Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Airlines—a “powerhouse of a company,” according to Jerry Haar, has doubtless been called many respectful names. But “human case study” may be a new one.
Yet, that’s how Haar described Heilbron as well as other executives who guest lecture in his International Business course in the College of Business Administration’s Professional MBA (PMBA)-Panama program.
“They provide the students with practical information that validates what I teach conceptually,” he said.
Elizabeth Sanzone, communications officer, U.S. Embassy Panama, and one of 31 students to begin the 20-month program in April 2009, certainly got the message.
“Having the opportunity to hear firsthand accounts about the challenges and issues Heilbron faces as the CEO of a major company was an invaluable educational opportunity,” she said.
Heilbron shares company’s vision and strategy.
A partner of Continental Airlines, Copa “focuses on doing one thing as best as we can and that is connecting The Americas, and mainly Latin America, thru our hub in the city of Panama,” Heilbron said. “We accomplish this very effectively by operating aircraft of the right size for the market and serving a combination of both the principal cities of Latin America and a growing number of secondary cities which until recently could only dream of having intra-Latin America connectivity.”
Including guest speakers serves as more than real-life examples supporting the concepts conveyed through lectures.
According to Haar, “It builds good will among Florida International University (FIU), Quality Leadership University, the local university that hosts the program; and the private sector.”
And for Sanzone, the Heilbron lecture gave her more than a case-study view of the man and the company.
“I was quite impressed that the CEO of a major international airline made time to come and offer insights to our class,” she said. “For me that spoke volumes about the type of leader he is and the type of company he runs.”