LatAm Business Forum 2018: Navigating Challenges and Opportunities

by Mario Cruz-Galarza, MBA 2019

LatAm Business ForumDuring my first year of MBA, I had the opportunity to organize one of LatAm Club’s flagship events, the LatAm Business Forum (LABF). The event took place in February, in a perfect scene, on a sunny day, at London Business School’s main campus. At the LABF, regional public & private leaders are brought together with the LBS community to share their insights about the trends that will drive Latin America’s future. Through the Forum history, several former Presidents, business men, CEOs, ministers, among many other characters, have talked about their realities and views. And 1,500+ LBS students from all programs, faculty and staff have had the chance to witness them.

Private equity, education and entrepreneurial panels, 4 keynote speakers and one ambassadors fire-chat came together this year to form LABF 13th edition. Dean François Ortalo-Magné gave a welcome speech, recognizing the regions importance to LBS, panels and keynotes sessions ran during the entire day, and closing drinks were the cherry on the cake, providing an easygoing environment for networking.

To name a few of this year’s guest speakers, we welcomed: Cesar Cernuda (CEO for Microsoft Latin America, Keynote), Susan Segal (President/CEO, America Society & Council of The Americas, Keynote), Alexandre Saigh (Senior Managing Partner and Founder of Grupo Patria, Keynote) and Alberto de Cardenas (CEO and Founder of Peru Champs, Education Panel).

Cesar gave his perspective about the digital transformation in Latin America and how it will play a major role in its development. Susan spoke about how the upcoming elections in the region (i.e. Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, among others) could tilt the political balance in the region towards more populist governments and shift the future of the region. Alexandre shared his experience on running the most successful private equity firm in Brazil, and his opinion on the challenges the industry faces nowadays. Finally, as part of the education panel, we heard from Alberto about Peru Champs and how, through primary education, his NGO is contributing to class mobility in Peru and Mexico.

The event not only provided a good chance to hear from distinguished speakers, but it also provided a good networking opportunity. We were able to gather around 100+ students from across all the programmes at LBS in a final networking reception, and during lunch time in the marquee, more than 10 guest speakers shared their time with the audience.

Even though the event lasted 8 hours, it’s organisation began 8 months prior. To make this type of events possible, commitment and effort is imperative. MBAs 2018 and 2019 were on the leadership roles; Cristobal Santa Cruz (’18), Ricardo Canedo (’18), Alberto Garnier (’18), Eugenia Williamson (’18), Franco Monzani (’18), Felipe Ligorio (’18), Chiara de la Flor (’19), Pedro Rubio (’19), Nina Brenner (’19), Allie Fiedler (’19), Tomas Roggio (’19), and myself made the event possible. Lastly, but not least, we had three financial sponsors who help us during this year LABF; Aguila (MX), Ley.265 (MX) and Rutini (ARG).

We are looking forward to the 14th Edition, LABF 2019, and to set the scene to put LatAm on everyone’s maps, and hear from notable Latin American leaders about crucial topics, which will be the drivers for our region.

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