BEACON OF KNOWLEDGE

Portugal 2019 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

Atlantica University differentiates through its company-university model and an MBA program in partnership with the University of California, Berkley, among other initiatives, to produce practical theoreticians.

Carlos Guillén Gestoso
BIOGRAPHY
Carlos Guillén Gestoso is a professor of work and organizational psychology and is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Bologna, Italy. Between 2009 and 2017, he was President of Carbures SA and has been the Counselor Carbures Group Board since 2008. He is Director of the Spanish Observatory for Social Responsibility and Organizations, as well as Director of the Portuguese Observatory for Social and Business Responsibility. He combines these functions with the Presidency of the EIA Group, Portugal, and Carbures Foundation, Spain and is responsible for the Research of Labor Sciences Group.

The Atlantica University was created 23 years ago. What have been its main achievements and goals?

Four years ago, the Carbures group decided to invest in Atlantica University to develop a training and research project through the creation of new studies to enhance the fundamental know-how of Carbures: engineering, aeronautics, and materials. The model has changed radically during these four years because it integrates the company's vision within the university; our differentiator is the company-university model. The company is the manager of research and training. The requests, orientation, and structuring begin at the company, in such a way that the university is an instrument that goes hand in hand with the company. Training that is not supported by a company and does not cover the company itself will produce good professionals but not practical theoreticians. The connection with the company allows us to establish programs and curricular units close to the company's reality. An example is the creation of the School of Engineering, which in turn has three areas of focus: aeronautics, materials, and management and production. Carbures needed to focus on the creation of future engineers of the company. To that end, we created an alternative program of studies adapted to the company through operational stays: co-regular practices. All students at all levels pass through the manufacturing plants of Carbures and Airbus in Spain twice a year. The convergence between Airbus and Carbures needs engineers and complementary studies, and we can create a different professional role in that regard. Through this, the students develop an experience that is unique in Portugal.

Do aeronautics students go to Spain or local companies?

A large percentage of the students go to work at Carbures because they have a theoretical-practical background that offers different things. The model encourages the approach of the company to the university, fosters differential and operational training, creates a cycle of training for Carbures engineers to be trained through Atlantica with up-to-date information, and creates a feedback cycle because the curricula of engineering are made from the real needs of an engineer in aeronautics or composite materials. This model encourages technical professional competence as well as the transmission of knowledge. Moving forward, we will start another line of research with the Carbures Foundation to develop concrete products in the area of composite materials. The Atlantica University is an instrument of the company to cover its social, welfare, and specialized training areas, which in turn allows the university to grow with specialized training as well as new know-how and real knowledge transmission.

What projects have been developed with other international institutions?

The Atlantica University has signed agreements with other institutions during the last four years. The fundamental driving force for the development of new agreements is the Carbures Foundation. The Carbures Foundation intends to promote and strengthen the Carbures brand, which was born in the university. We created a consortium between Carbures, Carbures Foundation, and Atlantica for the applied engineering in aeronautics and materials. This consortium opens the possibility of developing research delegations of Atlantica in the US to generate applied research agreements and partnerships.

What percentage of local and international students does Atlantica have?

We have around 2,300 students in total, and international students make up 30% of that. While Spanish and French students are common in the health area, Italian students have higher presence in the area of engineering and management. Moreover, we have students from Tanzania, Gambia, Angola, Mozambique, and Brazil.

How does your partnership with Berkley work?

This project was awarded to us by a Spanish company that has an agreement with Berkley. Students can spend four to fifth months doing their master's degree in Berkley and choose their desired course. At the end of the program, students can work in a company of choice in Silicon Valley for a year.