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Peru 2017 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Fernando D'Alessio, Director of CENTRUM, on trends in the education sector, major milestones, and supporting the development of the country.

How are things changing in Peru's education sector?

The Peruvian postgraduate university system is poorly positioned in Latin America and the quality of the service needs to be increased. This is closely related to the academic level of the teachers and the need to update the curricula, infrastructure, and equipment, all of which are necessary to improve the conditions of teaching, learning, and scientific research. In Peru, there are 142 universities, which is more than in the UK, where there are only 123; however, in the prestige rankings only one Peruvian university appears among the top 500 in the world. Among the first 700, 10 are Argentine, 12 Brazilian, seven Chilean, five Colombian, two Uruguayan, two Venezuelan, and only three Peruvian. Where are the other 139 Peruvian universities? No matter the cost, all Peruvian universities should be subject to quality assessments by organizations, such as SACS in the US, to have an accurate diagnosis of their academic status and their future. CENTRUM developed a strategic plan for the entire education sector in Peru, and it has identified six opportunities to be taken into consideration that are related to the variety in the market, competitive prices, increased demand, greater access to ICT, increased quality of education, and specialization. Nevertheless, we also identified seven threats; among them are the low education level of teachers, students, professional talent leakage (brain drain), inadequate research regarding environmental management, and schools with no international accreditation.

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

Not all professionals can have access to higher education for two reasons: school costs and lack of proximity. CENTRUM Católica is in 10 of the largest cities of Peru. It is also present in Colombia and in Ecuador, with programs tailored to their respective realities and needs. CENTRUM is one of the most expensive schools in the local market, although its prices are well below our peers abroad. The quality and nature of our programs are at the level of those offered by the most respected schools in the world. With the PUCP being a nonprofit university, the prices of our programs are directly related to the costs of maintaining the high quality and standards that we hold, while giving students the necessary guarantee of the product they are purchasing. We understand that whoever joins our programs is making an investment.

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


The quality of a business school is reflected in its accreditation; the main business school accreditation associations are AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA. The processes for accreditation take years, concluding with a series of audits by renowned business school directors and deans. One of the most important achievements of CENTRUM Católica is to have achieved all three accreditations in just 10 years, something that has not yet been accomplished by our local competitors that have more than 54 years of existence.

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

In 2014, we launched a 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 during seven months at CENTRUM Católica. In 2016, we are about to launch a double-degree program (CENTRUM Católica and another school) that brings together the MBA degree as a Master of Science in Food Management. This intense, bilingual program is aimed at managers or executives of companies in the global food industry who look forward to strengthen the managerial skills. In 2014, standing at the forefront of Online Education, we launched centrumX, which has become the meeting point for professionals, entrepreneurs and students looking to improve their skills at a management level through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) plus graduate courses. The CentrumX platform is an online classroom where participants can learn at their own pace, from wherever they are, whenever they want and free of charge. We currently have 11 MBA courses and five executive education courses. We will be adding another 16 MBA courses to the system before the end of the year.

In which research areas is CENTRUM supporting the development of the country?

CENTRUM Research has five research centers specialized in the areas finance and economics; leadership, innovation and strategy; social responsibility, entrepreneurship, and sustainability; and industry and marketing. All the research centers strike the fine balance between the academic and the applied research in their concern for the needs and betterment of society. The expert faculty members are from various countries from all over the globe, and they actively participate in the weekly seminars organized by CENTRUM Research, as well as in exchanging their research outcomes through conferences, newspapers, television, radio, etc. The activities of CENTRUM Research are national and international, and include conducting joint research projects with schools such as Cornell University and the University of Malaya.

What are you doing to further attract the international community to CENTRUM?

By being simply the best we can be. In 2015, CENTRUM was recognized by the Financial Times of London for our GLOBAL MBA program in Colombia and Peru ranked No. 52 among the top 100 schools in the world in its Executive MBA Ranking. Furthermore, our Virtual International Managerial MBA Program was ranked 13th worldwide in its Online MBA Program Ranking, and our Executive education was ranked 75th in the world in that category. Likewise, the rankings of Eduniversal Ranking (2011 - 2012), (2013 – 2014), (2014 – 2015) placed CENTRUM Católica as the No.1 in Latin America. These rankings position CENTRUM Católica at an academic level of global excellence. CENTRUM Research produces on average 25 peer-reviewed ISI-category journal publications, 24 peer-reviewed non-ISI-category journal publications, 25 books, 20 book chapters, and 45 additional articles. It also organizes international research conferences in association with the Eastern Academy of Management - International, the Operational Research Society of India, and others. One of its achievements has been the creation of a regional competitiveness index. Furthermore, CENTRUM Research has been conferred several awards for its theoretical and empirical contributions, adding to our attractiveness to our international community.

What are your main goals and targets for 2015? What is your vision for CENTRUM for the coming decade?

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. Regarding infrastructure, a 15,000sqm expansion of the campus is planned. In addition, before the end of 1Q2016, all classrooms will be technologically updated as part of our ongoing effort to stay ahead with the latest technologies.