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Highlights and tips from LATAM 2016

Hot off the back of the recent Latin America Business Forum, Latam 2.0: Disruptive Business Trends In Latin America, Antonio Prida, co-chair of the conference, took a few moments to tell us about the highlights and reflect on the organising the conference.

Name: Antonio Prida

Programme: MBA2016

Student–led conference: Latam 2.0: Disruptive Business Trends In Latin America

You’re co-chair on the LATAM conference team. Why did you want to get involved?

I was part of the team that organised the forum last year and had a lot of fun with the experience. One of the things I liked the most about it was the amazing opportunity it offered to reach out to very high-level individuals.  For example, I was able to contact Carlos Fernandez (former CEO of Grupo Modelo) and invite him to be a keynote speaker to last year’s forum - we have kept in touch ever since!

You had an impressive line-up of key note speakers, including the former President of Mexico. What did you take away from the discussions?

We set out to organise a very forward-looking forum this year and focus the discussion around what firms in the region are doing to adapt to the main trends (rise of the middle class, increased access to credit, closer commercial integration, etc.) We were lucky enough to have representatives from both the public and private sectors who spoke openly about what the challenges and opportunities were in different sectors. The main takeaways for me were the importance of culture (in the broadest sense) in business and how careful regional integration may hold the key to prosperity.

What was your highlight of the day?

Personally, I really enjoyed the panel on macroeconomic trends in the region. The panel was made up of people with all types of backgrounds from the world of finance and provided great insights into what risks they thought threatened the region as well as what opportunities firms could leverage to their advantage. Especially interesting was the discussion around the role debt has played in Latam and how this has set it apart from other emerging economies.

The highlight of the forum was the truly all-star speeches and debate generated in the forum. It was amazing to see the energy levels in the room maintained for the entirety of the event. Each speaker added to the discussion with their own experience and opinions and the event was capped by a truly inspirational talk by Alberto Verme about the power of the individual in writing the next chapter of Latam’s history.

Can you share your top tips from running the conference?

Kicking off the planning efforts early proved crucial for us. Having enough time allowed us to react quickly and effectively to problems we encountered, even if at times it felt like we we’re just barely meeting deadlines! This year we experimented a little with the marketing strategy and felt very happy with the outcomes. Casting as wide a net as possible and reaching out to Latam clubs in top European universities was key to executing this strategy. In the end, having a great team take ownership of all the different workstreams also freed up a lot of time for the co-chairs to tackle individual issues on a case-by-case basis.