Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
INACAP was Chile’s largest higher education institution, with over 54,000 students and coverage across the country. Since 1966, it offered technical and professional job training with its Technical Training Center (CFT, for its Spanish acronym) and its Professional Institute (IP).
In 2007, facing growing competition from new CFTs, IPs and private universities offering job training, INACAP decided to expand its technical program offerings, turning into a university –Universidad Tecnológica de Chile (Chile’s Technological University). This decision implied venturing into higher education delivery, a field where INACAP had no prior experience. One of its competitors, DUOC, had been in the market for several years and provided quality technical and professional education under the umbrella of one of Chile’s most prestigious universities, Universidad Católica (UC). Another INACAP competitor was Universidad Santo Tomás, which, while not as reputable as UC, awarded university degrees to its graduates. This meant that, while this university’s programs might not be at par with INACAP’s, its graduates boasted a university degree, a very valuable asset in a country that had high regard for academic degrees.
Against this backdrop, INACAP’s leaders chose to seize the opportunity to acquire Universidad Vicente Pérez Rosales. However, this decision involved a change in INACAP’s strategic positioning. A few months after the acquisition, INACAP’s chancellor resigned, and the new chancellor, Gonzalo Vargas, faced the need to assess INACAP’s long-standing business model and determine its competitive strategy.