Óscar León

Óscar León

Rector, Quality Leadership University (QLU)
Óscar Javier Aguirre Macías

Óscar Javier Aguirre Macías

Programs Director Central America and Caribbean, IPADE
Top-notch business schools are a cornerstone for adding value and raising the bar for talent in Panama.

How would you describe the evolution of your university or business program?

OSCAR JAVIER AGUIRRE MACÍAS We came here in 2015 at the invitation of a group of businessmen. Their idea was to bring top-class education for business people in Panama in order to complement the existing offerings. We are a business school focused on top management that complements the vision of the general manager with emphasis on people, ethics, and high values. Business people invest in their organizations, not just to develop an economic value, but also to develop a social value and to build an enterprise that can survive for a long time. We saw a need to have a regional presence and we established the main headquarters for Central America and the Caribbean in Panama City.

ÓSCAR LEÓN QLU started as an idea to bring quality education to Panama. However, after realizing that only a handful of people held doctorate degrees in Panama, we established dual-degree programs in partnership with other universities. Since then, we have grown our programs list to include graduate and undergraduate programs in business, social sciences, international relations, human resources, and other departments. These degrees are offered in partnership with universities from the US, Spain, and Chile. One of the highest-ranked business schools in Latin America, Universidad Chile, is offering four masters programs through QLU. Apart from dual-degree programs, we bring in professors from other universities to collaborate with local professors to form graduate and undergraduate programs.

How important is innovation such as online learning programs to the university?

OJAM We are conducting some research and testing on that matter, though we will not go in that direction at the moment. All of our programs are taught on campus. The reason is that for the case study method, one has to be there to do the arguments and the debates; this cannot be done online, though it is possible with video calls and video conferencing.

ÓL QLU is known for introducing programs that are not being offered in Panama, for example, construction project management and building information modeling. Such initiatives also help companies innovate new methods. In terms of methodology, we are implementing different teaching methods such as simulation case studies or real business case studies, where a company presents a problem for which students design probable solutions.

What sets your university apart from the competition?

OJAM Forbes ranked IPADE among the top-six innovative business schools in Latin America. This has been an accomplishment and a milestone that is the result of a great amount of teamwork, investigation into the business and how businesses develop, and how they take their new routes, which is why we need to stay updated on all the changes around the world. With that in mind, we have to bring those new strategies to our programs and provide our participants with state-of-the-art top management techniques, information, and strategies.

ÓL Besides the high academic level QLU offers, our largest number of international professors and students give us the competitive edge over other universities. Students coming from Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, and Mexico to study in Panama want a degree that has recognition in other countries. A purely Panamanian degree holds value but a dual-degree from Panama and a university from the US, Chile, or Spain will differentiate candidates in the job market. QLU takes pride in offering courses such as construction management through the Politécnica and project management through our Project Management Institute. Moreover, QLU offers the strongest ESL program in Panama with 800 students currently enrolled.