INCAE Business School

INCAE Business School
Established 1964
Rector Enrique Bolaños
Location Alajuela, Costa Rica and Managua, Nicaragua
Campus 2

INCAE Business School is an international business school located at the Francisco de Sola campus in Nicaragua and the Walter Kissling Gam campus in Costa Rica. The Financial Times has ranked INCAE as a top global MBA program and The Wall Street Journal has ranked INCAE Business School as one of the top 10 international business schools in the world.[1][2][3][4][5]

INCAE is an acronym for Instituto Centroamericano de Administración de Empresas, which means "Central American Institute of Business Administration" in Spanish. The school is sometimes referred to as "Harvard South" or as a "Harvard Sister School". Although INCAE is independent, it adheres to the Harvard Case Study Method and curriculum. The Case Study Method allow students to examine past and current business situations, which gives them two years' worth of indirect, real-world experience across industries and regions. The Method offers students the opportunity to step into the shoes of managers, critique their decisions and provide alternative solutions. While the majority of cases are translations from Harvard Business School case studies, INCAE students are additionally provided with emerging market studies from Latin America.

INCAE offers a 2-year MBA in Costa Rica and a 15-month intensive MBA in Nicaragua. Other programs include the Executive MBA and seminars.


On March 23, 1963, President John F. Kennedy visited Costa Rica and met with the presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. In the meeting, the presidents requested Kennedy’s assistance in establishing a business administration program that would produce future managers. On April 10, President Kennedy wrote to George P. Baker, Dean of the Harvard Business School, thanking the school for taking interest in the initiative. Dean Baker sent three professors, George Cabot Lodge, Henry Arthur and Thomas Raymond, to gauge the level of support from the business community and society at large in each of the Central American countries for the project.[6]

Francisco de Sola, a Salvadoran business leader, took the leadership role in consolidating support for the project. On December 13, 1963, a provisional administrative committee was appointed to head the project that would be known as the INCAE Project. Francisco de Sola was named Chairman of the Administrative Committee, a position he would hold for the next twenty years.[6]

INCAE’s first academic program was the Advanced Management Program, PAG for its name in Spanish. Between the first of July and the seventh of August, 1964, 45 executives from countries in the region gathered in Antigua, Guatemala, for the program. The first PAG was taught by Harvard Business School professors. In subsequent years some PAG students attended Harvard University’s International Teacher Program (ITP). Some of them later went on to complete doctoral programs at Harvard Business School and returned to become part of INCAE’s faculty. In 1969, INCAE’s first MBA was awarded.

Nicaragua was chosen as the permanent site for INCAE, and on June 20, 1969 INCAE’s first campus was inaugurated in Montefresco, Nicaragua. The 70-hectare site was purchased with funds raised through donations from the private sector and the governments of Central America, the result of a campaign headed by INCAE’s National Committee in Nicaragua. Montefresco was chosen from the other options in Nicaragua because of its scenery and cool climate. It was also close to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. The campus was built with a loan provided by the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE) with USAID funding. INCAE’s first fifteen MBA classes graduated in Nicaragua. (?)

In 1983, INCAE decided to move its MBA program. The second campus, called the Walter Kissling Gam campus, opened in Alajuela, Costa Rica in 1984. Costa Rica was chosen because of its stable government and existing infrastructure. In 1996, INCAE reopened the full-time MBA program in the Montefresco campus, and in 2000 the Montefresco campus also began to offer the executive MBA program.[7]


INCAE has over 40 faculty members who teach in the MBA program and the executive education programs. Ninety-two percent of the faculty hold doctorate degrees. INCAE's student-to-faculty ratio is six to one.

INCAE requires its professors to have contact with the business sector to ensure that the material they present in the classroom is up to date and relevant. This contact occurs through consulting work for firms. Professors are encouraged to conduct research and publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals.

Accreditations and associations

INCAE is accredited by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) in the United States to grant master's degrees.[8] It is also accredited by EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System),[9] and by AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.[10]

INCAE is one of only 13 business schools in Latin America that have been accredited by AACSB. In 1994, it was the first business school outside North America to be accredited by SACS.

INCAE is affiliated with business school associations, such as AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), NASPAA (National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration), and BALAS (The Business Association of Latin American Studies). Additionally, it is a member of CLADEAthe Latin American Business School Council.


INCAE ranks high among business schools in Latin America. .[11][12]

In the 2010 QS Global 200 Business Schools Report[13] the school was placed fifth in South America.

Honorary doctorates

INCAE has conferred honorary doctorates to individuals who have positively impacted society. Among the most distinguished are:


INCAE has agreements with Latin American, European and US universities. The school has two types of agreements. First, INCAE has exchange and/or dual-degree programs with the following universities:

The second type of agreement provides discounts for the MBA program to accepted applicants who earned their undergraduate degrees from the following schools:


Coordinates: 10°00′10″N 84°16′37″W / 10.0028°N 84.2769°W / 10.0028; -84.2769

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