Few business schools in Latin America have been successful in developing an international reputation, and as a result are unable to attract as many international students as business schools in Asia, a region which only a decade ago could more easily be compared in terms of the quality and availability of MBA education.
Within the Latin American region, 10 schools have qualified for the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report this year.
The Latin American ratings have shown big changes compared to last year, representing the fact that the business education market in the region is still developing in terms of international employer reputation. A Chilean business school, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile has climbed to the top spot, which further points towards the region’s developing economies.
Chile’s strong commitment to free trade has stimulated large foreign investment. Its market-oriented policies have created significant opportunities for foreign investors to participate in the country’s steady economic growth. Employers are attracted to the future prospects this provides, and therefore need local business leaders to ensure those prospects become reality. This explains why both Chilean business schools featured last year have jumped significantly up the Latin American ratings. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile has made a seven-place climb from eighth place to first and Universidad de Chile making a six-place jump to fourth position.
Over the last decade, Brazil’s economy overtook Mexico’s, which at the beginning of 2000 was the largest economy in Latin America. It is possible that Brazil will lead in oil production, which Mexico has allowed to shrink. There are also opportunities for MBAs to lead in the setting up for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Finally, the country boasts the 10th richest city in the world, and a global financial hub for Latin America in Sao Paulo. This explains why the two Brazilian business schools, both based in Sao Paulo have climbed up the ratings.
Business School Sao Paulo (BSP) has shown consistent improvements, moving up the Latin American ratings year-on-year. It climbed from fifth place in 2009, third in 2010, to second place in 2011. Armando Dal Colletto, dean of BSP says Brazil’s growing economy is one of many attractions for employers: “BSP’s MBA program includes thorough analysis of the current business environment and its trends. This is important as the world is turning its eyes to the emergent countries [in Latin America] such as Brazil because of its strong and solid economic growth, and cultural similarities and affinities to Europe and North America.”
The three Mexican business schools featuring in the ratings: EGADE-Tecnologico de Monterrey at Campus Monterrey; Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM); and IPADE Business School, Universidad Panamericana, have all dropped. This may be due to employers favoring business schools in Chile and Brazil due to how they are performing economically. However, Mexico’s economy has good potential. The latest QS Jobs and Salary Trends Report reveals a 100% increase in employer demand for MBAs within Mexico. Furthermore, the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) means Mexican businesses have extremely favorable trade agreements with those in North America. Last year the country completed US$400 billion worth of transactions with the United States, third behind Canada and China. This could see Mexican business schools moving up the ratings in the near future as multinational corporations based outside Mexico look to recruit local talent in order to improve corporate ties within the country.
INCAE Business School remains the only Costa Rican business school featuring in the QS Global 200 Business School Report, which is in itself no small feat considering the size of the country’s economy and population. It has featured in the Latin American ratings since 2009. Dr Arturo Condo, INCAE president says its prominence in the ratings is due to the program’s focus on emergent economies: “INCAE definitely excels in preparing our graduates to be agents of change in Latin America.”
He continues: “Beyond the traditional MBA courses, the INCAE program addresses and prepares graduates for the unique challenges in Latin American and many other developing countries, including a long history of corruption both in the public sector and private sector, extreme levels of poverty, and little consideration for the environmental impact of decisions.”