This B-School Wants To Be Latin America’s Agent Of Change

WELCOME TO THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP ECOSYSTEM

In a world without coronavirus, EGADE MBA students were some of the best-traveled in the world. They will be again. The EGADE part-time MBA (tuition: US$35,500) includes elective travel to optional international study programs, in addition to the opportunity to pursue dual-degree programs at one of EGADE’s 11 international partners. The Global OneMBA program (US$72,000) includes four global residencies; the full-time MBA in Innovation & Entrepreneurship (US$52,000) includes programmed study intensives in Silicon Valley and Israel, as well as opportunities with the 29 other GNAM member schools.

The latter program clearly carries a lot of EGADE’s hopes for the future. Lofty language abounds in leadership’s descriptions of it. It’s a program, as Poets&Quants‘ profile details, that aims to produce “visionary leaders” who can “challenge and transform their industries through powerful ideas” and is designed to foster what the school calls “high-impact venture creation and corporate intrapreneurship,” and to teach  “survival skills” for modern business — skills such as “critical and integrative thinking and problem-solving,” perseverance, curiosity, and imagination, as well as instilling the values of equality, diversity, and environmental consciousness. In the school’s words, the one-year program is “designed to take leaders faster and further in our current business scenario by developing remarkable skills and a specific mindset in a multidisciplinary environment that has innovation at its core.” Its methodology features collaborative and challenge-based learning as well as design thinking, faculty-developed case studies, business simulations, and corporate consulting.

It is intimate, with just over 20 (soon to be 30) students, and it is intense. Crammed into 12 months are in-depth technical courses, including Business Analytics and Corporate Governance, as well as a focus on strengthening entrepreneurs with powerful soft skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. EGADE wants to produce graduates who can survive, and thrive, in the “entrepreneurial ecosystem,” so it employs numerous entrepreneurial platforms such as the New Venture Challenge, the Entrepreneurs Club, the I-Corps program, Innovation Challenge, Venture Capital Pitching, Global Launchpad, and networking events. Students are able to spend considerable time in the EGADE tech hub in Guadalajara and the Innovation Lab, a “one-of-a-kind program in which students participate in challenges where they have to apply their new skill set to solve real issues for a renowned company.” The process includes promised mentorship from the company’s top executives.

“Connecting that talent — comprising innovating executives, catalyst teachers, international consultants, and disruptor gurus — we embrace complexity and challenge each rule set in the reality of the business,” de la Vega says. “This community of brilliant minds and entrepreneurial leaders is called EGADE Business School.”

EGADE students on a visit to the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley. EGADE photo

ANOTHER WORD OR TWO ON THE FUTURE

Can EGADE be an agent of change in business education internationally for Latin America? Ignacio de la Vega would like a word.

“For me, there are four main big trends that are affecting, not the future, but what we do today at business school and out there in industry,” he says. “We’re talking about blockchain, and data analysis, and artificial intelligence, and robotics, and the trends are changing as companies come to understand the importance and the impact in their business model of these different technologies.

“There is a new profile of talent that is required in companies, and that — talent — is one of the most scarce resources. Today talent has become the real source of competitive advantage for organizations. And if we link talent with these technology skills that are also needed, we get a very rare combination that is difficult to acquire.

“The future talent that will join our organizations comes with a different mindset. They come with a different purpose, and they’re asking us, business schools, companies, organizations, ‘What is the purpose of your organization?’ And we need to make clear and have a very strong selling point to be able to attract the talent later on, to develop it, and retain it.

“There is an ongoing discussion among the younger generations that are today at universities or businesses groups all over the world, and in the society itself. We’re discussing the role of capitalism in bringing us to where we are today as a quite-developed society, technically advanced. But still, we have to face some huge challenges as human race, and I’m talking about poverty, inequality. This brings the question of, ‘What is the role of organizations?’

“I’ve been teaching for 30 years, in some 35 geographies all over the world. And that gives you access to understanding diversity, and in increasing this skill — I believe it’s a strong skill — which is tolerance. Understanding somebody’s perspective, getting in some very different people’s shoes, makes it much easier to understand other people’s opinions and statements. For me, the main lesson that I have learned throughout my career is that individuals don’t make it, teams do. If you can surround yourself with people that are as passionate or more than you are, but even more talented, whatever your level of talent, you’re going to make it. You as a team are definitely going to serve much better the goals of your organization, your personal goals, and include much more happiness in what you do.

“One last point: In every single position that I’ve handled, even when I was playing as an investor or starting up some things, I’ve had a goal. The goal was to leave a company and organization, a team, a university, better off when I was leaving than I found it. And that means the people, the culture, it means the transformation they need, it means the impact on the communities. This is why we are in education, to really advance our communities, make people happier, offer better living conditions, and transform the three Ps: the people, of course profit, which is important, and planet. So this has been my professional life.”

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