Posts Tagged ‘emerging markets#8217;


The 4th Annual IE Africa Day

Written on March 19, 2014 by Campus Life in Geographic

RDR_9684On Tuesday, 25 February, 2014 the IE Africa Club hosted the 4th annual Africa Day. This is a day that places emphasis on the dynamic nature of business and opportunities on the continent. As previous years have been focused on understanding the nature of opportunities in Africa, this year the theme was “How to build and sustain business in Africa” because for all the opportunity there is, only a few have been able to create businesses that last and continuously grow in this unique environment. We had several guest speakers from various industries such as FMCG, Consulting, Energy, Finance and ICT, participate and shed light on their experiences of the business climate and how they have managed to build successful business on the continent. The event also included participation from a number of initiatives targeting the continent at IE Business School such as Emzingo and Financieros sin Fronteras.

RDR_9496The event started off with a few words from Gayle Allard, the club’s faculty mentor who introduced the president of the IE Africa Club, Octavia Manaka, along with other coordinators of the club: Jeanine Muokwe, Armando Belchior Nunes, Michael Burke, Antoine Abi Kanaan, Onyekachi Eke and Stuart Blyth. She thanked them for their hard work and commitment to hosting this event and others, in an effort to engage others in relevant discussions pertaining to business on the continent. She also spoke of new initiatives that students can participate in such as the annual summer trip to Ethiopia where students are immersed into the culture while contributing to local communities.

This was followed by a presentation from the Director of Financieros sin Fronteras, Maria Luque, who spoke about the efforts of the NGO in addressing the need for microfinance in Ghana. The NGO empowers individuals to overcome challenges by single sustainable capitalism and involves finance students of IE pursuing multiple projects in Ghana and transferring their skills and knowledge.

RDR_9558 (Medium)As interest in working in Africa from both African and non-African students is on the rise, the Africa CV Book was officially launched and Careers in Africa presented on the nature of opportunities for work on the continent. They were well informed and did an excellent job in addressing all the questions students had around work permits, labor laws and career growth on the continent. The session highlighted that the continent has significant potential and career opportunities, however there is still a lack of skilled labor even with the increasing number of diaspora returning to the continent.

After this presentation, the Dean of IE Business School and the President of IE University, Mr. Santiago Íñiguez, officially welcomed all the guests and speakers and started the second part of the event.

RDR_9567 (Medium)Ms. Sofia Cerqueira Serra, a lawyer from Morais Leitao Galvao Teles, shared her learnings from her experience working in Mozambique and Angola. She provided insights on the legal framework for investments in the 2 countries and regulatory requirements of the oil and gas sector. She spoke of the challenges they faced in being a law firm from Portugal when working on the continent and how they viewed these as opportunities. She pointed out that the nature of these challenges did not significantly differ from what they have encountered in other emerging and developed countries.

RDR_9586 (Medium)Following this we were honored to receive an exclusive preview of the Africa Retail Development Index: Seizing the African Retail Opportunity from Mr. Jose Ignacio Nieto Puertas, Partner at AT Kearney Madrid. The ARDI uses a set of tools to analyze macro-economic and retail specific variables to identify and rank countries on the continent on their potential for retail expansion. The report was rather insightful and informed the audience on the business climate in Africa and why some countries are more conducive to retail expansion than others. This report will be officially launched in March 2014 and made available on the website of the company.

Our keynote speaker, Mr. William Egbe, Group Director Sustainability, Strategy & Planning of The Coca-Cola Company captivated the audience by offering a realistic perspective on how to approach business on the continent and depicted how the unique nature of community and culture on the continent is not a challenge but rather a valuable asset. He highlighted 6 pillars necessary to building and sustaining successful business on the continent namely:

RDR_9615 (Medium)Local Partners, as they understand the local environment and become endorsers of your brand.

Long Term Perspective, where no matter the challenges faced today, one needs to remember that the demand is great and will exist long into the future thus significantly diminishing the costs of risks in comparison to the long-term gains.

Continuous Improvement, by building on what you’ve learnt and developing processes and components of the business in context of a continuously changing environment

Create Value to Drive Distribution by ensuring that you are creating shared value for all participants of your supply chain, as this will ensure your product keeps moving.

Social Investment, as no company can succeed in communities where people don’t have the basics and can’t afford to buy the product the company is selling, it is of great importance to help improve communities and empower them to provide for themselves in order for business to be sustainable.

RDR_9629 (Medium)Brand Building because the brand helps mass markets filter through the numerous products they are flooded with to identify quality. Coca-Cola’s managed to get its product to every corner of the continent by building its brand and integrating it into the local culture so successfully that the product moves itself to places where formal supply chains wouldn’t be effective.

