Excellence and Scale Go Hand-In-Hand at Laureate Brazil

With more than 257,000 students, 13,000 faculty and staff members, and 12 institutions, Laureate Brazil represents our largest operations in one single country, and as I discovered on a recent trip, has innovated and progressed in a way that should serve as a model for the rest of our network. It is easy to applaud the scale of the operations in Brazil, but what I came to admire more after my time there was how students and the community are at the center of everything Laureate Brazil does and how that leads to excellence at all levels of their organization.

In a market where there is high demand for higher education, but an often unstable economic and political environment, Laureate institutions have adapted in a way that serves both our business and students. In many large cities, there are multiple Laureate institutions providing distinct educational options. They are meeting both broad and niche demands, whether it is the civil aviation program at the Universidade Anhembi Morumbi (UAM), the only such program in the country that prepares students to work in aviation management, or the widely popular culinary programs that Laureate institutions started from scratch in Brazil.

Another one of the areas for which our institutions in Brazil are known is their excellent Health Sciences programs. Many institutions provide free or low-cost health services to their communities through faculty and student-led clinics located on their campuses. This is an invaluable experience for students to gain hands-on experience with patients and learn about how their profession can be combined with service. By adopting an integrated health model at these clinics, patients are able to receive all the services they need in one location.

Laureate Brazil has also observed the growing entrepreneurship trend in the country and responded accordingly. Studies show that more than 15 percent of the population in Brazil are going into entrepreneurial ventures, perhaps in response to the challenges within the traditional economic sector. Many Laureate institutions have stepped in to support these ventures and prepare students to actively contribute to this economy by adapting programs and making connections to industry experts. Empreende, for example, is an entrepreneurship center within Universidade Potiguar that aims to stimulate the entrepreneurial capacity of its students and graduates, providing tools, experiences, and services to its students from the initial idea phase of a venture to the founding of a company. And YouthActionNet in Brazil is now on four Laureate campuses, each year supporting 12 young social entrepreneurs. This is all done with the goal of training young people who will go on to become ethical leaders who will drive new economic activity.

The innovation, student-centered programs, and market-oriented offerings that I saw in Laureate Brazil serve to remind us that excellence and scale can be carried out jointly and that the Here for Good spirit is alive and well in our network.