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Kelley School Program Reaches Out to Latin America

IU’s Kelley School of Business is expanding its global reach. Kelley is using a new program, the Institute for Organizational Effectiveness, to establish connections with big business in South and Central America.

The Institute awards fellowships to anyone with a connection to Latin America to come to Kelley’s MBA Program. One of the fellows, Columbian Milton Ayala Restrepo, said there are many possibilities for U.S. businesses in Latin America to make profits.

“There is significant growth right now, and there is going to be significant growth in the near future and midterm future also. Right now it’s awakening,” he said.  “We have been asleep for, I don’t know, since 1492 when we were discovered by [Christopher Columbus]. It’s a waking up. And it’s going to take off.”

In addition to helping businesses, the Institute hopes to help low income communities in the region by creating jobs. But these businesses will not be subject to U.S. Labor laws. Elizabeth Perez-Medina, the Health Coordinator of Bloomington Latino advocacy group El Centro Comunal, said she thinks there must be safeguards to prevent exploitation. She says above all else, poorer Latin Americans need jobs.

“At the same time these people need to work and they will do anything that’s possible. So among the bad things that probably these international companies have, they provide the work and they provide to these people some income,” Perez-Medina said.

The Institute has funding for ten years.  Kelley School Dean Dan Smith said he hopes in that decade the fellows will establish as much of a business presence in Latin America as the school has in Asia.

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