Originally published November 2015
As of this past Monday, the first semester of Northeastern University’s Emerging Markets Club has come to a close. I am so proud of everyone involved, and am very happy we were able to have so many amazing speakers come in to talk to the club.
I look forward to everything to come next semester, such as our amazing speakers, our new initiatives, and our summit (which is March 19th this year!), which will focus on the App Bubble. This past semester we have had some educational and interesting speakers, speakers who helped raise awareness about the club and entertained, all while teaching us more about emerging markets.
Greece Debt Crisis
One of the first events we had was a panel to talk about the Greece Debt Crisis. We were able to bring in three Northeastern professors who each brought different experiences and viewpoints to the panel. Our professors included Peter Simon, a Northeastern economics professor, Ioannis Livanis, who is not only an International Affairs and Political Science professor at Northeastern, but also from Greece, and Richard Katula, who runs a Northeastern dialogue to Greece and is a professor in Communication Studies on campus.
For our first event, it was a definite success. The Greece financial situation was explained in much more depth, and the professors engaged in debate which excited our audience. We did not have time for more than a few questions, but we were able to see how fantastic a panel is, especially on a hot issue like the Greece debt crisis.
A few weeks later we were able to bring in Northeastern start-up Nomadic Attire and their Co-Founder/Creative Director Youssef Elbehri to speak. Nomadic Attire is a clothing company that specializes in East African clothing with a Western touch. All the clothing is authentic, and is manufactured in Kenya.
Nomadic Attire brought a new format to the club, as the presentation was more discussion based. After a short presentation on the company’s involvement in emerging markets, Elbehri opened the floor to questions, and created a dialogue with the students. Elbehri spoke about the challenges that came with working in an emerging market with a start-up, and posed questions to the students, making the meeting seem more like a discussion. This made for a more relaxed, but just as interesting, meeting.
Jack Perkowski: “Mr. China”
One week we were lucky enough to have not one, but two amazing speakers, making an extended meeting so we could have the opportunity to hear both speak. The first of two speakers, Jack Perkowski, former CEO of Asimco Technologies and author of “Managing the Dragon,” spoke about his experience creating a successful business in China.
Without a doubt our most popular speaker, Perkowski started off telling his backstory, and how he went from growing up in Pittsburg to moving to China with very little preparation, ready to just follow his intuition that the market was ready to explode. Perkowski was able to speak to his accomplishments, and answer questions for others excited about the opportunities China offers.
The second of our two speakers, Northeastern professor Nikos Passas, was just as interesting, although he spoke to a much different issue: corruption in emerging markets. Professor Passas is one of Northeastern’s most accomplished professors, having published more than 140 articles, book chapters, reports, and books in 13 different languages.
Passas’ presentation was very engaging, speaking about his research as well as highlighting certain countries with corruption issues. Passas spoke extensively about corruption in Greece, which was beneficial since club members previously had the opportunity to attend the Greece Crisis Panel, meaning that students had background knowledge of Greece to pull from. Passas’ presentation was unfortunately cut short, but we hope to host him again, whether next semester or next year!
Our final speaker of the year, and my personal favorite, was Jana Mobile, a company that produces the app mCent, which gives people in emerigng markets the opportunity to download apps in exchange for credits, which can then be redeemed for data, minutes, or messages. Jana Mobile was created by Nathan Eagle when he realized that there was not an easy way for nurses to communicate about the amount of blood available in hospitals in Kenya when he was working there as a Fulbright Scholar.
Mr. Eagle was unable to come due to scheduling conflicts, but we hope to see him later in the year, potentially at the Global Summit. The presentation given by Christina Zhou was still very interesting however. She spoke about the basics of the app and company, and then focused on the way that markets were selected, how each market differed, and how changes were implemented to adapt to each market. The presentation was very informative and thought provoking, especially for someone interested in start-ups and building a business in emerging markets.
As fantastic as this semester was, I am excited for the opportunities to come in the future, especially as we cultivate our membership and promote our exciting events. Not only will we be sure to have interesting speakers, but we are going to start focusing on our Global Summit, which this year’s theme is the App Bubble.
Note: We also held a transfer pricing lecture featuring Tanya Terekhova from KPMG, but I was unfortunately unable to attend.