From my own experience: Entrepreneur, if a genie offers to grant you a wish… Ask for a strong partnership!

I was lucky enough to have this wish granted to me without asking.

The partnership that founded in 1983 and later on in 1994 lasted more than 30 years.

It was chance that brought David Fischman, Alfredo Miroquesada, his wife Chiqui Bancalari and myself together. We became partners first and close friends later.

I attribute most of the success we had with the higher education institutions we founded to the nature and character of our partnership.

From the onset, we shared deep and unshakeable core values that enabled us to trust each other completely. There was never in our minds even a small glimpse of suspicion about our intentions towards each other or towards the «reason why» behind the institutions we gave life to. And not surprisingly, those core values embedded themselves into the culture and became part of their DNA. Integrity, the unrelenting pursue of excellence, fearlessness when trying new things (innovation) but humility in delivering service, and the constant effort to make it all loads of fun.

We were very young and inexperienced when we started, but we were also eager to learn and improve. On one occasion, as part of a development workshop, we were given the Myers Briggs personality test. Amazingly, each one of the four partners ended up in a different and opposing group. I am an ENTJ by the way.

Chance had also made us a diverse partnership! That proved to be an asset to our decision making process, to the different roles that each could play, and to conflict management. Being so diverse forced us to develop and continuously improve on our communication and negotiation skills.

All this led us to what I used to call the «partnership constitution», a set of simple rules we abided to. No hiring of relatives or close friends, decisions by consensus, it’s alright to argue but never leave the table, no blaming, respect above all, especially to the unique contribution each was able to make, in together-out together –no selling of partial shares.

Above all, we were a persistent partnership. We managed to survive the perfect storm that was the 80s in Peru, we took advantage of the opportunities of the shift to an open economy of the 90s, we went through the Institutions’ growing pains at the turn of the century, and finally, we made the hard decision to sell when the timing was right.

We are no longer partners, but bound forever in our common legacy. Hopefully our institutions fulfilled and will continue to fulfill the purpose we intended for them: the positive transformation of our country through the leadership of our graduates, and the impact of innovation brought by our institutions to the higher education sector in Peru.

In the end, the genie granted me two wishes… A strong partnership and to this day, the best of friends.

Mariana Rodriguez Risco

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