News & Highlights

  • MARCH 2021
  • EVENT

A Discussion with Professor Frank Cespedes: Sales Management that Works

In a thoughtful discussion moderated by HBR’s Editor Amy Bernstein, Frank Cespedes, Senior Lecturer in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit, offered essential sales strategies for business leaders in an ever-changing world. He shared ideas from his recent book, Sales Management that Works: How to Sell in a World that Never Stops Changing, exploring the implications for core areas of business development, such as hiring, training, performance management, and pricing. The event was attended by alumni and business leaders in Latin America.
  • FEBRUARY 2021
  • EVENT

Conversation with Sergio Furio and Monica Saggioro (MBA’18)

This February LARC and Harvard Angels of Brazil cohosted a conversation on entrepreneurship and investment with Sergio Furio (CEO of Creditas) and Monica Saggioro (co-founder of Maya Capital). Sergio and Monica addressed topics including what venture capital funds are looking for, how start-ups are preparing to receive investments, changes in the post-COVID market, and future expectations. The HBS Alumni Angels of Brazil is the local Brazilian Chapter of HBS Alumni Angles, a global nonprofit organization compromised of Harvard alumni interested in investing in high-potential early stage companies.
  • JANUARY 2021
  • EVENTS

Virtual Discussion: Power, Democracy, and Social Change

At our first online event in 2021, we had an engaging conversation on Power, Democracy and Social Change with HBS Professor Julie Battilana and HKS Professor Marshall Ganz, moderated by Professor Steven Levistsky, Director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. The discussion focused on power and leadership in the context of mutual respect: learning how to disagree, being heard and seen, and having an impact when trying to change the system for a more democratic world. Over 180 people attended the event including alumni, HBS Latin America Advisory Board members and business leaders.
  • NOVEMBER 2020
  • EVENTS

Virtual Event: Innovation during COVID-19 at Grupo Falabella

In November, LARC partnered with Harvard Business Publishing for an event on Innovation during COVID-19. Gastón Bottazzini, MBA´97, CEO of Grupo Falabella, was interviewed by Amy Bernstein, Harvard Business Review Editor, to explore how Falabella has continued to thrive amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Gastón explained that the pandemic led the company to rethink the way it operated and described the digital transformation that Falabella underwent. He also spoke about scalability solutions and the Falabella Academy. More than 150 attendees from Latin America including business leaders, alumni, and HBS board members joined the webinar.

New Research on the Region

  • September 2021
  • Case

Worldreader: Helping Readers Build a Better World

By: Marco Bertini, Elie Ofek and Julia Kelley

Founded in 2010, Worldreader was an international nonprofit organization that promoted reading to children around the world. For many years, Worldreader distributed e-readers to under-resourced communities and funded its operations primarily through philanthropic donations. In 2019, Worldreader launched the BookSmart mobile reading application, and soon thereafter came the idea of a new, self-perpetuating funding structure: the “flywheel.” Worldreader aimed to charge schools and community-based organizations a $6 monthly subscription fee per child to use BookSmart, with the goal of using earned revenue to sustain operational costs and using philanthropy to cover other strategic priorities. However, Worldreader soon realized that ability to pay varied greatly among potential “customers,” leading to several exceptions to the initial price. The team also worried that the subscription hindered achieving scale and conflicted with Worldreader’s ultimate goal of impacting millions of children. As Co-Founder and CEO David Risher and his team prepared for an upcoming meeting with UNICEF, which typically sought fixed-price contracts, they considered whether a price per-child, per-month would be acceptable. More broadly, they considered whether they had landed on the optimal price point and funding strategy — and the potential implications of pursuing earned revenue on Worldreader’s ability to bid for international development grants.

  • Article
  • Business History

Business Investment in Education in Emerging Markets Since the 1960s

By: Valeria Giacomin, Geoffrey Jones and Erica Salvaj

This article examines non-profit investments by business in education in emerging markets between the 1960s and the present day. Using a sample of 110 interviews with business leaders from an oral history database, the study shows that more than three-quarters of such leaders invested in education as a non-profit activity. The article explores three different types of motivations behind such high levels of engagement with education: values driven, context focussed, and firm focussed. The article identifies significant regional variations in terms of investment execution, structure, and impact. In South and Southeast Asia, there was a preference for long-term investment in primary and secondary education. In Africa and Latin America, some initiatives sometimes had a shorter-term connotation, but with high-profile projects in partnerships with international organisations and foreign universities. In Turkey, there was heavy focus on training and the creation of universities. The article concludes by examining the impact of this investment, comparing Chile and India especially. It discusses issues such as the paucity of financial data and the challenges of comparing different types of educational spending, which make robust conclusions hard, but does suggest that although such spending did not resolve major educational roadblocks across the emerging world, it represented a positive overall social gain.

  • July 2021
  • Teaching Material

Scale and Scope at Drake Real Estate Partners

By: Christina R. Wing and David Lane

Realizing in early 2021 that their pending real estate investment fund would likely be oversubscribed, Drake Real Estate Partners co-founders Nicolás Ibáñez and David Cotterman were considering how best to continue to diversify their investor base and how to optimize operational efficiency as they deployed increasing amounts of capital. Although his family office had funded the company’s first fund, Ibáñez added Latin American family investors and some institutions to subsequent funds while Cotterman focused on delivering 20+% returns. As they looked ahead to their fourth fund and beyond, the partners needed to decide how best to develop their firm and their offerings as they worked to attract capital without alienating either their smart-money family investors or their nascent institutional clientele.

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Buenos Aires Staff

Fernanda Miguel
Christopher P. Torto Executive Director
Mariana Cal
Assistant Director, Research
Jenyfeer Martínez Buitrago
Senior Researcher
Maria Martha Ruiz Melo
Office Manager

São Paulo Staff

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

Mexico City Staff

Carla Larangeira
Senior Researcher