Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Month: May 2017

Student Research: Engaging the Market: Investor Relations in Mainland China

As the calendar turns summer and another class leaves Fletcher, we reflect on some of the fascinating research we’ve supported from students in the past. In this post, we revisit MIB ’16 graduate Nathan Holdstein’s research on investor relations for companies in Mainland China.


For firms at various stages of development, listing shares on a major international stock exchange is the penultimate measurement for establishing oneself as a “successful” business. This is especially true of firms based in Mainland China. In many cases, firms choose to list shares outside of the country, mostly in Hong Kong and the United States, either as a primary listing or to supplement existing listings on local bourses. Those that do so can face intense scrutiny from market regulators, investors, media, and the general public. What can they do to better demonstrate the value they will bring to shareholders in international markets?

The author interviewing Prof. Zhigang Tao, Hong Kong University

My capstone looks at the investor relations component, and why Chinese companies should more actively engage key market players to better show their value. I am hypothesizing that companies doing so have larger percentages of institutional shareholders, which will reduce volatility and push the price up over the long-term. This occurs in large part because those firms that are successful will provide the market with a steady stream of reports, forward guidance, and general news updates to give analysts and stakeholders a better understanding of what the company’s value is.

With support from the Institute for Business in the Global Context, I traveled to the Special Administrative Region in Hong Kong to meet experts and practitioners of investor relations and finance there. Given its proximity to the Mainland and relatively market oriented monetary regulation & capital controls, it is no surprise that a number of Chinese companies choose to go public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. I wanted to get a better understanding of what it takes to have a successful listing in Hong Kong, in which the share price remains relatively stable and increases in value.

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Planet Money: On Why India Made Most Of Its Money Worthless

India’s prime minister recently decided to make almost all of the cash in his country worthless. He said it was meant to stop corruption. It turns out, that idea came from a very surprising source.

“In many ways, people in India are actually quite comfortable, you know, going back and forth between science and spirituality. The lines are sometimes quite blurred.”

Listen to the full NPR piece, including comments from Dean Chakravorti

Evaluating India’s Radical Experiment In Eliminating High-Value Currency

Economist Bhaskar Chakravorti says even after all the drama, almost all of the cash in circulation in India made its way back into the banking system.

BHASKAR CHAKRAVORTI: Not all of that was legal cash. It just happened to be the case that India has – is extremely innovative in getting it on constraints.

STACEY VANEK SMITH: But the public loved it. Modi’s approval rating has continued to climb. It’s just amazing to me that people aren’t angry about this. Like, why do you think that people are supportive of this move?

CHAKRAVORTI: Because populism is a strange thing, right?

Listen to the full piece at NPR

The Art of Curry Diplomacy

Infosys’ curry diplomacy was, no doubt, inspired by Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” order and his threat to revise the H-1B visa programme. I am not convinced that extravagant job-creation programmes in the US are the best use of Infosys’ increasingly scarce resources. While the Bengaluru-based IT giant may know how to mix its spices, to “curry favour” is a phrase that, oddly enough, has little to do with treating someone to a mean curry. Its obscure origins are in the grooming of horses: “To curry” is “to brush”. By spending resources on creating thousands of tech jobs in a country where the administration is gutting resources for science and technology programmes in an industry rapidly being automated, it seems Infosys is bringing the wrong curry and backing the wrong horse.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

Student Research: IBGC Meets “BBGC”: Belgian Brewing in a Global Context

As the calendar turns summer and another class leaves Fletcher, we reflect on some of the fascinating research we’ve supported from students in the past. In this post, MIB ’16 graduate Ali Edelstein travels to Belgium to study its brewing industry.


This week, I realized Belgium is not the same country I lived and worked in two years ago. Its quirky citizens and hidden, lively bars have become more exposed to worldly cares and issues. Belgian companies are being acquired by international competitors; family brewers are innovating to stay relevant among microbrewers; and ISIS is launching a full assault on the country. The Institute for Business in the Global Context gave me a travel grant to support my research around the middle topic, so I traveled to Belgium, not expecting to experience the latter.

