MASTERING EDUCATION

Colombia 2014 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | B2B: HIGHER EDUCATION

Bogotá's universities have polished their offering to a point where local prestige has reflected in international recognition.

Professor Javier Yáñez PhD
PROFESSOR JAVIER YÁÑEZ PHD
Dean
Universidad de Los Andes School of Management
Lina Constanza Stella Leal
LINA CONSTANZA STELLA LEAL
Director of the Masters in Finance & Marketing
Universidad de los Andes

How has the formula behind your institution led to the prestige it enjoys today?

PROFESSOR JAVIER YÁÑEZ PHD From the start, Los Andes has defined itself as a School of Management, rather than a business school. We cover a wider range of issues, from public administration, environmental management, NGOs, and development practice to business. In 2011, we broadened our mission statement to include innovation and the sustainable development of organizations. Earning the Triple Crown—three distinct self-assessment processes—has been a vital force in guiding our school on a path of continuous improvement, internalizing change, raising standards, and shaping global ties. Boasting the Triple Crown fosters relationships and uncovers opportunities with other top schools in Asia, Europe, and North America.

LINA CONSTANZA STELLA LEAL Our faculty was established with the fundamental aim of the University of the Andes, namely to improve the quality of Colombian higher education to an international standard. Our Management Faculty was born from the idea that some of the best professors from our Faculty of Economics promoted; to introduce a new postgraduate concept within the finance and marketing spheres, prioritizing student specialization. And today's many leaders in Colombia's banking system are graduates of our faculty. The same is the case within the marketing field. Additionally, we have been successful in orienting our studies toward both private sector and public organizations, in such a way that our students have detailed knowledge of the differences in the management of, for example, NGOs, public organizations, and private companies.

How do you foster a relationship between academia and the business world and forge the type of links and work experience that you offer to your students?

JY Let me start with the undergraduates; we organize business visits to introduce diverse industries firsthand. Also, for both graduate and undergraduate students, we offer a learning experience called Consultandes, a consultancy through which business firms approach Los Andes, tell us about a particular problem, and we assign teams of students to act as consultants to those firms for a full semester, recommending a solution. Students gain practical experience, the school learns of current issues of concern to business, and firms get valuable solutions and/or alternatives. Once a month, a senior manager or government official is invited as a guest speaker to a session for all Master's students. Every semester we also hold a job fair and company representatives interview students entering the job market and alumni seeking change.

In 2014, Eduniversal ranking named your Master's courses the best in Colombia. What is the secret behind this success?

LCSL We have a strong commitment to quality and hard work, proving that regardless of who is leading the faculty and its MA courses, we have a common strategic goal. Over the past few years, we have also prioritized the recruitment of professors holding PhDs, which without a doubt has taken us to a completely new level in terms of quality. The previously mentioned accreditation and rankings also confirm our attempts to step up our efforts to offer the highest quality university education in the country. For example, at the moment we have as many as 12 professors undertaking a PhD program at other universities, as well as those who already hold a PhD. Ultimately ,90% of our professors will hold PhDs.

How do your dual programs work and which are the leading universities where your students can study?

JY For some years, we have offered dual degrees with Tulane University as well as FIU in Florida and Toulouse in France. In addition to our academic ties with Yale, and our Master's in Development Practice, offered together with Columbia University's Earth Science Institute, we are now reviewing student exchange, executive education, and other partnering opportunities with a long list of schools, including Cornell and Stanford in the US and ESADE in Spain.

What are the competitive advantages of your institution?

LCSL Colombia is one of the most attractive economies in the region, and Bogotá is one of the main drivers of this success. Our university is located in the capital, and we provide business opportunities for our students. Finally, we offer a secure and encouraging environment for students and professionals.