Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Month: November 2015

The problem with the endless discussion of disruptive innovation

While the innovation industry may be experiencing a golden age, according to several measures, the ideas industry for innovation may be in a state of crisis. We know we are in trouble, when the ideas industry gets embroiled in discussing itself rather than developing fresh approaches for innovative problem-solving.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in The Washington Post

Alumni of IBGC Global Research Fellowship Published in MIT Press Innovations

Building on research conducted as part of the IBGC Global Research Fellowship, Fletcher alumni Michael Mori (MALD ’15) and Trevor Zimmer (MALD ’15) published a piece in the MI Press Journal, Innovations. Their research, undertaken in the Summer of 2014, examined the gaps in mobile banking among the poor in Indonesia. Both Michael and Trevor currently work for Dalberg Design Impact Group at Dalberg Global Development Advisors.


Indonesia is the largest consumer market in Southeast Asia and a member of the G20, yet it has one of the largest underbanked populations in the world. As of 2014, only 36 percent of Indonesia’s 243 million people were banked, leaving the majority financially excluded, exposed to risk, and left to manage their finances with mostly inefficient, informal services (World Bank 2014).

Check out their full article in Innovations: “Mobilizing Banking for Indonesia’s Poor”

The Inclusive Growth Initiative (Inclusion, Inc.) of IBGC offers the opportunity for a select number of exceptional Fletcher students to conduct original research and analysis around the world as a part of the IBGC Global Research Fellowship. The program was created in 2013 and has sent student teams into the field for immersive studies in emerging and frontier markets such as Myanmar, Turkey, Kenya, and Indonesia.

What Businesses Need to Know About Sustainable Development Goals

The UN General Assembly held its regular meeting in New York this fall. But this year its purpose was different – and with significant implications for the future of the human condition. More than 190 member countries committed to “eliminate poverty in all its forms everywhere” by 2030, together with 16 other “big, hairy, audacious goals” — to use Jim Collins’ memorable phrase. Coming out of the meeting, the hashtag #2030Now, meant to drum up ground-level support, made a combined total of more than 1.6 billion impressions on Twitter and Instagram and was the top trending topic in the U.S. during the assembly. Cultural icons from Shakira to Queen Rania of Jordan were brought in to lend a certain pizzazz to the goals’ rollout.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in the Harvard Business Review

Political Risk and the Insurance Industry: A Conversation with Bhasker Natarajan

Bhasker Natarajan, EVP, Liberty International

Bhasker Natarajan, EVP, Liberty International

The past few months have seen rising concerns about political risk and the development of emerging markets, as scandal has rocked Brazil, international sanctions have jammed business in Russia, India has struggled to move forward with reforms, and the Chinese market saw $5 trillion in value wiped out. Against that backdrop, Bhasker Natarajan recently joined Fletcher students to discuss the challenges facing the insurance industry in markets with distinctive geopolitical risks. Mr. Natarajan currently serves as Executive Vice President at Liberty International and Chief Operating Officer for Large Emerging Markets, where his portfolio includes oversight of activities in Turkey, Russia, India, and China—or, as he occasionally calls them, the “TRIC or tricky countries.”

Read the full post at the website for the Fletcher Conference on Managing Political Risk

“Global Finance: Private Equity, the Financial Crisis, and a Little History of Money” Patrick Kocsi (F96), GE Capital

“The age of high returns over the last thirty years is over,” declared Patrick Kocsi (F96) at his October 16 talk, part of the Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC) Speaker Series. “Today, we’re at a point in the credit and equity markets where things are starting to flash orange.”

From ancient Mesopotamia to China in early 1980s and up to the nexus of change staring us right in the face in 2015, Kocsi, Senior Managing Director and Head of GE Capital, Equity, took the audience on a journey through the history of money, equity, and the ever-shifting winds of the world economy. The self-declared “optimist” looked from the past to signals in today’s credit markets as a sign that we stand on the cusp of an inflection point in global finance.

Patrick Kocsi

Patrick Kocsi (F96), Senior Managing Director and Head of GE Capital, Equity

As he presented it, not even unrelenting optimism allows you to ignore the writing on the wall. “When debt grows faster than GDP,” Kocsi added, “it’s probably not a good thing.”

According to Kocsi, high rates of growth in China, India and other countries – buoyed by low interest rates, high debt levels, and significant and seemingly unsustainable returns on investment – are unlikely to continue in the near future. For Fletcher students, slow growth will almost certainly play a significant role in their professional and personal lives as corporations, non-profits, and governments begin to reign in spending and increase savings.

As the latest guest in IBGC’s long-running Speaker Series, Kocsi brought a refreshing air to a topic that lends itself to doom-and-gloom prognostication.

For more than 14 years, the IBGC Speaker Series has brought in global business leaders to speak to and engage with Fletcher students. Past speakers have included African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka and Caffè Nero founder and CEO Gerry Ford (F84).

A like for Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg’s mission is, however, bigger than that of a CEO paying a courtesy call to his largest customer base. India is also home to a chunk of the 4.5 billion people who cannot be his customers because they have no internet access. He was here to also sell Facebook’s year-old project,, or Free Basics, that promises the digitally excluded internet access that is both free and basic. The service has already reached a billion people in 19 countries.

But he is being pilloried for his efforts. […]  All this is getting more yikes than “likes”.

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

After earning a bachelor’s degree in French at her old alma mater, Indiana University, Alisha Guffey decided to pursue a master’s degree in International Business at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. It was there that Guffey faced a new kind of cultural challenge: Being a die-hard Colts fan in the heart of Patriots country.

Read the full story on MIB Candidate Alisha Guffey at CBS Boston

“Reflections on Nigeria’s Banking Reforms” by Prof. Kingsley Moghalu

The evolution of African economies in the past decade cannot be discussed without evaluating the growth and challenges of the financial sector. In that context, the role of banks has been dominant. This dominance is not necessarily a good thing, for it implies the limitations of the continent’s financial markets and the need to deepen and diversify them.

Read the full op-ed from Prof. Moghalu in This Day Live