The author with Fletcher alum Mark Baker, Diageo’s Director of Global Trade & Regulatory Affairs

I arrived in Brussels on Monday morning and went directly to the European quarter for a meeting with Mark Baker, Fletcher alum and Diageo’s Director of Global Trade & Regulatory Affairs. True to Fletcher spirit, the topics we discussed ranged from the company’s work with local agricultural cooperatives in Africa to its involvement in a recent WTO case.  Mark played an instrumental role in helping me build industry knowledge and secure contacts for my capstone, “Strategic Alliances for Bourbon Barrel Beer: A European Market Opportunity Analysis”.

Tuesday morning came and as I headed to the train station to travel to the Amsterdam office of Diageo’s peer — Brown-Forman’s — I received news of multiple explosions in Brussels. Suicide bombers had initiated explosions in the airport and at Maelbeek metro station. I caught the last train out of the country before they shut down transportation, and while I had a productive meeting at Brown-Forman reviewing the details of my capstone’s proposal, I couldn’t get my favorite city off my mind.

What happened? Were my friends OK? How many people were killed? How could this happen? Would Brussels ever be the same?

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Commencing a New Chapter: MIB Annin Peck Reflects on Fletcher Experience

Annin Peck, MIB 2017

As part of the run-up to commencement, The Fletcher School is profiling a number of graduating MIBs, looking back on their time at Fletcher and ahead to their future. Dive deep into the Fletcher experience with 2017 MIB graduate, Annin Peck.


  1. Why did you choose The Fletcher School?

    I chose Fletcher for several reasons. When thinking about going back to graduate school, I knew I wanted a business program with an international focus. My research into international business programs showed me there were not many schools that fit the criteria I was looking for, but The Fletcher School more than met my criteria — it passed with flying colors. The program is interdisciplinary, internationally focused in all subject matters, has a diverse faculty, staff and student body and has a broad course offering.

    The alumni and student body were also critical to my decision-making process. I couldn’t believe how helpful, engaging and passionate every alum was. I recognized the passion that alumni still held for their school immediately, and by the time I made the decision to attend Fletcher, I already felt that I was a part of the community. I knew if the engagement from the alumni network was this good even before I had chosen Fletcher, it would be an alumni network I could always count on.

  2. Do you have a favorite Fletcher memory?
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“Entrepreneurship in Nunavik – A Credible Alternative?” by Nathan Cohen-Fournier (MIB ’17)

by Nathan Cohen-Fournier (MIB ’17)

The Arctic, once inaccessible, today offers itself to an interconnected world and thirsty for resources. As melting ice reaches record levels, governments and multinationals are wondering how to take advantage of this region, which is full of oil, natural gas, and minerals. In Québec, the implementation of the Plan Nord is an example of this, with more than $ 50 billion invested over 25 years. Despite growing international attention, northern communities aspire to develop their markets independently. More and more Nunavimmiut – Nunavik residents – are turning to entrepreneurial approaches. During my research during the summer of 2016, I sought to understand the prospects for entrepreneurship in Nunavik.

Read Nathan’s full op-ed in The Huffington Post

Menghan Li, ComeOnGirls, Win 2017 Fletcher D-Prize

Menghan Li (F18) first realized she wanted to fight poverty while she was working with rural children. These children had been abandoned, not only because their parents needed to find employment, but also because they were female. “I started to think about how a special group of people — rural girls — suffer from dual disadvantages from the society —  one from their background, the other from their gender,” Li recalls.

When she heard about The Fletcher School and The Institute for Business in the Global Context’s (IBGC) partnership with D-Prize, which awards up to $20,000 to fund new ventures that fight poverty in Africa, Asia or other developing regions, Li knew what her project would be: women’s education. Li won over the judges with her ComeOnGirls scholarship platform, and was recently announced as the 2017 Fletcher D-Prize winner.

Menghan Li (middle) receives the Fletcher D-Prize award from (left to right) Dean James Stavridis, Dorothy Orszulak, Bhaskar Chakravorti, and Marilyn Davison (and her dog, Chili!)

ComeOnGirls is a nonprofit that works to alleviate poverty by improving women’s education. The pilot program will launch in Western China —where Li says two-thirds of female students drop out of school — and she hopes to expand to other countries like Brazil and India. “We want to help remove the financial barrier and gender discrimination in secondary education by awarding scholarships,” she says. “The girls we select must demonstrate outstanding academic performance or special talents, and the drive to change their own lives as well as to contribute to the long-term development of the local community.”

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