TBY talks to Gabriel Rovayo, Director General of IDE Business School, on the evolution of the school and the expansion of its international profile.

How has IDE contributed to the development of higher education in Ecuador?

Our institution was established in 1993 and we started with high-profile business management course for CEOs, which attracted the leaders of the main companies in Ecuador. Over the years, we have specialized in training professionals and people, as our education offers values as well. Since 2006, we are among the top-20 Latin American business schools, and the top business school in Ecuador; we prepare the future business leaders of Ecuador and the entire region. We put huge emphasis on social responsibility, ethics, and making Ecuador and its leaders a more attractive investment destination for foreign investors. Over the years, we have expanded our course portfolio and extracurricular activities in order to broaden the scope of activity of the institution. Today, IDE Business School's brand and its academic staff are highly recognized in the entire region. Therefore, we have positively contributed to the development of Ecuador and its business sector for two decades now.

How has IDE sought to build up its international profile over the past 20 years?

We have an extensive network of international partnerships and agreements with schools in Mexico, Germany, France, Italy, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Guatemala, Spain, and Brazil. These agreements enable us to boost student and professor exchange, and we always aim to strengthen our international profile to improve research activities, programs, and make our activity more global and recognized. Currently, we have agreements with 17 business schools from four different continents. We are also strategic partners for Harvard in Latin America for research projects. At the same time, these agreements contribute to build larger and more global network communities for businesspeople in the region.

“IDE seeks to consolidate its position as a social influence in Ecuadorean society."

What other future projects is IDE currently working on?

The most important project is the establishment of the Banana Research Center, which will be inaugurated in 2013. The objective of this center is to boost research in the banana industry and provide training opportunities for businessmen and women in the sector. In addition, we are developing several projects with the Ecuadorean agribusiness industry in order to help optimize resources and production, developing leadership and innovation. We are also in the first stages of the development of the Banking Innovation Center, which aims to provide tools for the further development of the banking sector. IDE also has a data center that provides macro and micro economic statistical information, and in 2013 we opened the Center for the Development of Women, which aims to research and boost female leadership in the business industry. We will also implement women-oriented business programs to this end.

How do you see IDE evolving in the next few years?

IDE seeks to consolidate its position as a social influence in Ecuadorean society, contributing to its development from many points of view: research, education, and values. In addition, we want to consolidate our position as a key player in the provision of leading businessmen and women for the country and its future development. We also want to transform the way Ecuadorean businesspeople interact, and ensure that social commitment and ethic values are pillar elements in that. Also, we must make of our research activity a leading source of data and information for the country and the region. I personally believe that we need to continue innovating and promoting the establishment of technical and specialized centers within Ecuador and make these centers global players through alliances and partnerships. Our staff body is composed of 80 people, counting our two campuses in Quito and Guayaquil.

What are the most demanded courses?

We have two types of programs: Bachelor's and Master's degrees. Regarding the former, our courses for business leaders (CEOs) and management members are both in high demand. Also, we have an SME-oriented course that is becoming more popular in recent years.

What sectors do your students come from?

Most of them come from the finance and banking sector, industry, communications, or law. Overall, the breakdown of our students shows that they come from many different backgrounds and sectors.

In your opinion, what steps should be taken to further develop the higher education sector in Ecuador?

The country is undergoing key and much-needed reforms in the higher education sector, and I believe these are the right changes. We need to give the reforms time to generate results and benefit the economic and social development of Ecuador. We have achieved much, and I am sure that in the next few years we will achieve even better results. I would like to praise the government's decision to take determined decisions to improve the quality of the higher education sector. In my opinion, these reforms are in line with the Bologna process in Europe. I am very optimistic for the future development of the sector and the country.

© The Business Year - June 2013