Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Student Research: “I feel forgotten”: The Hidden Crisis of Greek Islanders

by Stratos Kamenis (MALD 2017)

The massive exodus of the Syrian people has led to a refugee crisis in Europe. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have made the long journey across Turkey and then to Greece, putting their lives in danger in the hope of finding a better future in Europe. In 2015, more than a million asylum-seekers took refuge in Europe, with another 500,000 following in the first half of 2016. A deal was struck between the European Union and Turkey in March aimed at limiting the number of migrants and regulating migration by establishing EU-administered camps – the so-called hotspots – on the Greek islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, and Kos, from where the majority of migrants enter Europe.

Refugee boats arriving to the shores of Lesvos (August 2015)

The island of Lesvos found itself under the spotlight of international media as the central entry point to Europe. Some 600,000 refugees and migrants have passed through the island over the past 19 months. After a year of coping with the crisis without aid from international organizations, the impact on Lesvos’ 85,000 permanent residents has been significant. To their credit, the locals have been gracious hosts. Their sense of tolerance and solidarity has been praised by major world figures including Pope Francis, Queen Rania of Jordan, actress Angelina Jolie and former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Their humanitarian efforts have earned them a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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The End of Money
by Emily Cashen

Bhaskar Chakravorti, an economics scholar and Executive Director of the Fletcher School’s Institute for Business in the Global Context, said: “The initial argument made by Modi was that these bank notes were demonetised to flush out the underground economy – known as the ‘black economy’ in India – or to flush out the illegal activities carried out by underground groups and terrorist groups.”

Read the full piece at World Finance

GE Chief Digital Officer John Gordon Talks Technology Advances with Fletcher Students

“It’s a pretty exciting time for you all to be coming out of Fletcher,” John Gordon told an audience of Fletcher students. After all, the technology field is developing rapidly, and ideas once-considered “crazy” are driving major industry progress. Gordon knows a thing or two about noteworthy technology developments; he’s the Chief Digital Officer of Current, powered by General Electric  (GE) — an energy company that integrates GE’s LED, Solar, Energy Storage and Electric Vehicle businesses to deliver cost-effective, efficient energy solutions.

Understanding how technology evolves and the “implications of new technology trends” is of the utmost importance, Gordon told students. He referred to GE as a “big industrial company in transition” and said staying on top of the latest technology is one of the ways it stays current and drives progress.

John Gordon, Chief Digital Officer at GE, speaks as part of the IBGC Speaker Series (Photo Credit: Anthony Schultz)

Case in point? GE is known for building locomotives and engines, but at a certain point the company realized they needed to update the way they approach technology to better understand how their systems actually perform. “We decided that we needed a different type of technology that would allow us to service things better,” he explained. So GE sought out additional data to teach them how various machines, like airplanes, were operating, then started the process of analyzing.

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“Simple: No Address, No Money” by Ignacio Mas

by Ignacio Mas, CEME Senior Fellow

Sometimes small experiences can shake your confidence to the bone by exposing the fragility of things you took for granted. Such was the case with my recent trouble accessing my bank account with Simple, a new-generation digital only bank, which I described here. I’ve lost my money, simply because I can’t remember the address on record associated with the account. (I was at a transient stage in my life back then and I gave a friends’ – but which one?). I can’t be me if I don’t know my address – that thing that usually everyone else around you knows!

The financial stake for me was small, but it triggered two overwhelming thoughts.

First, your entire financial situation can change by failing to answer what in most circumstances would seem like a reasonable, straight-forward question. Who knew that in this fast-paced, information-rich digital age, something as banal as an old address can stand between you and your money? Next time it won’t be for forgetting an address, but now I can’t help worrying about what other seemingly trivial test I might fail in the future that will cause me to lose all the money in my main bank accounts. A new type of financial insecurity looms.

