“Being an INCAE alumnus means having a high degree of morals and ethics”, says winner of 2018 JJ Vallarino Award

03 de July 2018
Wilberth Gutiérrez

The JJ Vallarino Prize to the best essay on the lived experience from INCAE MBA students was awarded to Katherina Martínez, a Panamanian member of the 2018 Professional MBA, who graduated on June 1, 2018. The award aims to reward the INCAE experience as embodied in an essay of less than 400 words, demonstrating students’ dedication and commitment to INCAE, the role INCAE plays in the region, the benefits students obtained, and how this experience changed their lives.

Katherina began, "We choose our destiny when we cling to our dreams and to make them come true we make decisions leading to turning points in our lives. In my case, I decided to join INCAE’s MBA Program fully aware that it would change my life for the better and that I was on my way to fulfill my dream of starting my own companies." Katherina added that besides obtaining her MBA degree, when she joined INCAE she also wanted international experience with people from different backgrounds, careers, and ways of thinking to broaden her mind and strengthen her criteria. Katherina concluded, "I learned that failures show that I had the courage to try, and I owe to them the discovery of the right technique to succeed."

Just few days before graduating Katherina reflected that being an INCAE graduate is something beyond management skills and the ability to identify business opportunities. Rather, it is having a high degree of morals and ethics, both personally and in relation to others. Latin America is often ravaged by corruption and selfish attitudes, and it takes leaders with discernment and awareness to heal it.

That is precisely the vision Joaquín José Vallarino (Don JJ Vallarino as he is known to the INCAE community) had when he created the award back in 2012. Don JJ Vallarino was a pillar to INCAE, not only for being a key participant in its foundation but also for his constant support, contribution, and dedication to INCAE for the last 52 years. His vision of Latin America’s transformation has resulted in thousands of top managers and leaders committed to integral development. INCAE was always very close to his heart, even though he graduated from the University of Darmouth. He made it his own mission to see that INCAE graduates felt that same love and passion for INCAE, which works continuously to bring about the change the region needs. The JJ Vallarino Prize was first awarded in 2011, the same year an agreement was signed in May with the entrepreneur and member of INCAE's Circle of Founders, Joaquín José Vallarino (PAG I).