María Paola Podestá Correa, chair and professor of international business at Universidad EAFIT tells AACSB about the past and current climate of the Latin American business community and how the struggles the community has faced has created new opportunities.
María Paola Podestá Correa: [00:13] Latin America and Colombia especially have a very profound influence of Western models of business, of business schools, and of business. We have had that great influence for over a hundred years. We have slowly been finding our own style, our own language, our own way of doing business.
[00:41] Doing business in Latin America, first of all, we have a common language in the very large part of America, which is Spanish, Portuguese in Brazil, and then English in the States and Canada. It makes it easier for us to communicate.
[01:00] Also, we have been somewhat isolated in our countries because, for example, our trade agreements have helped us in commercial ways. We still have a long way to go as far as working together and associating.
[01:18] I do think that is very important in business. I also think that Latin America has a lot to offer in terms of diversity, in terms of a very rich history of overcoming political, social, and economic distress. We do have a special resilience that has been incorporated into our business models.
[01:43] I do think that we can add resilience, which is a very important value in business. Colombia especially is going through a very important transition lately because of the signing of our peace agreement. We were at war with guerrillas for over 50 years.
[02:07] We, I don't think, or the vast majority of people who are in the business area, be it business education companies, have never been living in a country completely at peace. This is a new environment for us. We look at it with optimism. We do know we still have a long way to go.
[02:34] That has made us also be very conscious of what we have and what we can offer business wise. Our population is roughly 45 million people. We are a relatively young country. There's interesting programs going on regarding opportunities for young people to go to the university to become members of society, educated members of society.
[03:05] That said, Colombia does have an interesting outlook and interesting perspectives regarding the future of business and how we can provide very important lessons that we have learned along the way, especially because of our historic, political, and social evolution in the last 50 years.
Filmed April 2019 at AACSB's International Conference and Annual Meeting (ICAM) in Edinburgh, Scotland.