Mr. Jorge Portillo of Abengoa took us through some of the projects that the company has invested in across the continent, primarily South Africa. He highlighted the potential for renewable energy projects, especially solar in specific sunny regions, as having the ability to increase access to electricity while keeping the costs of energy at competitive levels. He also spoke of the benefits that the continent would enjoy from desalinization of plants.

RDR_9642 (Medium)Ms. Reine Essobmadjie, the founder of Evolving Consulting, which operates primarily in Cameroon and France, and co-founder of NGO ICT4MDG, presented her opinion on the current state of the ICT sector on the continent. She identified the fragmented nature of the market as a key obstacle that also provided significant opportunity through consolidation. She provided a few suggestions on how best to develop the sector in the market and provide better access for Africa’s significant population. She also spoke of her role and how her company helps in filling the gaps through training and capacity building, hosting events and providing rewards and recognition for efforts in the sector.

RDR_9653 (Medium)Guest speaker, Mr. Kim Allen Barkan, presented on “Entrepreneurship in Africa- Lessons from a Marx, Rhodes and Rockefeller”.

RDR_9658 (Medium)Mr. Pablo Esteves introduced the audience to Emzingo, a business created by IE Alumni with an aim to inspire responsible leadership, prepare individuals to tackle global challenges and connect business to the citizen sector.  The business has multiple programs, one of which involves social consulting projects in South Africa. This is an amazing cause that helps professionally tackle social challenges while developing leaders’ social conscious.

A cocktail ended off what had been an insightful day, and the audience had the opportunity to interact with some of the speakers and other distinguished guests. The turnout at this event was the greatest seen since the initiative began 4 years ago and speaks to the rapidly increasing interest in business on the continent. The overwhelming support from speakers who were keen to present and discuss multiple topics regarding the continent, is a clear indication that 1 afternoon is not enough to address the dynamic nature of business on the continent.

You can visit the full gallery of photos of the event HERE.


Photo 28-11-12 9 07 12 PMWho are we?

Our club’s mission is to raise awareness about the importance of emerging markets in today’s global business landscape. Our objective is to organize a series of activities to help our members learn about the intricacies of emerging markets and facilitate a connection with professionals from different sectors and regions. The club employs a holistic view that cuts across economic, political, social and cultural disciplines and bridges countries in all six major continents.

Current coordinators 

Elena Llagostera (Executive Master in Luxury Brands Management, Feb-2012): With more than seven years of experience in Marketing and Advertising for leading international companies in their industries (skincare, telecommunications, consumer goods and airlines) within different markets (US, France, Portugal and Spain), Elena can provide a 360-degree view of strategic marketing projects. Email:

Sara Beneroso Prats (IMBA Dec-2013): With a natural flair for cultural adaptability Sara brings to the club 6 years experience working in China across sales and marketing functions in the luxury and travel sectors. Email:

Eduardo Fernández (GSMP 2012 and GEL 2013): VP at Research in Motion, Mediterranean countries. Digital emigrant, gen X geek, 15 years in wireless tech and mobile internet. Twitter: @efernandez

 Anosh Pardiwalla (IMBA Dec-2013): Worked for a start-up trading company supplying goods and services to the Oil & Gas & Steel sector for over 3 years. Represented Brazilian, Italian, Chinese and American countries in the Indian and foreign markets. Anosh has a good idea of the linkages between developed and developing economies. Email:

Namrata Raina (IMBA Dec-2013): After working for 2 years as an engineer in a business analyst role with HSBC, Namrata started her own venture of Serviced Apartments and Guest Houses (now 1.5 years old) in India. She brings to the board her expertise in Sales, Marketing, and Business Development in the Hospitality Sector. Email:

Virgil Esguerra (IMBA Apr-2013): Virgil has 6 years experience as a Hong Kong-based Emerging Markets FX and Fixed Income Strategist and brings to the board a passion for international finance, political economy and adventure travel. He is also on the board of Finance Club and IEOut. Email:

 Club activities

• Since we are an ‘affinity club’, we have a unique opportunity to present activities that cut across many interests, professions, industries and regions – as long as they relate to the ‘emerging markets’. We’ve been quite active these last few months. Most recently, we hosted a panel discussion on “Luxury in the BRIC Markets”, held on January 28th and featured seasoned professionals from the luxury industry representing all four BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China) companies such as Carrera & Carrera, Loewe, Louis Vuitton and Pangea 21 International Consulting. The IE blog describes the event in detail.
• On January 17th, we co-sponsored with the IE Finance Club an “Emerging Markets Client Call”. It was a unique opportunity to listen to a live investor conference call featuring HSBC analysts from New York, London and Hong Kong present their multi-asset 2013 outlook for equities, fixed income and currencies in Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe/Middle East/Africa.
• In November, we hosted a career and job search-related panel looking at “Expat Opportunities in China, Hong Kong and Singapore”. This panel featured guest speakers from Hudson Recruiting and the China-Spain Chamber of Commerce as well as IMBA students who have lived in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Photo 29-1-13 8 02 33 PMOur vision 

We are now looking at two upcoming events to be held this spring. The first one will focus on Sub-Saharan African growth, and for this one we will be counting with a very special guest: a faculty member. The second event will bring a series of professionals that will unlock for us the secrets of consumer behavior in South America.

