Students Trek to Trinidad & Tobago, Featured in National Paper

Harvard Business School’s Caribbean Business Club and The Wharton School’s Caribbean Business Initiative Club conducted their sixth annual Caribbean MBA Conference, titled “Regionalization and Economic Diversification
– Expanding our Share of the Global Economy.” The Conference was by all accounts a phenomenal success and was even featured in the national newspaper, The Trinidad Guardian.

The conference included 65 participants from Harvard Business School, Wharton and 7 other top business and graduate schools (University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, Kennedy School of Government, Duke Fuqua School of Business, Columbia University, University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Kellogg, and Boston University Law School) and occurred between the 2nd and 7th of January.

The Guardian featured two articles, both discussing meetings with executives of the ANSA McAL Group. The ANSA McAL Group of Companies comprises fifty companies in eight business sectors across the Caribbean including Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados and USA. During that meeting, the students had the opportunity to meet with Group Chairman and CEO, A Norman Sabga. In addition to making comments on the challenges facing Ansa McAl, he also urged the participants to consider working in the Caribbean. The meeting took place on the top floor of Trinidad & Tobago’s newest skyscraper.

A similar message was later echoed by Gerry Brooks, COO of Ansa McAl. Mr. Brooks lectured that the responsibility of an MBA graduate must go beyond simply earning a good living and upward job mobility but also must include a leading role in society. He suggested that those opportunities were uniquely available in the Caribbean. He continued, “So the Caribbean we’re talking about must and can be molded to become a world-beater. We have the potential to become a force as powerful as the newly-developed BRIC.”

While attending the conference, participants also were able to here from The Honorable Patrick Manning, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago; Michael Mansoor, Chairman, FirstCaribbean International Holdings; Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization; Gervase Warner, Executive Chairman, Neal and Massy Energy Business Unit; Kenneth Hynes, Director of Operations of the OTF Group; and Derek Hudson, President, BG T&T.

The trek also featured some fun and meaning. Participants were introduced to “whining,” a Caribbean dance movement, at local nightclub Zen, traveled to Maracas Beach, and snorkeled in Tobago. More importantly, the conference hosted “MBA Give Back,” an event that visited two charities (one for special education and the other for HIV children) where the Caribbean Business Clubs at HBS and Wharton donated $3000.

Damany Gibbs, the organizer of the Trek, stated, “The Caribbean MBA Trek is the only international HBS conference and it continues to bring together some of the brightest and most successful minds from the Caribbean to tackle some of our biggest challenges and provide future entrepreneurs with a solid vision and foundation for the region for the next two decades. This trip strikes the perfect balance between the business exposure as well as the social and cultural elements of the Caribbean.”