HBS Hosts X Latin American Conference

On Saturday April 12, 2008 the club Latino Americano of HBS hosted its X Latin American Conference with great success. More than 750 people were present, making it the largest Latin American conference in the history of HBS.

The event looks to inspire the students, professors and professionals to reflect and act on the opportunities, dynamics and fundamental business challenges of Latin America, as well as reposition Latin America as an area of interest in the discussion circles of professional and academic communities.
The conference hosted a group of highly influential Latin American leaders, from politicians to business leaders, in a series of key note sessions and panels. Key note speakers of the conference were former presidents, CEO’s and entrepreneurs.

This year’s conference was led by co-chairs Alejandro Rocha Bracamontes (Mexico), Alan Vainrub (Venezuela) and Dionisio Garza Sada (Mexico), and a dedicated group of more than 45 Harvard Business School MBA students who have been actively planning the conference the entire academic year. Through this effort, they’ve be able to demonstrate the strength of the Latin American community within the Harvard University and the promised of the region’s future business leaders.

The conference provided access to the exceptional group of speakers through 3 key note sessions, 8 panels, and several networking opportunities such as a lunch with speakers and a social reception and cocktail. All events offered interaction among participants and speakers and providing bridges for future business opportunities.

The opening key note session “Economic Policy in Latin America: Creating Equal Opportunities” had Luis Alberto Moreno, Presdient of the Inter-American Develoment Bank and Martin Werner, Head of Latin American Goldman Sachs discussing how the private and public sectors can work together to improve living conditions for the bottom of the pyramid in Latin America. Both speakers gave a series of examples of the opportunities that lie in this untapped segment and how it has the greatest potentials for social and economic growth in the region.

The succeeding key note session, a moment when the entire Burden Auditorium was filled with eager students, participants and professors, was “Competitiveness in Latin America: New Horizons and Opportunities.” This session opened the doors to former Latin American presidents, Carlos Salinas de Gortari and Ricardo Maduro, to present their view on how to increase the competitiveness of Latin America. The presidents spoke about the agents of change which they see in their countries and how globalization plays a very important role in their countries’ ability to grow and play an important role in the growing global economy. Other issues were touched on such as safety within a country and free trade agreements. Carlos Salinas de Gortari even took the stand to defy the current criticisms against the NAFTA coming from the current crop of USA presidential candidates and to support the agreement as a source of growth, jobs and development in all three countries.

The conference also hosted a series of panel’s which covered the following topics: Private Equity and Venture Capital, Real Estate, Healthcare, Energy, Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise, Investments in Latin America and Successful Young MBA’s “Making a Difference in Latin America”.

The Club Latino Americano is getting ready to pass the reigns to next generation of HBS Latin American Leaders and hopes that next year’s conference will be even better. It is through these events that the Latin American community in Harvard acts to pull investment and interest to their countries.