News & Highlights

  • OCTOBER 2019

HBS Admissions Roadshow

HBS hosted recruitment sessions in eight cities in the region this year: Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Lima, Santiago, São Paulo and Buenos Aires and Miami. The sessions welcomed more than 580 guests. In Buenos Aires and São Paulo panelists shared their personal HBS experiences and discussed the case method.
  • JULY 2019

MBA Voices: A Brazailian Student’s Experience—Meet Vivian Scalfi, MBA Class of 2020

MBA Voices is Harvard Business School’s admissions blog. A collection of community perspectives on the blog provide prospective students with insight into life at HBS. In this interview, Brazilian student Vivian Scalfi, MBA 2020, explains her journey to become one of the applicants admitted to the school.
  • MAY 2019

2019 Alumni Achievement Award

Álvaro Rodríguez Arregui (MBA 1995) was one of five individuals to receive the 2019 HBS Alumni Achievement Award at this year’s Class Day. Harvard Business School's mission is to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. Every day more than 80,000 HBS graduates strive to make these words a reality in a wide array of organizations that affect the lives of millions of people around the globe. For 50 years, the School has selected a number of outstanding men and women to receive its most important honor, the Alumni Achievement Award. Rodríguez is managing partner of IGNIA, a venture capital firm he cofounded in 2007 that invests in entrepreneurs who are brining goods and services to Mexico’s emerging middle class. Rodríguez’s interest in using microloans to invest in developing economies was first sparked at HBS in 1994 when he helped organize the Latin American Conference.
  • Events
  • MARCH 2019

Business as Social Intervention with Professor Michael Chu

The Latin American Research Center in collaboration with Brazil’s HBS Club welcomed Professor Michael Chu, Senior Lecturer of Business Administration and Faculty Chair for Latin America. Professor Chu presented, “Business as Social Intervention: Commercial Enterprises in the Building of a More Equitable World, from the Scars of the Street and the Rigors of research,” and shared his research findings with more than 80 alumni in São Paulo.

New Research on the Region

  • January 2020
  • Case

Banorte Móvil: Data Driven Mobile Growth

By: Ayelet Israeli, Carla Larangeira and Mariana Cal

In mid-2019, Carlos Hank, was deliberating over the results for Banorte Móvil – the mobile application for Banorte, Mexico’s most profitable and second-largest financial institution. Hank, who had been appointed as Banorte´s Chairman of the Board in January 2015, had overseen Banorte’s transformation (and multi-million-dollar investment) from a product and client volume-focused bank into a customer-centric, technology and data-driven organization with a radically new focus. Beyond investing in a new technology platform and deploying new digital channels, Banorte also invested in the development of internal capacities to convert data intelligence into profits. Spearheaded by José Antonio Murillo, an economist with a Ph.D. from Rice University, Banorte’s Analytics Business Unit (ABU) kicked off early on 2015, reporting directly to upper management and focused on increasing customer lifetime value. Over the course of its four-year trajectory, through data analytics and experimentation, which involved both experimenting with client incentives and tailored communication strategies through multiple channels, the ABU had successfully achieved higher product placement rates, particularly under Banorte Móvil’s platform. Yet, with 2.25 million active users, Banorte Móvil was still far from reaching its 4-million-user target by 2020. Adoption picked up, but Banorte Móvil was still losing many potential adopters along the mobile customer journey, particularly in its activation phase. Furthermore, 81% of app activity was for account balance or transaction views, with financial operations, such as card or service payments or acquisition of new bank products, accounting for a minority of the activity. If Banorte wanted to remain a top player in Mexico’s financial sector, it was clear to upper management that growth in mobile banking needed to be a priority. How could the bank successfully achieve its target? And, even if Banorte Móvil’s adoption numbers increased, would it be possible to get more value and engagement through this channel? As Banorte Móvil took off, Hank dwelled on the strategic decisions he had to make, especially considering what client segments to focus on for mobile adoption and use and how to effectively reach out to them. Furthermore, Hank knew they could not afford to neglect other banking channels, which still accounted for the bulk of Banorte’s operations.

  • January 2020
  • Case

Terra Nova: A Social Business Trying to Unlock Land Rights for the Urban Poor in Brazil

By: Julie Battilana, Ruth Costas, Marissa Kimsey and Priscilla Zogbi

Brothers André and Daniel Albuquerque founded the company Terra Nova in 2001 to mediate land disputes between poor families illegally living in urban areas and the official landowners—with the aspiration to improve the lives of the poor. A business-led approach to the issue, like Terra Nova’s, was innovative and contested amid the widespread belief that land disputes fell solely within the public sector’s purview. After struggling to develop a viable business model, the company received support from impact investing firm MOV Investimentos. By 2019, Terra Nova finally broke even and was exploring opportunities for scaling. But its leaders had to decide the right expansion model for the social business.

  • January 2020 (Revised February 2020)
  • Case

Rumo: Infrastructure for a Healthier Economy

By: Forest L. Reinhardt, Mariana Cal, Ruth Costas and Natalie Kindred

Brazilian logistics company Rumo operated 13,500 km in railway networks, port terminals, and inland transshipment terminals, connecting major Brazilian ports to the agriculture hubs of Mato Grosso and São Paulo state. Controlled by Cosan, Brazil's leading sugar and ethanol producer, Rumo had been through a turnaround over the last 3 years, including heavy investment in operational improvements, financial deleverage, and taking cash flow generation from a negative $278 million in 2015 to positive $15.3 million in 2018. In 2019, as the company planned its new expansion cycle ($3.4 billion would be invested from 2019 to 2023), Rumo's executives had to find the best way to continue to capture the value created, while preserving its relations with customers and other stakeholders.

See more research

Buenos Aires Staff

Fernanda Miguel
Executive Director
Mariana Cal
Assistant Director, Research
Jenyfeer Martínez Buitrago
Research Associate
Maria Martha Ruiz Melo
Office Manager

São Paulo Staff

Ruth Costas
Senior Researcher
Patricia Thome
Office & Program Manager
Pedro Levindo
Senior Researcher

Mexico City Staff

Carla Larangeira
Senior Researcher