The best activities develop organically from the interests of our members, so we are always looking for ideas to help us guide and inspire our event program, so please don’t hesitate to talk any of our board members if you have any suggestions for future activities.

Get in touch and participate!

You can contact us either via IE Communities or Facebook.

We highly encourage our members to share information with us relating to emerging markets.


On 28 January, the IE Emerging Markets Club hosted a panel discussion on the luxury goods market in the emerging economies known as the “BRICs” (Brazil, Russia, India and China). The event was held in Aula Magna and featured presentations from four esteemed panelists who shared their insights from years of experience developing luxury brands in a BRIC market. 

The panel event was the brainchild of board member, Elena Llagostera (PSUL 2012), a graduate of IE’s Executive Masters in Luxury Brands Management. Elena is herself experienced in the luxury sector when she was a Product Manager with Hedonai Beauty Centers. Elena organized the event in response to overwhelming interest from members of the Emerging Markets Club, which boasts a membership of over 1,700 alumni and current students. 

“This was a unique opportunity to take advantage of IE’s strong global network and to educate the community about a fast-growing and promising market”, said Elena. 

Sara Beneroso (IMBA 2013), a board member in both the Emerging Markets and Luxury & Fashion clubs with experience in Shanghai’s luxury market noted that “with growth opportunities, come challenges.” “For instance, the lack of awareness about luxury brands in the emerging markets makes brand education very important in order to improve customer loyalty”, says Sara.

The first presentation centered on Brazil and was delivered by Livia Fukuda (IMBA 2011), Clienteling Manager at the Louis Vuitton Store in Barcelona. Her presentation highlighted growth opportunities in Brazil, where the luxury market is growing at 12% – triple the rate of the economy. Furthermore, Livia’s presentation mentioned two challenges – labor shortage and high import taxes – as well as the unique local practice of paying in multiple installments. 

The Russian luxury market was presented by panelist Antonina Hoppenrath Skorobogatowa (EXMBA 2005), VP of International Sales for the Middle East, Europe, Russia and Central Asia with the Spanish jewelry brand Carrera y Carrera. Antonina described a few particularities of the Russian luxury consumer. For example, while Western taste is skewed towards understatement and individuality, the Russian consumer typically has a preference for opulence, which could be traced to the ornamental aesthetic style of the Orthodox Church. Entry barriers in this market include luxury taxes and complex administrative burden, which encourage brands to enter the market through exclusive distributorships versus retail stores. 

The third panelist, Juan Carlos Martin (IMBA 1997) spoke about the Chinese and Asian market, tapping into his 15-year career in the luxury and retail industry, including several years as Retail Outlet manager for Loewe of LVMH Group. Juan explained the different stages of luxury market evolution.

Finally, Pradeep Bhargava, philologist and international trade specialist, spoke about the Indian market. He introduced India’s history with luxury spanning from the royal princes (“maharajas”) of pre-colonial times, to post-independence minimalism (typified by Gandhi) to recent resurgence after market reforms. Pradeep explained that – while Western luxury brands dominate automobiles, watches and yachts in India – local consumers prefer homegrown designers for jewellery, clothing and leather goods given the market’s appreciation for ornate craftwork. However, Pradeep also illustrated some examples of Indian aesthetics being exported and elevated onto the world stage, including Louis Vuitton’s recent ad campaign romanticizing India’s glorious history. Pradeep is currently a Consultant at Pangea 21 Consultora Internacional and founder of Indavant Consulting where he is working to introduce Mediterranean lifestyle products and brands in Asia.

The “Luxury in the BRICs” panel was the third event hosted by the Emerging Markets Club since December 2012. This and past activities – including a panel on “Expat Opportunities in China, Hong Kong and Singapore” and an “Emerging Market Investor Call” presented by HSBC – reinforce the club’s stated goal of enlightening future leaders about the opportunities of emerging economies across various industries, including banking, luxury, energy, tourism, telecoms to entrepreneurship to name a few.

The Emerging Markets Club maintains a Facebook page as a means for tapping into the IE community’s collective wealth – and diversity – of resources and capabilities in the emerging markets.

The author, Virgil Esguerra (IMBA 2013), is a board member of IE’s Emerging Markets and Finance clubs.

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