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Peru 2017 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Fernando A. D'Alessio, Director General of CENTRUM Católica, on improving higher education in Peru, internationalizing the curriculum, and strengthening PPPs.

Fernando A. D’Alessio
BIOGRAPHY
Fernando A. D’Alessio is the Director General and founder of CENTRUM Católica, the Graduate Business School of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in naval sciences at the Escuela Naval del Perú, he eventually became a Vice Admiral in the Peruvian Navy and received the 1964 Sword of Honor. He also received a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in mechanical engineering at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and holds a diploma in strategic studies from the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He carried out specialized studies in executive education at Babson College, London Business School, and Harvard Business School.

How are things changing in Peru's education sector?

The education sector is crucial for the economic development of this country. Yet the Peruvian postgraduate system is poorly positioned in Latin America, and quality must be increased. This is closely related to teachers' academic level and the need to update the curricula, infrastructure and equipment, all of which are necessary to improving the conditions of teaching, learning, and scientific research. And no matter the cost, all Peruvian universities must be subject to quality assessments.

How would you characterize access to higher education in the country?

The two biggest challenges are school costs and lack of proximity. For this reason, CENTRUM Católica is in 10 of the country's largest cities, namely Lima, Piura, Chiclayo, Trujillo, Cajamarca, Huancayo, Arequipa, Cusco, Ica, and Tarapoto.

What are the main milestones that CENTRUM has achieved in the past years?

The quality of a business school is reflected in its accreditation, and the main business school accreditation associations are AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA. In 2011, CENTRUM Católica became the first business school in Peru to obtain the accreditation of all three, the “Triple Crown."

In terms of academic programs, what additions have you recently made to keep CENTRUM competitive?

In 2014, we launched an MBA program with a tri-continental component that includes five months of courses in two business schools in North America and Europe, as well as intensive co-participation with students from around the world who spend seven months at CENTRUM Católica. This year we are launching a double MBA and MSc in food management, an intense bilingual program aimed at executives in the global food industry that want to strengthen their managerial skills.

In which research areas is CENTRUM supporting the country's development?

CENTRUM Research has several research centers specialized in the areas of competitiveness: finance and economics, leadership, innovation and strategy, social responsibility, entrepreneurship and sustainability, and industry and marketing. All of these strike a fine balance between academic and applied research in their concern for the needs and betterment of society within the larger framework of advancing Christian values. We also organize an international conference every year to stimulate cooperation among academics, practitioners, and diplomats, in addition to organizing various international workshops and industrial outreach management development programs.

How does CENTRUM build a bridge between the education sector and the business community?

CENTRUM graduates are the best-qualified workforce in Peru, and the school has dozens of agreements with public and private sector organizations to make these bridges work. CENTRUM students have developed strategic plans for Peru's regions and Lima's districts, industrial sectors, products, and service sectors. CENTRUM also has in-house customized programs designed to match companies' particular needs such as project management, bank services marketing, management development, and business negotiation and conflict management with major clients such as IBM, 3M, and Samsung.

How do you position CENTRUM in the international arena?

CENTRUM Católica has agreements with nearly 50 different partner schools from around the world. This includes Tulane University, Babson College, Pepperdine University, Université Laval, the University of Calgary, the Maastricht School of Management, IE Business School (Spain), Escuela de Alta Dirección y Administración (EADA), and the Grenoble École de Management.

What are your main goals and targets for 2015?

CENTRUM is working hard to position itself among the top-50 business schools in the world by strengthening its relationships and programs, increasing its production of research, and gradually having all our programs taught in English. To do this, we are currently adding a 15,000sqm campus expansion and have installed interactive blackboards, smart projectors, and new video conference equipment in all our classrooms.