Top 4 MBA in Latin America: Business School Sao Paulo Leads & Brazil's Economy Fastest Growing Followed by Mexico and Argentina

Latin American consists of 28 countries and as a region is fast developing and growing in importance. Among the 28 countries, Brazil leads with $2.3 trillion in GDP for the year 2011, followed by Mexico, Argentina, Columbia and Venezuela. In 2011, the combined GDP of Latin America was at $5.6 trillion, which is primarily driven by exports. Mexico for example, is the world's 15th largest exporter, with exports accounting for $349.7 billion of its $1.6 trillion economy. That is a massive 20%. Brazil exports $256 billion worth of goods, Venezuela $92.61 billion, Argentina $84.27 billion and Chile $81.71 billion.

Another feature of Latin America is the rise of the middle class. According to World Bank, most countries in Latin America are on their way to becoming middle-class societies. Earlier, the populace was dominated by the poor. But now, around 30% of the population forms the middle class, equal to the number of the poor. Moreover, at least 40% of the population has shifted to higher economic strata from 1995 to 2010. This rising middle class has also helped fuel growth in Latin America, with a lot of Multinational companies (MNCs) focusing their efforts here. In Brazil, the reverse is also happening, where local companies are branching out of Brazil and transforming to MNCs. Carlos Slim, the head of a Mexican conglomerate, and the world's richest man, leads Mexico’s effort in this regard.

What this means is that Latin America's growing economies, with the burgeoning middle class offers vast opportunities for trade and business. This gives an edge for MBAs, who are familiar with the local business and social landscapes. The fact that the region has been growing at a 4.5% rate over the last 10 years coupled with the prediction that Brazil and Mexico will be among the world's top 10 economies, bodes well for the future. There are opportunities in commodities, which constitutes nearly 10% of the Latin American GDP. This includes metals, Oil & Gas, Agriculture and Animal Related Products. Tourism is also a major market, with Mexico alone hosting nearly 23 million visitors in 2010. For people who wish to settle in Latin America, there are several advantages: low living costs, friendly hospitable people, rich heritage in culture & arts, and an easygoing way of life.

Most of the MBA programs in the region are taught in Spanish, with some in Brazil even conducted in Portuguese. Here are the top four MBA programs in Latin America.

1) Business School Sao Paulo

The Business School Sao Paulo, is a part of the University Anhembi Morumbi, and is located in Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city. It has 4 campuses across the city, namely the Morumbi Campus, Paulista Campus, Vila Olímpia Campus and Centro Campus. The school offers 5 specialized MBA programs, MBA in Business Management, MBA in Leadership and People Management, MBA in Finance, MBA in Marketing, MBA in Business Strategy and MBA in IT management. The language of instruction is Portuguese, but the EMBA program can be taken in English.

The MBA in Business Management tackles fundamentals, and provides tools and techniques for core business management. Students gain complete overview of business, and learn to coordinate various elements of a Business.

The MBA in Leadership and People Management
combines new-age management tools, with exceptional managerial skills. Students learn to analyze scenarios accurately and take the right decisions at the right time. Effective communication and leadership in a multicultural environment is an added emphasis.

The MBA in Finance develops managerial skills along with functional knowledge in finance. It dwells on accounting and finance, preparing students with decision making in an increasingly dynamic and complex financial environment.

For those inclined to the IT field, the MBA in IT management offers the tools and tactics to develop into an IT leader in any organization, across industries. Students learn to use technology strategically for profitability and efficiency.

The MBA in Business Strategy offers a specialization in organizational strategy. It provides a deeper view of business strategy, with a practical, modern approach. Students are trained to practice strategy activism within their company.

Finally, the MBA in Marketing specialization combines management education with expertise in marketing. It provides marketing insights from a modern perspective, using a practical approach, to expand critical thinking and strategy skills. Students are made familiar with critical marketing tools.

The MBA program features both a local as well as international faculty, and offers an International Module so that students gain global perspectives through classroom sessions and company visits. Some of the international partners include Suffolk University, Rotman School of Management, Lake Forest MBA, University of Iowa, Santa Clara University and Universitat Ploitecnica de Catalunya. Prime recruiters include Atlas Schindler, Avon, Banco Santader, British Telecom, Cadbury, Cummins, Deloitte, Delphi, Honda, Johnson Controls, McCann Erickson, Nestlé, Nokia, Roche, Sanofi-Aventis, Sodexo, Syngenta, Telefônica and Trinity.

