As stateside opportunities wax and wane, MBA students at U.S. business schools have become increasingly interested in emerging markets in developing countries around the globe. Though they can present greater risks, there are career opportunities unique to these often overlooked economies that appeal to many sides of the MBA in training—particularly the part that longs to get in on the ground floor of the next big thing.
Recently, students at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business have become increasingly interested in emerging markets. In response, the school earlier this month hosted its first-ever conference devoted exclusively to the theme. Entitled “Leapfrogging the Developed World: Lessons from Emerging Markets,” it took place on March 3rd.
A full 37 percent of Tuck’s student body is made up of international students drawn from 39 different countries, which could have something to do with the fact that interest in emerging markets is so great on campus. The goal of the recent conference was “to underline the success of organizations operating in emerging economies, both multinational and local, who bring cultural insight and innovative solutions to market.”
BOUNTIFUL OPPORTUNITIES OVERLOOKED DUE TO PERCEIVED RISK
In a recent interview, Ugandan-born Tuck student Muyambi Muyambi discussed his interest in emerging markets and the unique opportunities and challenges they present. “I come from the emerging markets and am fascinated by the bountiful opportunities that are sometimes overlooked because of the perceived risks.” He continued, saying that he hopes that engaging in developing markets will “shift people’s perspectives…across emerging markets to realize their true value-economically and socially.”
Muyambi elaborated that he believes an engagement with emerging markets is necessary for any forward-thinking professional due to the world’s rapidly changing business environment. “No one knows where the next biggest idea is going to come from… it’s critical they keep up with what’s going on in…developing countries.” Emerging markets are shaping the future of many different industries, leading Muyambi to believe that meaningful engagement with them is critical in terms of the future of business as a whole.
GREEN TECH OPPORTUNITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Sonali Chitre is another Tuck student with great interest in emerging markets. First-year MBA student Chitre is interested in entrepreneurship and distributed tech, energy, and infrastructure in the Middle East. She is interested in emerging markets due to their potential to “help the rest of the world grow, too,” and hopes to create “positive feedback loops and diplomatic relations” that will result in great global cooperation and transparency.
Prior to her time at Tuck, Chitre worked at the United Nations as a legal adviser, as well as a lawyer and consultant working on green technologies in India, the Middle East, and Africa. She believes that “private investors from developed countries need to invest alongside the World Bank and governments to make projects work in the long run.”
Tuck’s “Leapfrogging the Developed World” Conference featured presentations by a variety of global leaders including Wale Ayene, regional head of Africa venture capital at World Bank sister organization the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Franklin Olakunle, founding partner at Baylis Funds. Chitre shared that she was excited to learn from these two experts in African financial projects and hoped the conference would connect her with a range of students and alumni who share her interest in project finance.
“I see myself as working in technology and venture capital, and ideally it would be incredible to raise a VC / PE fund with other Tuckies focused on green tech in emerging markets,” she said.
Tuck’s recent emerging markets conference was among the first of its kind at a leading business school and explored an increasingly relevant topic that many believe is necessary to unpack alongside other standard post-MBA career fare. As Muyambi pointed out, Amazon’s next biggest market is “more likely than not an emerging market.” Which would suggest that prospective applicants and business students everywhere should take the hint from these Tuckies and think more about how important and vital emerging markets are and may further become.