Education in Brazil: Overview of Trevisan Business School

Fernando Augusto Trevisan gives an overview of higher education in Brazil and presents Trevisan Business School, an institution offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses in all areas of business studies, such as accounting, administration, taxes, risk management, company compliance, etc.

Interview with Fernando Augusto Trevisan, Director of Trevisan Business School

Fernando Augusto Trevisan

Can you give us an overview of higher education in Brazil specifically for the business sector?

This sector has changed a lot over the last 15 years ever since the government made it easier to open new higher education institutions. Before these changes the market was very restricted. In 1997 there was a new legislation that allowed private sector companies with sufficient funds to open higher education institutions. Consequently there has been a huge increase in faculties, universities and other education institutions and a huge increase in places available for all courses. This means that the demand for education can now be met, whilst it was impossible to do so before.

Our DNA is corporate business. We started as a business and so our teachers are people who have real experience in the business world and not just an academic background. This means that our classes are very realistic, they give the students a real idea of what they are going to find once they leave the classroom and enter the market.


There has been a real boom in this market in the last few years. Today there are plenty of new institutions and access has been facilitated greatly for any student who wishes to complete higher education. In the last 5 years we can see that the sector has become much more consolidated with lots of fusions and acquisitions and also the opening up of capital for certain entities. The sector has grown organically along with many other sectors in Brazil. There was a huge increase in availability of courses to begin with and then after a natural process of adjustment just the main players in the sector have remained. On one hand we have the large companies and on the other hand the companies and institutions that are specialised and focused in certain areas. This is where we are at the moment: in this process of adjustment. As a consequence, we are experiencing a reshuffle of the main players in the sector.

Can you tell us a bit about your institution: Trevisan Business School?

Trevisan Business School was founded in 1999 right at the moment when the market was opening up to private institutions. However the Trevisan Company celebrated 30 years in business last year as we are also a consultancy and auditing company. Hence the Trevisan Company as a whole was founded in 1983.

In 1999 we decided to launch a business school, born precisely from our corporate business background that would have a direct relationship with the employment and corporate markets. This is something that we feel is often lacking in many academic institutions which are set up by teachers who are very good at the research and theory side of things but can often be quite distant from the actual working market. Our objective was to create a business school that could be really close to the actual market to be totally aware of market requirements and therefore able to train people to fulfil these demands.

We offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in all areas of business studies e.g. accounting, administration, taxes, risk management, company compliance, etc. We cover all areas to do with corporate business, particularly focusing in areas to do with finances, accounting and regulations. We also offer short courses in these areas.

Trevisan Business School

How many branches does Trevisan have at the moment?

We have 3 branches: the headquarters are in Sao Paulo. We also have a branch in Rio de Janeiro and another in Riberão Bonito, a city in the interior of the State of Sao Paulo that was opened 5 years ago.

Trevisan was and is a very well-known company in the market but we understand the importance of expanding and so opened up new branches in Rio de Janeiro, the second most important city in the country and in the state of Sao Paulo, a relatively rich region with a demand for management and business training.

Other than these branches we also offer distance learning to be able to reach students in all regions of Brazil.

Can you tell us about Trevisan Gestão de Esporte or Sport Management which I believe is a new area that you have created?

This is a new area in Brazil; in fact we were pioneers in this sector. We created the first course in Brazil for Sport Management in 2001. Now, Brazil has an amateur sports industry but that was not the case in 2001. We saw that there was a niche in the market for training people specifically to work in this market and for qualifying people who were already working in the sector. Since 2001 we have really grown a lot in this department and we now offer a MBA in Sport Management and Marketing. We also offer these courses in Rio de Janeiro where they have been quite successful. We have had more than 550 students qualify in these courses. We currently have 6 groups of post graduate training. It is one of the best courses in Brazil.

Furthermore we perceived that there were also some specific demands within the sector, so we created smaller courses focused in particular areas such as arena management, which is a really new area in Brazil to do with the stadiums that are being modernised for the upcoming World Cup. This is also an area that has a very limited qualified workforce and so we are working to train people with our new course. We have created a semi distance learning course for this, to be able to reach those students who can´t access our branches. We have also created courses relating to sport sponsorships and courses that are of short duration such as two days courses. We offer a great variety of courses to do with all aspects of the sporting industry. Trevisan is very well known for its courses in this area of expertise.