2) EGADE Business School

The Escuela de Graduados en Administración y Dirección de Empresas or EGADE Business School is the Monterrey Institute of Technology's graduate business school. It has 4 campuses in Mexico - one in Monterrey, and 3 in Mexico City. The Full-time MBA program is only offered at the Monterrey campus. It offers four concentrations - Finance, Marketing, Strategy and Innovation, and Design of Business Models. Students can take the program either in English, or in Spanish.

The Full-time MBA program follows a cohort system in which students study with members of the same group until graduation. This allows networking, integration and builds team playing as well as team building skills. The program is a dual degree, which can be taken up in conjunction with HEC Paris (MBA), ESSEC Business School France (MBA), University of San Diego USA (MBA or IMBA), Pepperdine University USA (MBA), Illinois Institute of Technology (MBA - MS Finance - MS Marketing Communication) USA and University of Texas at Austin USA (MBA).

The school also has an extensive exchange program, with over 80 B-Schools in 23 countries. Some of the schools are, WHU Koblenz - Germany, The University of Sydney - Australia, Queens University - Canada, Korea University Business School - Korea, ESADE - Spain, Cornell University & University of Texas at Austin - USA, HEC Paris - France, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam - Netherlands, Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi - Italy and Stockholm School of Economics - Sweden.


IPADE is the business school of Universidad Panamericana, Mexico, and has campuses in Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara. The MBA program dwells on how to find opportunities in problems and uses the case method for it. There are also individual, team and group tasks along with lectures, simulations, films, negotiation exercises and workshops. The first year is bilingual, with classes in English and Spanish, with the second year taught entirely in English.

IPADE offers an extremely international experience. The IPADE-Harvard and the IPADE-IESE Counseling Committees, fosters research and better academic content. During the 2nd year, the last trimester must be spent at one of the 40+ partner schools across the world. Some of them are HEC Paris - France, IESE Business School - Spain, London Business School - UK, Mannheim Business School - Germany, Rotterdam School of Management - Netherlands, SDA Bocconi - Italy, Rotman School of Management - Canada, Tuck School of Business - USA, Darden Graduate School of Business - USA, Kellogg School of Management - USA, CEIBS China Europe International Business School - China, Institute of Management Technology - India, NUCB Graduate School - Japan, IAE Business School - Argentina and FIA - Fundação Instituto de Administração - Brazil.

One week seminars are held where MBA students from around the world attend. 10-day Academic Study Trips are also held around the world. At the end of the first year, students take part in an internship at a company or develop their own business plan. Some of the top companies that hired include 3M, American Express, Astra Zeneca México, Bosch, Colgate-Palmolive, Credit Suisse, Daimler Mercedes Benz Trucks, Deloitte Consulting, DHL, Johnson & Johnson, KPMG, Kraft Foods de México, Microsoft México, Nestlé, Nokia Siemens, Santander, The Boston Consulting Group, VISA International México and Walmart.


The Central American business community with active support from Harvard Business School and US President John F. Kennedy established INCAE in 1964. INCAE has two campuses, in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The Costa Rica campus hosts an MBA program with the first year taught in English, and the second year having a mix of Spanish and English classes. On the other hand, the Nicaragua campus has 2 MBA programs, one of which is in Spanish, while the other is mostly in Spanish, with some electives in the 2nd year taught in English.

Students can take part in exchange programs, or complete the 2nd year at an international B-School and obtain a dual degree.
The dual degree is offered at schools like HHL - Germany, Thunderbird School of Global Management - Arizona, Florida International University - Florida, ZLC-MIT - Spain, WHU - Germany and University of Wisconsin. The exchange program is at schools that include Duke University & New York University - USA, National Chengchi University - Taiwan, NUCB - Japan, Bordeaux Business School - France, ESADE - Spain, IE - Spain, WHU - Germany, USBE - Sweden, RSM-Erasmus University - Rotterdam, LKAEM - Poland and Koç University - Turkey.

Faculty is sourced from 13 countries and they consult in 18+countries. The school has published 147 papers, 177 consultancies and 58 books. What's more, 96% of the faculty has PhDs, and 43% are from Harvard, Wharton and MIT. In fact, the school has one of the lowest students to faculty ratio of 7:1. Companies that hire from INCAE include Pepsi, Henkel, GE, Nestle, Citi, Kraft, ING, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, P&G, HSBC, Unilever, Amazon, Copa Airlines and British American Tobacco.  

Recommended Resources

1) Business School Sao Paulo

EGADE Business School

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