Fighting Poverty by Transforming Executives


“The great challenge, I believe, of countries like Colombia and others in Latin America is to combat poverty,” said Pedro Niño Rodriguez, general director of the leading Colombian business school INALDE, who visited the Darden School of Business last week, in collaboration with the Tayloe Murphy International Center. “In Colombia, there are a lot of inequalities and distribution of wealth is inadequate, so our big challenge is to create wealth. “

Niño Rodriguez believes that business schools have a social responsibility to educate executives to be good members of their companies, families and communities. In turn, the executives will teach their employees and society at large how to create opportunity and prosperity.

“Executives can make important changes in society with very little money,” he said.

INALDE is the management and business school of the Universidad de la Sabana. Founded in Bogotá in 1985, INALDE was developed with the support and guidance of IESE Business School of Spain and Instituto Panamericano de Alta Dirección de Empresa (IPADE) of Mexico, both of which partner with Darden on various international initiatives.

The first North American professor to teach at INALDE was Darden Professor Sherwood Frey, who has taught in INALDE’s senior executive and executive MBA programs and has mentored several of the school’s faculty. After last week’s visit, Frey remarked, “Our two schools are ideologically and pedagogically very similar. It has been a delight to join them along their journey, and I hope that we will find more avenues of collaboration.”

According to Niño Rodriguez, Colombia seems to have weathered the world recession better than its Latin American neighbors. “It’s a country with a lot of opportunities. Confidence has been restored, and there’s a great atmosphere for investment,” he said. “Since 2000, Colombia has experienced an average of 7–8 percent economic growth. Because of the recession, we’ll see zero percent this year, but economists are estimating 2 percent for next year.”

Fueling the economy is everything to do with mining – such as petroleum, coal and other raw materials. Also, the tourism industry is booming. “People are feeling safe to travel again,” he noted. “Many foreigners are discovering the Colombian Caribbean, which is very close to the United States, and we have the Pacific to the west.”

Founded in 1955, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business improves society by developing principled leaders in the world of practical affairs.

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