You don’t lag, you lead the debate. I simply love it. For me, a person who does not read the FT is not an economist.Economics professor, Insper
An ever-growing business school
Established in 1987, Insper Learning Institution is a Brazilian business school located in Sāo Paulo. Globally renowned and known as one of the best Latin American schools for business and economics, it has grown from an MBA-only school, to its first undergraduate class in 2002, and its first PhD class in 2015. As of 2020, over 6,000 students were enrolled at Insper.
Students can register onto undergraduate and Masters courses in engineering, law, finance, marketing and economics. With such a complex variety of business topics to cover, the requirement for high quality and trusted global information sources is paramount to ensure that theory is backed up with context.
A Financial Times subscription made perfect sense to the faculty, to offer students worldwide insight that would benefit their studies, and future careers. As such, the subscription was promoted and now multiple professors utilise the FT in their teaching.
Encouraging wider reading
Vitória Saddi is an economics professor at Insper, teaching in English about money and finance to Brazilian and foreign undergraduates.
“The most challenging part of my role is to motivate students to read, and to engage in discussions in the lectures,” says Vitória. “It’s a very technical discipline and subject, so it can be a challenge to get my point across. The role of the FT in class is to bring the debate, and to pinpoint it.”
This role in debate is felt not only in the faculty, but also the student body themselves. “In all our classes we have a portion where we discuss what’s going on in the world,” says Bruna Quiroga, an economics student at Insper. “Why are the curves happening in the market? Why are the markets going down? The conversation is always really rich, and when we bring the FT into the debate and into class, the discussion was so much fun.”
It’s clear that this understanding of global economics has to be grounded within the context of the real world. Brazil’s economy is impacted by world events, and therefore reacts based on how the global economy is operating.
“Brazil is a developing country, and we are influenced a lot by the global market, so you need to know what’s happening globally to understand where Brazil’s position is,” agrees Ilan Lebl, another economics student at Insper. “If you see how the markets are reacting outside, you know how the market is going to open for Brazil.”
Ilan has been in and around the financial markets for five years, working in the cryptocurrencies market in Australia. Now he has returned to Insper to complete a course in economics. “The FT is my go-to website for international news. It covers everything through the editorials, and there is no doubt that this is the place I go for my news.”
An international perspective is very important to the students and faculty, with advancing Insper’s internationalisation a key strategic objective. Within the university, they have strengthened partnerships with renowned business schools around the world, but from a learning capacity, the Financial Times offers the global insight that students and faculty need to ground their understanding within context.
João Mascolo, an undergraduate and MBA professor at Insper, uses the FT in his classes on analysing the economic environment, and applied macroeconomics. “In class, I will tell students to take a look at a section, take a look at this article, and then I dedicate the first half an hour of my classes to discuss news articles,” he says. “Sometimes we’ll look at Brazilian coverage, but most of the time, we explore the FT.”
The need for trusted intelligence is vital when educating students on the financial markets. “I tell my students, if you don’t read widely, the course will not make sense,” João says. “You’re not following the economic environment. And if you want to follow the economic environment, the Financial Times is the best source.”
Vitória has gone a step further in integrating the FT’s coverage into her classes. “The FT is part of my grading criteria in class,” she says. “Reading the FT, talking about the headlines; I make sure to link class discussion back to that context. All my students have access to it, and they should be using it.”
Preparing students for the future
Of course, using global analysis isn’t just for the classroom. Insper professors have been using the FT’s insights and information to help their students prepare for working life in careers in finance, business and economics.
“My students are in their last year of their undergraduate degree, and they are taking internships all across the world,” Vitória says. “The FT not only helps them in my classes, but also because they know they have to talk to their colleagues about what’s happened, and apply that context to real life situations.”
João agrees: “Most graduate students are interns in financial institutions, who are interested in the company they work for, but have less insight into the economic environment. By utilising the FT, and giving them objectives to read some specific articles, they can get a better overview of what’s going on.”
The FT not only helps them in my classes, but also because they know they have to talk to their colleagues about what’s happened, and apply that context to real life situations.Economics professor, Insper
Even prior to gaining internships, João’s students find value in the understanding gained from using the FT’s company coverage.
“My students can look at the Financial Times prior to an interview, and get a deeper analysis of the company,” says João. "I’ve received lots of positive feedback from students saying the questions were very close to what we read in class, with the Financial Times giving an excellent view of what’s going on in the world."
“All the best pieces of global news come from the FT,” says Vitória. “The FT has a very global and European view, which I like. You don’t lag, you lead the debate. I simply love it. For me, a person who does not read the FT is not an economist.”
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