News & Highlights

  • JANUARY 2020

The Global Classroom: Student Immersion in Cuba

As part of the elective curriculum within the MBA program, students have the opportunity in their second year to enroll in an Immersive Field Course – or “IFC.” These courses are driven by faculty research and industry connections, and provide students with an opportunity to get out of the classroom and put the skills they have learned to practice in the field. Typically, about 200 students participate in IFCs annually. In January 2020, Professor Arthur Segel and Professor Charles Wu led 22 students to Cuba. During their stay they had meetings with Universidad de la Habana and local entrepreneurs to better understand what it means to do business in Cuba.
  • December 2019 – February 2020

Entrepreneurship Series with HBS Brazil Club

Together with the HBS Brazil Club, LARC hosted the first two events in its new entrepreneurship series. This event series will interview businesspersons who have an impact on Brazilian society. The first event in December featured Sergio Furio, CEO and Founder of Creditas and HBS Alumni Angels board member, who was interviewed by Oswaldo Garcia (MBA 2016). Mr. Furio focused on the impact that his company is providing through collateral loans at low interest rates. He also shared the challenges of expansion throughout Latin America. In February, the second event featured David Vélez, CEO of Nubank, who was interviewed by Monica Saggioro (MBA 2018). Mr. Vélez shared his challenges as a CEO of a large Brazilian fintech company and also talked about Nubank’s international expansion. More than 60 alumni gathered at each of these events to discuss entrepreneurship, funding, and company growth.
  • DECEMBER 2019

MBA Perspectives: An Argentinian Student’s Experience—Meet Ignacio Lartirigoyen, MBA Class of 2020

MBA Perspectives is Harvard Business School’s blog that provides a collection of community perspectives and insight into life at HBS. In this interview, Argentinian Student, Ignacio Lartirigoyen, Class of 2020, explains how HBS was the optimal place for him to "get immersed in a different cultural experience fed by people of various cultures and backgrounds.”
  • 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.

New Research on the Region

  • February 2020
  • Case

Rotoplas: Bringing More and Better Water

By: John D. Macomber and Carla Larangeira

Private companies were being turned to for potable water in the world’s megacities due to impacts of climate change including droughts and flooding. Mexico City had endured several water-related crises, with its population suffering from floods, droughts, water shutoffs and disease. Although some access to piped water services was practically universal for Mexico City residents, services were limited or discontinuous. An accommodation that most households had made was in purchasing and installing a water holding tank on the roof or in the ground, with Rotoplás, a Mexican based water product and services provider, enjoying more than 55% of tank market share in Mexico. Rotoplás had ventured into wastewater treatment and recycling in 2016 with the acquisition of Sytesa, a design, construction, financing, operation, and maintenance business for wastewater management for industry and businesses. Market segments included lighter corporate users like shopping malls and heavy users like food processors or mining companies, and maybe “water as a service” would also end up as the place to be to supplement and assist homeowner associations and even municipal governments. However, services revenue was today a tiny fraction of overall cash flow at Rotoplás. The presence of larger competitors like Suez and Veolia and as well as unfavorable pricing and regulations could potentially slow down future growth. Could Rotoplás services be part of the solution to the water crisis in the nation’s capital? Or was the situation too intractable for even this local champion company to tackle? What pricing and regulatory changes might lead to financial and technical solutions for Mexico City’s water crisis?

  • 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.

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