As your company is directly linked with the sporting industry and with Brazil about to hold the Football World Cup, how would you evaluate Brazil´s performance in terms of the sporting management for this event?

For the sporting industry and in this case specifically the football industry, the lack of a facilities to hold the World Cup accelerated a series of developments in areas in which the country was falling behind. The principal example of this development was with our stadiums that were truly in a bad state. Over a short period of time, due to the World Cup we now have two stadiums that are of international standards. Furthermore we have another two that are about to be inaugurated: the Gremio Stadium and the Palmeiras Stadium. They are not going to be used for the World Cup but they are a result of this process of development. Thus we are seeing a modernisation of the Brazilian stadiums that was definitely needed. This modernisation is a benefit that the World Cup has brought to our country, it has accelerated this process that in fact should have been happening before hand.

There was already a movement towards a more professional sporting industry and football industry in Brazil but Fifa and the World Cup have really brought some of the best international names in sporting management to offer advice and put us on the right road for the following years to come. The World Cup lasts just 30 days so what we really need to do is absorb all of the knowledge and experience that is being brought to Brazil for this relatively short event and use it to make huge advancements in our sporting industry for the long term.

The frustration that is being felt is because a lot more could have been done. People expected that the World Cup would have brought many more benefits, particularly improving our poor infrastructure, urban mobility and airports. Unfortunately little has been done in this respect. Much more could have been done as a result of the World Cup and that is why people feel that the country hasn’t taken advantage of this great opportunity. In any case I believe there is still time to make the most of the World Cup and the Olympics to really move forward with international tourism. Brazil currently attracts very few international tourists: only 6 million foreign tourists visit Brazil per year. If you compare that with a country like Mexico for example: a country similar to ours but which attracts four times as many tourists. Therefore there is still great, untapped potential for tourism in Brazil. These large international events are a great form of publicity to promote information about our country. It can work in our favour if we manage to pull off an excellent event and attend to the tourists in the best possible manner. However if we do not do this it will be bad publicity for the country. A great risk is that tourists are going to find this an expensive country because at the moment we are seeing excessively high prices for example for hotels, restaurants and air tickets. This kind of thing could put tourists off from coming here in the future. The risk of being seen as an expensive country is one that even the president of Embratur has highlighted. As I said, the World Cup has all the potential to increase our international tourism but it could also lower it.

Trevisan also works with executive education, giving courses of short duration which are aimed at business people. Can you tell us a bit more about this?

The Brazilian economy is very dynamic, principally in terms of legislation and taxes. This means that periodically we have to keep updated with all the new rules and regulations. Therefore we offer a series of short courses for professionals to be aware of and to understand these things. We have a specific team that gives these courses. Furthermore we offer customised in-company courses. A company may hire us to give specific courses according to the company´s needs. This has become a very popular service that we offer. We can offer courses of short duration or we can offer post graduate courses in-company and exclusive to each company.

education in Brazil

What makes Trevisan stand out compared to other business schools out there?

Well our DNA is corporate business. We started as a business and so our teachers are people who have real experience in the business world and not just an academic background. This means that our classes are very realistic, they give the students a real idea of what they are going to find once they leave the classroom and enter the market. We also train our teachers to use a methodology that is suitable for current times. Our classrooms all use hi-tech equipment. Right from the start in 1999 we asked our students to use their laptops in our classes. Our whiteboards are digitalised which makes our teaching method very efficient because the teachers don’t waste time writing on the board like in the old days. Our students can enjoy a more agreeable learning environment and style that is very dynamic and interactive. Our teachers don’t only cover the theory but they offer a more complete learning experience by also orienting the students with case studies and real experience. All of this gives our institution a very different profile from others on the market. We don’t have one common IT laboratory like many universities, instead we have technology in every classroom just as most companies will have technology in every office.

You have 3 branches in Brazil and you offer distance learning but do you have expansion plans to open up new branches in Brazil or maybe even abroad?

