News & Highlights

  • DECEMBER 2018
  • Alumni News

Alumni Impact: Raising the Barrio

Can the shantytowns of Buenos Aires be integrated into the city that long neglected them? Buenos Aires mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta (MBA 1993) is working to reintegrate the barrios of his city. In August 2016, eight months after taking office, Rodríguez Larreta pledged to develop the neighborhood. His first step: establishing a mayoral office in the heart of the barrio, reclaiming a building that had until recently been the headquarters of a drug dealer known as “Tarzan.” It was a symbolic gesture, Rodríguez Larreta acknowledges, but an important one.
  • MAY 2018

Alumni Achievement Award

Harvard Business School conferred its most important honor, the Alumni Achievement Award, on five distinguished graduates as part of the Class Day ceremony for the MBA Class of 2018. One of the recipients was Claudio Hadda (OMP 1987), chairman of Insper Institute of Education and Research, a university he helped launch in São Paulo, Brazil. Haddad’s career began in academia and includes serving as director of Brazil’s Central Bank and building Banco Garantia into one of South America’s most prestigious banks. Together with a group of Brazilian investors, in 1999 he acquired Insper and has since expanded it into one of Brazil’s leading educational institutions.
  • MAY 2018

Cuban Artist, Yoan Capote, Loans Sculpture to HBS

Three new sculptures have arrived on campus as part of Harvard Business School’s ongoing contemporary sculpture exhibition, which features works on one-year loan (begun in April 2016, and now in its third iteration). The first sculpture is by Cuban artist Yoan Capote, who was born in Havana, where he currently lives and works. His experience as Cuban shapes much of his work, which explores themes of migration and the human condition. As Capote has stated, “The common thread in all my work is that it is weighted in the condition of the human psyche.” Naturaleza Urbana, which was installed on Spangler Lawn in late April, consists of a large pair of handcuffs that connect two trees. The sculpture explores a range of issues, including captivity, fate, and human struggles, and is meant to inspire conversation. Capote represented Cuba along with three other artists at the Venice Biennale in 2011, and Naturaleza Urbana was previously on view at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2017. He has received numerous awards, including an International Fellowship Grant from the Guggenheim Foundation, a UNESCO Prize, and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant.

New Research on the Region

  • Forthcoming
  • Book

The Virgin and the Plow: How Technology Shapes How We Live and Love

Covering a time frame that ranges from 8000 BC to the present, and drawing upon both Marxist and feminist theories, the book argues that nearly all the decisions we make in our most intimate lives—whom to marry, how to have children, how to have sex, how to think about love and romance and families—are driven, and always have been driven by technology. We think we’re behaving as fully autonomous individuals; we think we’re pushing or participating in social change; but we’re actually just being swept up in, and responding to, much broader shifts in technology. Or to what Marx and his kin would have termed “the means of production.” As current technologies—particularly the technologies of assisted reproduction, robotics, and artificial intelligence—continue to evolve, they will drive fundamental changes in how we structure our families and our lives.

  • Article
  • Enterprise & Society

Oral History and the Business History of Emerging Markets

By: G. Jones and R. Comunale

This article highlights the benefits that rigorous use of oral history can offer to research on the contemporary business history of emerging markets. Oral history can help fill some of the major information voids arising from the absence of a strong tradition of creating and making accessible corporate archives in most countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It also permits a level of nuance that is hard to obtain even if written archives are accessible. Oral histories provide insights into why events did not occur as well as why companies have chosen certain industries over others. Oral history can also shed light on hypersensitive topics, such corruption, which are rarely formally documented.

  • Article
  • Australian Economic History Review

Business, Governments and Political Risk in South Asia and Latin America since 1970

By: G. Jones and Rachael Comunale

This article contributes to the literature on political risk in business and economic history by examining both new perspectives (risk encountered by companies domestically, rather than risk for foreign investors) and new settings (emerging markets economies in Latin America and South Asia). It makes use of the Creating Emerging Markets oral history database at the Harvard Business School to examine business leaders’ perceptions of political risk over time between the 1970s and the present day, employing NVivo coding of the dataset to move beyond simple descriptive use of the content. The article identifies five major sources of risk operating in both geographies. Macroeconomic and policy turbulence emerged as the biggest source of risk for Latin Americans, while excessive bureaucracy was the biggest source of risk for South Asians. Political instability, corruption, and violence were other sources of risk encountered by many firms. The article examines not only the types of risk found in different environments, but also how interviewees discussed and responded to risk. In the case of corruption, although most countries surveyed had similarly high levels of corruption, it manifested itself differently in different regions. Especially informative was the issue of bureaucratic risk. Although interviewees in both regions reported having to dedicate significant time to navigating government regulation, interviewees in South Asia frequently reported attempting to stay away from highly regulated industries, while many interviewees in Latin America discussed how they adapted to heavier government oversight by forming closer ties or working relationships with incumbent administrations. This article demonstrates how oral history testimony can deepen and nuance current understandings of the evolution of business in emerging markets over the last half century. It can shed light on sensitive topics that are hard to study using written sources alone and adds nuance to phenomena commonly surveyed or measured qualitatively.

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Buenos Aires Staff

Fernanda Miguel
Mariana Cal
Senior Researcher
Maria Martha Ruiz Melo
Office Manager

São Paulo Staff

Priscilla Zogbi
Ruth Costas
Senior Researcher
Patricia Thome
Office & Program Manager

Mexico City Staff

Carla Larangeira
Senior Researcher