News & Highlights

  • 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.
  • APRIL 2018

Sowing the Seeds of Leadership

Arturo Condo (DBA 2000), President of EARTH Univeristy, is bringing his entrepreneurial mindset, global perspective, and firm belief in the power of young people to change the world to his Costa-Rica based institution. EARTH is a private, nonprofit school that offers a four-year undergraduate degree in agricultural sciences and natural resources management and a master’s degree in agribusiness. The innovative university focuses on developing leaders who will seed sustainable, socially responsible development projects in economically challenged communities. Students come from 48 countries, predominately in Latin America and Africa.

New Research on the Region

  • 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.

  • 2018
  • Book

Varieties of Green Business: Industries, Nations and Time

Published at a time of ever-increasing warnings that the pace of climate change and other environmental changes risk making the Earth unsustainable within our own lifetimes, this book looks at the past of green business to identify lessons for the future. It provides rich new evidence and insights on green business as it examines its variation between industries and nations over time. It shows the deep historical origins of endeavors to create for-profit businesses that were more responsible and sustainable as well as how these strategies have faced constraints, trade-offs, and challenges of legitimacy. The industries covered range from sustainable finance and solar energy to organic food and wine, ecotourism, and outdoor clothing. Strategies pursued range from incremental shifts towards sustainability to abandoning for-profit business entirely and re-wilding and conserving millions of acres of lands in Latin America. The book's distinctiveness lies in the use of original empirical data and the willingness to engage with both successful and unsuccessful cases. The wide geographical coverage includes not only the United States and Europe but also less studied settings, including Chile, Costa Rica, New Zealand, and Japan. The book serves as a warning against facile beliefs in the potential of win/win solutions as business tries to reduce its environmental impact or even save the planet. The lesson of history is that making business sustainable is a hard journey, littered with system-wide roadblocks, but it is a journey that is possible and one that is urgently needed.

  • September 2018
  • Case

ProdEng: Services for Oil & Gas Extraction

By: Frank V. Cespedes, Maria Fernanda Miguel and Mariana Cal

In 2016 unforeseen Oil and Gas industry-wide demand slump drove ProdEng’s average service rates down by more than 37%, with EBITDA margins falling from 50% to 24% in the second half of 2016. Although the Partners remained optimistic about ProdEng’s long-term fundamentals and management team, the short-term challenges required that they act rapidly. However, they had divergent views on the path forward. Should they stay the course and focus on their core competencies or should they rethinking their approach to sales and driving profitability via spot contracts in a highly uncertain time?

See more research

Buenos Aires Staff

Fernanda Miguel
Mariana Cal
Research Associate
Maria Martha Ruiz Melo
Office Manager

São Paulo Staff

Priscilla Zogbi
Ruth Costas
Senior Researcher
Patricia Thome
Office Manager

Mexico City Staff

Carla Larangeira
Senior Research Associate