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CAHI Fellows Program


Interview Prof. Roberto Mendoza

Roberto Mendoza has been working at INCAE Business School for 36 years, where he is a professor in three areas: financial accounting, management and management control. He graduated from public accounting and worked for several years in the private sector in Nicaragua, and he has also worked as a business consultant within Central America. Roberto possesses a Master’s of Business Administration from INCAE Business School, and he has been invited as a professor at the University of Miami and the Florida International University.

In spite of his demanding agenda, he graciously gave CAHI a few minutes to ask him some questions and gain insight on his experiences. The interview follows below; it has been translated from Spanish and has been edited lightly for clarity:

Interviewer: How did you begin teaching in the CAHI Fellows Program? Roberto: I’ve been teaching people who work in health related topics for several years. I first started teaching within a Master’s Degree for doctors, which was an experience that led to the interest in analyzing the relevance of the tools I know to work for institutions such as hospitals or health centers. Later, when INCAE developed a management program for hospitals, I had the opportunity to write a couple of cases in Guatemala, related to the National Cancer Institute and the services they offered, as well as their budgetary management.

With that experience as a foundation, I began to participate in the CAHI Fellows program, specifically on issues related to the management of costs of projects or organizations within the health sector, so that participants are able to make more informed decisions in this area.

Interviewer: What changes have you noticed in regards to the evolution of the groups within the CAHI Fellows program, year to year? Roberto: The compositions of these groups are always different, so it is impossible to compare one generation with another. But what I do see is that they are increasingly interested in developing their projects and taking them to another level, and I have also noticed the interest in addressing the administrative area.

Interviewer: What do you think CAHI Fellows learn from you? Roberto: I try to convey responsibility, because resources must be used for various other areas such as education, so the resources that have been assigned to health should be managed with more awareness around; how to make budgets, how to be more efficient in spending, and how to maintain quality service.

It is important to fully understand the cost systems and how they can affect efficiency, as this can have an important impact on the possibility of securing more resources for the further development of a project. For example, if an expense is not properly justified or well-recorded, it may be difficult or unfeasible to obtain more funding in the future as cost systems are used as a tool for evaluating results and enabling accountability, with transparency.

Interviewer: What is your vision of the CAHI Fellows once they go through your class? Roberto: I think it is important that the Fellows continue to prepare themselves, as my class is only the beginning. This class is like planting a seed. It’s necessary that they continue tending the seed, watering it with new knowledge, and continuing to grow it through the more advanced levels of this program, so that their growth is maximized.

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