Human capital has long been a major issue for outsourcers looking to establish operations in Latin America, but the issue usually mentioned is a dearth of technical employees (outside of a few hot spots like Monterrey, Guadalajara, São Paolo and Santiago). However, as outsourcing operations have expanded over the last couple of years, global employers across a wide range of fields are also reporting difficulties in finding high-level, well-educated management employees (typically MBAs or equivalent) in Latin America.
Until recently, larger companies generally either hired local business management who had earned their MBAs at US or European universities or brought in their own management employees, but the scale of the demand is making this model more and more impractical, and employers are having to turn to locally-educated business and management talent.
Government and business leaders in Latin America are well aware that their educational systems are not producing enough highly-qualified graduates to meet the demands of employers, and have developed various initiatives over the last few years to improve education at all levels. An especially big push has been made to improve human capital through upgrading secondary and post-secondary educational institutions in the more rapidly developing areas like Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Argentina, and not surprisingly educational institutions in these countries dominate the top MBA program rankings.
The list of six of the top Latin American MBA programs presented below is taken from the QS Global Business Schools Report 2012 and reflects 2011 statistics. These rankings are derived from questions posed to over 2000 employers who hire graduating MBAs, and reflect their current opinions. It should be noted that only 10 Latin American business schools made the global top 200 list. Also keep in mind that these ratings are subjective and should not be construed as a recommendation of a specific institution over another.
1. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile has five campuses (four in Santiago) and enrolls over 20,000 students annually. PUC was founded in 1888 and has been in a leadership position in offering research and graduate programs among Chilean universities for many years. PUC has developed into national center for research and academic programs in social science, natural sciences, economics, agriculture, philosophy and fine arts. PUC has also developed a strong business program over the last few years, and has vaulted from 9th place to first place among Latin American MBA programs in just two years (from 2011 to 2012 it moved up seven places from 8th to first).
2. Business School São Paolo
The Business School São Paolo is a relatively new institution, as it was founded in 1995, but it has rapidly developed into one of the most well-regarded business schools in Brazil and in Latin America more generally. BSP came into being though the efforts of a group of Brazilian businessmen and academics who saw the growing need for a top-flight business school with no specific governmental affiliations. BSP has been designed to emulate the curriculum of top US and European business schools, and has a reputation for producing graduates who can make real contributions right out of school. BSP moved up from third place in 2011 to second place in 2012 among Latin American MBA programs.
3. Fundação Getulio Vargas, São Paulo
Fundação Getulio Vargas, São Paulo (GV) was created in 1954 as a joint government-private project, and was designed and developed with the collaboration of Michigan State University (US). GV rapidly developed into a well-known regional university, and was one of the top universities in Brazil by the 1990s. Both business administration and public administration have been at the heart of GV mission from the early years, and the last few years has seen GV become one of the preeminent business schools in Latin America. GV is especially well-known for the quality and wide variety of its partnerships and internship programs with other international educational institutions.
4. Universidad de Chile
Universidad de Chile is the both the largest and oldest university in Chile. It was founded in 1842, and was by far the dominant educational institution in Chile until 1973 when the military government took a number of steps to reduce the size and influence of the institution. UC has significantly recovered from the political repression of the 1970s and 80s, and is once again blossoming as the intellectual heart of Chile. UC offers 13 campuses with over 26,000 students, including over 4500 graduate students studying in internationally-regarded programs in the social sciences, architecture and business as well as other fields.
5. EGADE Tecnologico de Monterrey
EGADE Monterrey, established by the Mexican government in the mid-1970s, has been among the top business schools in Latin America for more than a decade. It has slipped a couple of places in the rankings the last few years, but the 1100 MBA/MPA students who attend classes at EGADE Business School Monterrey are still getting a top-notch business education and will certainly be in great demand among employers when they graduate.
6. IAE Business School, Universidad Austral
IAE Business School, Universidad Austral, is located in suburban Buenos Aires, and is designed as a business education institution for those who already have at least three years of professional experience. IAE Business School was founded in 1991 with a good deal of support from the upper echelon of the Argentine business community and rapidly developed into a world class institution by developing a modern internationally-focused curriculum and hiring several high-quality faculty members. IAE has also established a partnership with Harvard Business School. IAE has been consistently ranked as one of the top half a dozen business schools in Latin America for over a decade now.