A group of students from the School – from MSC IBEM, MSc HR and MSc F&I – recently participated in the 6th annual Emerging Markets (EM) forum, an event organized by the London School of Economics Student Union since 2009. It’s the largest EM student event attracting top guest speakers and students from the best UK Universities.
The agenda of this year continued to focus on relevant topics around EMs – but it was the unique and inspirational speakers that made the difference.
Through a diverse range of speaker sessions and panel discussions, we gained valuable knowledge, and a better understanding, of the challenges, threats and opportunities that accompany the rise of EMs from various perspectives and sectors.
Ian Taylor, CEO of Vital gave a memorable talk about the outlook of the Energy Sector, particularly focusing on China. He firmly believed that the current low price of oil will not affect the dynamic of environmental transitioning in this industry in China and other EMs.
The main threats to green energy, according to him, are not oil or gas but coal, the cheapest energy source today. The latter panel discussions with CEO’s, COO’s, Head’s and Partners of companies in the financial sector, concentrated on private equity in emerging markets. It was great to listen to their thoughts about the cost of moving capital and funds to EMs and how this is affected by political policies and central bank interceptions.
There were also many controversial topics addressed. Open questions and critical thinking toward the emergence of China and the dominant position of USA in the next decade were raised and addressed by guest speakers.
At a less macro level, we had access to many fresh insights and ideas that not only lead to huge business opportunities but also have a great impact on improving people lives. They included a cost-saving method based on a cloud computing service used in treating cancers, introduced by Erik Leksell from Elekta. Another panel discussion highlighted a whole new industry created by the invention of mobile money that has become popular in Kenya, now with around 25% of the country’s gross national product flows utilising it.
At the end of the day, we found ourselves drinking a cocktail with students from Cambridge, LSE, Warwick, Imperial and other universities, and exchanging business cards with entrepreneurs. These connections will no doubt be beneficial in our the future careers.