Professor Antonio Roberto De Oliveira is visiting Finland and Tampere for the first time. He wanted to learn more about Tampere University of Applied Sciences which has been a model and partner for the Rio Branco Faculties in Brazil for seven years now.
This is your first time in Tampere. How has it been so far?
The city is amazing. I like it a lot. It was one of the most important experiences in my life. So many things to learn, impressions and suggestions to take back home with me and introduce to my country and to the institution I work for. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to explore places, but I plan to do that when I return in September.
So you intend to come back. Will it be related to the existing connection between TAMK’s Proacademy and the Rio Branco Faculties?
Definitely. The relationship between Rio Branco and TAMK started seven years ago. The aim was to bring back to Brazil different teaching and learning experiences. During my research period as a Brand Consultant for Rio Branco, I understood that we need to change a lot and to be perceived as an innovative institution. We need to differentiate because the competition in Brazil is enormous. And we have to do that immediately. The best time is now.
How will the students benefit from these changes?
Two years ago, I added my entrepreneurship skills to the courses introducing a collaboration system where the teacher is the facilitator and the student is the protagonist. Sometimes I think that the student wants a step by step recipe. And there is no recipe, really. You have to do your own methodology and decide the best way to learn. As a result, students are more creative and engaged.
I know you take groups of students to the Brunel University of London every year for an exchange experience. Would you consider Finland at any point?
We have been going to London for ten years now for the International Branding week. I’m also considering coming to Finland for an exchange experience as an addition to that. And TAMK students can come to Brazil to visit some companies, do some networking and enjoy the Brazilian lifestyle. Sao Paolo, the city I live in, is very beautiful. There are many things to do and explore like art galleries, theaters, a variety of cuisines and a great nightlife. There is even a small town called Penedo in the southern side of Rio founded by Finnish settlers.
You are known to be one of the first pioneers in branding in Brazil. What made you choose branding and neuromarketing in particular?
In 1998, I went to Montreal, Canada to attend the 10th International Corporate Identity Conference on branding and the main topic was brand identity. After three hours, I realized this was something completely new to me. Nobody talked about branding in Brazil. I went back home and decided to change everything. But there was a problem. I couldn’t find a bibliography on the subject. So I contacted the people I met at the conference and they sent me books and materials to study.
What was the biggest challenge in your professional activity until now?
I’ve done a lot of work and research in the education branding field, but the most challenging project is with the Rio Branco Faculties. Our goal is to develop the viewpoints through research, design thinking and new strategies. This is very challenging to me. I love this project.
You lead a very busy life. You teach at different institutes, you are a speaker and you also write prefaces on several books on Branding and Design Thinking. How do you manage to find the balance between work and personal life?
Ask my wife (he laughs). I like traveling a lot so I do that a lot, especially for work. When I’m at home though, I spend my time with my wife and our children. We like going to the countryside a lot. And to eat chocolate fondue.
Interview has been condensed and edited.
Text: Andruta Ilie
Photos: Essi Kannelkoski