Our idea is to expand in Brazil via our distance learning programs and also eventually with some partnerships. If there are some teaching institutions in other states that would like to use our methodology or our brand we could come to an agreement where we use our courses in partnership with those companies. This is something that we want to move forward within the next few years.

In terms of international deals, we have a partnership with a University in the United States in West Virginia. Our graduate students can spend 6 months studying in the States, gaining excellent international experience and those credits will be counted as part of our course. In the same way we want to welcome students from that university to come and study here in Brazil. It is a bit harder to organise because of the language issue but our aim is that this really becomes a true exchange program.

We also have some specific partnerships in the area of sport management, particularly in arena management. We have a partnership with Amsterdam Arena which is one of the most important multiuse arenas in Europe. It is a stadium that is more than 15 years old. Some of our teachers here in Brazil are professionals from Amsterdam Arena. Also we offer an additional international module for our students where they can spend a week as work experience with Amsterdam Arena. We are always open to these kind of opportunities that will complement our students´ learning experience.

So these partnerships are often more like exchanges. Would you be interested in financial investment from a foreign partner?

We are noticing that there is increasing interest in the higher education sector here, particularly on behalf of foreign investors and companies. There are already some foreign companies in this sector who have bought up Brazilian companies. Thus we think that we could find some kind of synergy with an international company. Our philosophy is to find good partnerships that will allow our company to prosper into the future. I don´t rule out any possible agreements in the future.

How do you see the sector in two or three years´ time?

Brazilian education sector

I think the process of consolidation that we are experiencing now will come to an end. I think that the larger institutions are going to be bigger still and there will be fewer of them. We have recently seen the fusion of two of the top three Brazilian higher education companies: Kroton and Anhanguera, which has created one gigantic company. I think that this tendency is going to continue and the market is going to become more concentrated. I think that perhaps 50% of the market could belong to these gigantic institutions. On the other hand we are going to have smaller institutions that are going to be very specialized: each attending to a specific niche in the market.

We are going to have two very clear models: the large institutions who are looking for large numbers and are going to need to follow set methodology and also the smaller more recent companies. The most important thing is not to become stuck in the middle. Our company is heading more to the smaller niche side of the market. We want to remain one of the top players in the areas that we are strongest in: accounting and sport management.

In terms of your company, what would you like to achieve over the next two or three years?

I would like to have even better quality standards in terms of the qualifications that we are given by the Ministry of Education and also other important market indicators. We hope to keep on improving our service.

We also want to be able to expand beyond our current units. Through partnerships and through our distance learning programs we want to be able to reach more students all over Brazil. Those are probably the two main objectives for the coming years.

Is there anything else that you would like to add which might be of interest to potential investors?

We are a company that has a niche market, therefore we aren’t a huge company such as some of the big players in the market. We have close to 150 professionals working for us today, both teachers and staff. We receive close to 3000 students a year who come to study our various courses. We also have close to 20 corporate clients who use our in-company courses.

In terms of consultancy, do you have demand from foreign executives for these courses?

We had quite a lot of interest in recent years for our sports management courses from people from Portugal, perhaps due to factors such as the crisis that was really hitting Europe, the fact that we speak the same language and also the perception that Brazil was going to grow a lot in this sector. There was a lot of migration of Portuguese people coming to Brazil and many were interested in our courses to be able to enter the market here. One of our Portuguese students actually became one of our teachers as he has experience in arena management.

What would be your message to an international investor thinking about coming to Brazil, particularly to invest in the higher education sector?

There are still a lot of opportunities in the Brazilian market even though there has been some frustration regarding the growth of the economy over the last couple of years. I think there are still gaps in some areas that can be filled by international investors, and I would say that higher education is one of them. There are still a lot of young people who are not in university; only 13% of young people between 17 to 23 years of age are in higher education. There is still a long way to go in this area. In the last couple of years the government has developed a way to finance students at a very low interest rate, which means that so many more people now have access to university and higher education. We need more players in the market to get more young people studying.


This material (including media content) may not be published, broadcasted, rewritten, or redistributed. However, linking directly to the page (including the source, i.e. is permitted and encouraged.

Scroll to top