In June 2009 the regional magazine América Economía published a ranking of the 48 top business schools in Latin America. Of the list, eight of the top 30 are Chilean universities like the Universidad Católica (PUC), Adolfo Ibáñez (UAI) y Universidad de Chile, which ranked second, sixth, and 10th place, respectively.
Over the last 10 years Santiago has become an important educational platform for this type of master’s degree program. The sustained economic development that the country has undergone over the last few decades has significantly increased demand for better prepared executives, thus giving a boost to local executive education.
The number of Master’s degrees in Business Administration (MBA) that are offered in Chile has grown significantly, from four in 1996 to over 25 programs now. In addition, many of these business schools have attained significant prestige and quality on both a regional as well as a global level. This boom, in addition to a series of advantages that the country offers, such as its stability and touristic and cultural attractions, has even positioned the capital as a regional educational center.
Jorge Herrera, director of the MBA-UC, says that the Chilean market for master’s degrees has increased in line with the development of executive education around the world. However, he also highlights the advantages that Chile offers when it comes to studying an MBA, especially the economic ones. “From a ‘value’ perspective, or the cost-quality ratio, it is very convenient to study an MBA in Chile because they provide you with greater technical depth and also complementary executive skills that are very important these days,” he affirms. “And that means that you come and spend US$ 30,000 on an MBA and not US$ 150,000,” the academic adds.
But economic convenience is not the only advantage that Chile offers for enrolling in an MBA. The academic excellence and prestige of Chilean educational institutions is the main reason why Chileans and foreigners take MBA courses in the country.
In 2009, the French consulting firm Eduniversal created a ranking of the world’s best business schools, with participation from the deans of the best universities. In it they distinguished MBA-UC with five palms, the highest rating. For their part, the programs at the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez and the Universidad de Chile both received four palms, while the Universidad de Santiago (USACH), Universidad Los Andesand Universidad Alberto Hurtado all received three palms, thus ranking on a par with US and European institutions.
“Here you will find what you can find at any top-notch university in the world,” the PUC professor affirms.
This, together with Chile’s excellent infrastructure and security, has made the country a favorite destination for Chilean and foreign students, who currently number 35% in the case of the MBA-UC and mainly come from the United States and Europe.
Ana Amalia Barrios, an attorney and notary from Guatemala who took the Universidad Católica MBA in 2002, only had good experiences in Chile. It was the best decision that I could have made,” she affirms. “From the moment I enrolled I was immersed in a superior academic level and one that was simultaneously very entertaining. The professors and students create a unique mix of abilities, knowledge and cultures that give the experience a special touch,” she comments.
In addition, she highlights the city of Santiago and Chile in general: “they are ideal places for a foreign student to feel at home,” she concludes.
Santiago, a great city to study
With all these characteristics, Santiago has a great chance of becoming a global university city in another couple of years. Some of the elements that Herrera believes are still needed include offering a significant percentage of classes in English, more flexible and shorter programs, and better infrastructure to receive students, but that they are working to improve them.
“We are seriously working to make this a reality in the short term,” the academic affirms. “25% of the courses are in English and there is already a construction project under way to receive the students,” he says.