taught entirely in English, with some elective courses taught in Portuguese as well. COPPEAD´s Full-Time MBA program has indeed been listed 10 times since 2001 by the Financial Times and accredited by EQUIS. We have partnerships with many top business schools around the world, such as Wharton and CEIBS, as you mentioned, as well as IE in Spain, Bocconi in Italy and many others.

I am from the US and I actually came to Brazil originally in 2014 to participate in a semester abroad program at PUC, a private Catholic university in Rio. One thing led to another and I ended up back in Brazil for the MBA, which seemed like an obvious choice to me due to my interest in working in LatAm and the local prestige of COPPEAD, besides of course the cost considerations (100% tuition free, plus the possibility of receiving a monthly stipend of 1500 Brazilian reais from the Brazilian federal government, available to Brazilians and foreigners alike). The professors are all extremely highly qualified both in academia and in industry, with all of them holding PhDs and most of them having substantial industry experience as well, which translates into the school having a lot of industry partnerships (international companies among them include LÓreal, Halliburton, Coca-Cola and many others). In the first two terms, the courseload is quite challenging, but it tends to get lighter in the 3rd and 4th terms. The second year is dedicated exclusively to writing an academic thesis paper, as in Brazil the program is technically classified as an academic degree despite its industry orientation. This means that it is a way of pivoting into academia (by continuing on to a PhD program) or into the job market. The infrastructure is also quite good, considering the size of the business school (usually about 40 students participate in the Full-Time MBA program yearly, but COPPEAD also offers an executive MBA program, and a few short-term extension courses for professional development).

The school is located on Ilha do Fundão, close to Rio´s international airport and admittedly a little far from downtown and other áreas where you´d be likely to hang out, but that distance never really posed a major problem. You can access the campus by car (Uber or carpooling with fellow students with cars), or, if you´re adventurous you can take a local city bus, which I took many times and it is generally safe, and commonly used primarily by students and staff at the university.

You are correct in that FGV also does have a similar master´s program (both in Rio and in São Paulo), which also rank highly in many academic circles. The key difference between COPPEAD´s Full-Time MBA program and FGV´s "mestrado" is that FGV is really aimed at people interested in getting into academia, and continuing on to a PhD afterward, while mostly COPPEAD´s program is aimed at people looking to get into industry, though there are some exceptions of course. I applied and was accepted to FGV´s program as well, but my assessment was that FGV didn´t exactly have the industry connections through its master´s program that COPPEAD has.

Regarding safety, it´s no secret that many Brazilian cities, including Rio, appear on many lists of the world´s most dangerous cities. Generally, if you stick to áreas where you know where you´re going and where there are other people around, you shouldn´t have any issues. Just don´t be obvious about carrying around anything of value (jewelry, an expensive-looking watch, walking on the street while holding Money or your cell phone in plain sight) and you´ll be fine. Rio has a public transportation system of subways, buses, light rail, BRTs and a few other modes and even there it´s really uncommon to have any safety issues as long as you try your best to blend in.

Regarding job opportunities, I would say it´s difficult but not impossible to get a job here as a foreigner with a student visa. You didn´t mention where you´re from, but citizens of Mercosur countries and of Portugal have a pretty easy time comparatively at getting residency in Brazil that allows for a work authorization. For other nationalities, there is a new process (since 2017) of converting a student visa into a temporary work authorization visa for up to 2 years, but unfortunately in my experience companies haven´t really heard of it. If you have a path to permanent residency somehow, it becomes a lot easier to get a full-time job in Brazil as a foreigner. Of course, there will be limited opportunities for full-time work without a solid grasp of Portuguese as well. I recently started a job as a consultant at an Italian consulting firm, in their Brazil operation, but I have permanent residency (my wife is Brazilian) and I speak Portuguese. With that being said, there are some other ex-COPPEAD students from outside Brazil that have gotten companies to sponsor them for work visas, so there are still a few possibilities. Also, COPPEAD has an internship program at the beginning of the second year which allows students to participate in short-term paid internships through agreements with COPPEAD, which means that foreigners are also eligible as there is no need for any additional work authorization.

Anyway, there is a lot more I could write here. Overall, my experience at COPPEAD has been quite positive. I am finalizing my master´s thesis and I essentially got out of the program what I was looking for in terms of the academic experience, networking and a job opportunity. Please let me know if you have any other questions, and I think I speak for all of us that posted in saying we really look forward to having you join COPPEAD. Best of luck on your decision.

Gabriel
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Re: COPPEAD - Info about the program and exchange to Wharton / CEIBS ? [#permalink]
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Hi, RookieMBA

I am happy to se that you are considering studying at COPPEAD. I think the replies above answer your questions well, and I agree with the points made there.

I would like to give you my perspective as a Norwegian student that is about to finish my MBA at COPPEAD. Summed up, I have to say that I have had a great time at COPPEAD as a university and in Rio de Janeiro as a city.

I have to admit that I was surprised by the high level of the cohort when I started. As mentioned above, the two first terms are demanding when it comes to work load, but absolutely doable if you do not mind putting some effort into it. The third and the forth term are more International because of the incoming exchange students. On one side, this is great for the diversity in the classes as COPPEAD has recognized partner schools from a great variety of nations and cultures. On the other side, the level of some courses falls because some of the exchange students are putting more energy into their social life than in studying. Anyways, by receiving incoming exchange student from well recognized universities, COPPEAD can also send its students in the opposite direction. I am very happy to be able to follow courses at BOCCONI in Milano this fall.

The fact that Rio de Janeiro is an amazing city attracts a lot of people, including myself. In addition to outstanding landscapes and white beaches, the city has a very rich culture and the Cariocas are always friendly and easy to get in touch with. My cohort was really outstanding, and did it very easy for foreigners to feel welcome at the university and in Rio de Janeiro. Regarding safety, it is very different from my home country, but like most others I adapt ad take my precautions. During my 15 months stay, I did not feel unsafe once.

In company with most of the other universities in South America, COPPEAD is not very known outside its continent. Some might think that this is a significant disadvantage, but I have a different perspective. By holding a grade from a university in a region that many recruiters do not know, helps the candidate stand out of the crowd of appliers. I received a lot of interest for my choice when I applied for jobs. I am sure the MBA from COPPEAD helped me increasing my attractiveness in the market and made it easy for me to receive interesting job offers even before I had graduated.

I hope you find my perspective interesting and relevant for your decision.

Please let me know if you have any doubts.


- Jørgen
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COPPEAD - Info about the program and exchange to Wharton / CEIBS ? [#permalink]
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Hello everyone,

Sorry for the delay in answering you all. I am honestly impressed with the quality of your answers. It helped me a lot to understand COPPEAD as a suitable option for my stay in Brazil. It seems to be an amazing cost-benefit opportunity, since the B-school holds a high standard and it's completely free. It is still hard to believe that a school listed so many times on the FT ranking is free. Additionally, the list of partner schools for the exchange program looks very promising for someone looking for international experiences, as I am.

I hope the COVID-19 pandemic gets controlled soon, so travel restrictions are lifted and we (my girlfriend and I) can move to Brazil.

I wish you all success in your careers and perhaps we will meet in Rio de Janeiro some time in the future.

Kind Regards,

RookieMBA
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Re: COPPEAD - Info about the program and exchange to Wharton / CEIBS ? [#permalink]
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Re: COPPEAD - Info about the program and exchange to Wharton / CEIBS ? [#permalink]