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Student Research: Madagascar: The Last Frontier for IT/BPO in the Francophone World?

by Domoina Rambeloarison (MIB 2017)

By 2020, the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry is expected to reach $220 billion. Broadly speaking, the term refers to contracting business functions and processes, typically related to information technology (IT), to a third-party service provider. It encompasses a range of activities that include customer service work, data entry, digitization, financial accounting, and other higher value-knowledge processing such as content development, legal services, engineering design, and data analytics.[1] I developed an interest in the sector in the Francophone world after noticing a wave of IT/BPO firms establish offices in my home country, Madagascar.

Teamwork in a Malagasy BPO/IT office

Curious to know more about the sector’s potential impact on the country’s economic base, I traveled to Antananarivo with support from IBGC. I interviewed the managers of four BPO firms, ranging from a large French subsidiary to a Malagasy start-up. I also met with the national information, communication, and technology (ICT) regulatory body, the ICT industry association, the tech hub, and one of the main four telecommunication companies. I learned what attracted these firms to invest and how they overcame the challenges of operating in a low-income country. More importantly, the interviews helped shape my views on how an IT/BPO sector could contribute to economic growth through investment and job creation.

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HubSpot CFO John Kinzer Discusses Company, Career at IBGC Speaker Series

How do the decisions you make over the course of your career influence your ultimate trajectory? HubSpot’s Chief Financial Officer, John Kinzer, posed this question while discussing his impressive career and current role in a presentation for The Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC) speaker series on March 27. Kinzer manages HubSpot’s finances and played a key role in the company’s initial public offering.

Kinzer described some of the major career decisions that paved his path to HubSpot. For instance, he said studying at Virginia Tech’s business school helped prepare him for his first major career step: entering the field of public accounting.

HubSpot CFO John Kinzer takes the audience through his career journey, HubSpot’s growth, and more as part of the IBGC Speaker Series with, “From Start-Up to Scale-Up”

After working for Arthur Anderson for several years, Kinzer took an accounting job with MCI rather than attend business school. At MCI, he gained analytical skills and learned the important connection between marketing and business.

While working at MCI, Kinzer got a call from E-centives, an online coupon company, and took a job there. “I’d been at two very big companies and wanted to do something smaller,” he explained.

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Student Research: Behind the Numbers: Finding Success in Impact Investing

by McKenzie Smith (MIB 2017)

In their 2016 Investor’s Survey, the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) reported that 99% of respondents are meeting or exceeding their impact targets, whereas 89% would say the same for financial returns. As with many statistics, this near-perfect success made me wonder about the anecdotes behind the numbers, and the conversations that followed with professors, peers, and practitioners in the impact investing space formed the foundation of my capstone.

Recent research by the GIIN shows that impact data drives business value through five key channels, and other work has focused on just how impact investors are measuring impact. Still others argue for the use of impact classes to bring clarity to how we discuss impact, but few have focused on best practices for actively managing impact performance. As my conversations evolved, my list of questions grew.
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What’s in a name?
by Imad Ahmed (MIB 2011)

Disputes over the Indus waters divide the Republic of India and Pakistan. There is talk of talks in Lahore this month between the countries’ representatives. Recognising shared historical identity stemming from the river could bring people of the two nations closer, and facilitate smoother discussions in the long term.

Read the full piece in Pakistan Today

Early Lessons from India’s Demonetization Experiment

Did India just pull off a monetary and political miracle?

Consider the sequence of events in its demonetization saga. In November the government made a high-risk, high-stakes economic intervention in the world’s largest democracy, with an objective to reduce corruption. Overnight, 86% of cash in circulation was voided. In a country almost 90% cash reliant, chaos ensued. As I said at the time, it was a case study in poor policy and even poorer execution.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

How Companies Can Champion Sustainable Development

Given political climates around the world and a new wariness around international cooperation, the private sector could find itself in the hot seat: trying to pick up the slack on big issues from climate change to sustainable development. This demand for taking on a larger role may come not only from advocacy and watchdog groups but also from customers, investors, partners, and employees.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in the Harvard Business Review

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