UAI’s EMBA LATAM transforms bosses into leaders in Latin America

The Universidad de Adolfo Ibañez (UAI) Business School in Santiago, Chile, is a forward-thinking school in a fast-evolving country. We spoke to Ricardo Ubeda, director of the EMBA LATAM, to hear more about the program, the school, and the country.

In short

Ricardo Ubeda – Universidad Adolfo Ibañez UAI

Tell us about the EMBA LATAM.

[The EMBA LATAM] is aimed at people aged 35-36 years old and it’s an MBA which takes place for one week in each [Latin American] country – Panama, Mexico, Brazil…it’s an MBA which seeks to understand the business culture in Latin America. (02:16)

We spend a week in each of these countries, and during that week we take the opportunity to have a lot of local guests in the class. We visit relevant businesses in the area to try and immerse ourselves in the social, political, and economic reality of each country. (04:06)

Why is an EMBA with a Latin American focus important?

The culture, the institutions, the society, and the politics in Latin America are totally and radically different [from] Asia, Europe, the United States. (05:42)

If you want to build a career in Latin America, I think [the EMBA LATAM] is the best option. If you study in Latin America with 20 colleagues from seven, eight, 10 different countries, with professors from all of Latin America, visiting six or seven different countries…that gives you the knowledge to accelerate your career in Latin America. (06:40)

Why is Chile an attractive option for international students?

Chile is a very stable and safe country. It’s in the OECD with a GDP that has multiplied in the last 20 years. It is now reaching a similar GDP to that of Spain. (07:42) It’s a country that together with [South] Korea I think has evolved the most in the last 30 years. (09:53)

What I would say to anyone who lives in Spain, or anywhere else in the world that wants to build a career in Latin America: it is one of the youngest continents in the world with strong economic prospects. There is a future here [that] is going to be different [from] that of Europe or the United States due to demographic and social reasons. (09:26)

How is the EMBA curriculum structured?

The EMBA is designed so that a working person with a family and other responsibilities can complete it. Forty percent of the content is online and every two months there is a week of classes in a different country. The MBA lasts 12 months – from September to September. There is some sacrifice, but you can complete the program in 12 months. You have around 25% flexibility with the time in case there is a work or family emergency. (10:55)

The EMBA is taught in Spanish. There are lectures and some aspects in English – because obviously nowadays it’s a very prominent language in business – but I would say that 90% [of the course] is in Spanish. (12:38)

What is the class profile of the EMBA?

We have students from Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, the United States…I’m sure I’m forgetting some! So we have students from all of Latin America, which really enriches the class discussions. (12:55)

40% are women, 60% are men. We’re looking for parity between the two and are awarding a lot of scholarships to women who would like to come and study here. (13:18)

What else can candidates expect from the EMBA program?

In general, I would say that for 80-90% of our candidates, their mindset changes. We invest a lot of hours with a team that is extremely good on the topics of self-discovery, coaching, working in a team, leadership…we have a team that manages to get you to see things from another perspective. (21:29)

There are a couple of sessions which I would say produce a 180° change in the students. It’s not a simple, easy or comfortable process, but I’m most proud of this part of the program because the students go from being bosses to being leaders. (22:39)

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