It is the first day of class at a higher education course at the Institute of Technology and Leadership (Inteli). Students arrive and find tables to share with seven other classmates, instead of the traditional individual desks. The rooms are even called ateliers and resemble a coworking space.
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This scene should take place for the first time in February 2022, when the institution plans to start its activities. There, classes will be conducted with incentive to collaborative activities until the end of the educational process: the model is 100% based on projects developed in work groups.
The format is the same across all four degrees offered: computer engineering, computer science, software engineering and information systems. The courses will have content from areas such as data science, artificial intelligence, market intelligence and digital marketing.
The emphasis will be on practical activities. “The distance between what higher education offers and what the job market is looking for is increasing”, says Maíra Habimorad, CEO of Inteli. “The projects are real, based on real demands from real organizations, including NGOs, governments, startups, large companies and others.”
She points out that the market is already quite developed in terms of training developers, but that the preparation of leaders for the technology area is still deficient. “To occupy leadership positions, knowing programming is not enough”, he points out.
The space for Inteli classes is being finalized. The teaching unit will stay at the Technological Research Institute (IPT), as a participant in the IPT Open, the entity’s open innovation program. “What most motivated us to be there is the collaboration with the ecosystem that was formed in that space.”
This is essential for the institution, which is the first to offer higher education courses 100% based on projects in Brazil. To make sure that the methodology is adequate, Inteli has carried out three bootcamps, which 100 students have already gone through. “We already know that the proposal works and works.”
According to Maíra, student engagement was very high in bootcamps. “We had 97% of attendance in classes and, of the 27 who started the first group, 25 completed it. And we were completely unknown, so much so that we didn’t even have a name yet”, she laughs.
When asking participants what kept them engaged, three aspects were highlighted. “They said that what kept them engaged was having a real project, learning topics they already knew but hadn’t learned because they didn’t understand the application, and having a sense of belonging to the group.”
Curriculum grid has three axes
Maíra explains that the curriculum follows what is determined in the curricular guidelines of the Ministry of Education for each course and adds what companies deem important in professionals in these careers. Therefore, Inteli works to develop competences in the areas of computing, business and leadership.
The first year is common for all courses and projects are already defined. “The computing, business and leadership skills that each student needs to learn to develop them are also specified,” says Maíra. “I already know, for example, that the first one is a digital game and the second one is a web application. I just don’t know yet what the market partner will be and what the purpose of each product will be.”
A third of the workload is reserved for projects that will meet the needs of companies of different segments and sizes — here, a supervisor will lead the activities. Another third is dedicated to self-study: for the Inteli team, teaching students to learn on their own is essential. The remaining third is filled with instructional activities. The assessment follows along the same lines: there are exercises to be delivered regularly, tests and, of course, the conduct of the project itself.
The first and second years of the courses have full-time face-to-face classes. In the third year, activities at Inteli are concentrated in the morning and the student can do an internship in the afternoon. In the senior year, he will be able to work all day. “The curriculum starts out very intensive and becomes less intensive throughout the course.”
And what is the Inteli student profile? “We look for non-conformity. Individuals who want to transform their realities and believe that technology is a good tool for that”, emphasizes Maíra. “In addition, we want to encourage female participation: we have several initiatives to attract more and more women to the universe of technology.”
Of the 240 vacancies open for 2022, 90 are for scholarship holders — this represents 37.5% of the total. “We want to have the largest scholarship program for private institutions in Brazil”, says Maíra. Students interested in scholarships will be selected by Inteli social workers.
Scholars will receive, in addition to free access to graduation, an English course, housing 1 km from the campus and food. “We want to have a plural community and, for that, we cannot exclude those who do not have the financial conditions to attend Inteli. A student from another state needs more than just the free tuition.” Paying students, on the other hand, will have to pay R$ 5,500 monthly — which only cover the course.
Among those interested, so far, just over 50% are from the State of São Paulo. The rest come from all states in Brazil and even from other countries, such as Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. “This makes us very happy. It’s exactly what we’re looking for.”
The selection process includes profile, proof and project Reviews. Applications are open until Tuesday (2) and the candidate must answer three open questions about himself. This step is equivalent to writing. The test takes place next Friday (5): it is eliminatory and evaluates only logic and mathematics in 24 questions that must be answered in 60 minutes.
Those approved, then, participate in the design stage. “We want to see how interested parties feel in this environment. We offer three themes for the candidate to choose and prepare for. He then schedules a time to participate in a guided group activity in which we observe his behavioral skills of collaboration, communication and critical thinking.”
Maíra says that the selection process is a kind of tasting course. “The candidate needs to know if he likes this format, as the academic model requires him to work in this way throughout his training.” For her, this selection model allows that even individuals who have not had an elite education can compete. “In the profile assessment, we will analyze where the interested party came from, what he has already achieved and where he wants to go.”
Inteli has institutional support from BTG Pactual and received a donation of R$ 200 million from the family of André Esteves, the bank’s senior partner. Maíra says that there will be no link between the projects developed at the institute and the bank, nor will there be any internship vacancies reserved for students.