Frontier markets—countries such as Nigeria, Vietnam, Panama, Costa Rica and Romania, whose financial markets are considered insufficiently transparent or liquid to qualify as emerging economies—are home to almost a third of the world’s population. Of the 10 fastest growing economies worldwide, eight are frontier markets, according to HSBC. Half of the countries that global advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather, determined would be key to middle-class consumer growth over the next decade are frontier markets.
They are also hotbeds of innovation in sectors such as fintech, healthcare, communications, clean energy, tourism and cashless payments. They often have large populations eager to find their way to a more secure and prosperous future, leveraging hard work, creativity, education and ingenuity to get there. And as the world has adapted to the constraints of the global pandemic, developments in manufacturing, trading and technological innovation in frontier markets have accelerated and broadened.
For multinational companies and for portfolio investors, frontier markets represent an unrivaled opportunity to tap into a rare growth story that combines a swelling population, rising incomes, rapidly increasing connectivity, innovative business communities, and surging economic growth. For aspiring business leaders, frontier markets offer access to a growth story that will not only be professionally fulfilling and diverse, but can also have tremendous human, environmental and social impact.
This course will provide students with a clear understanding of the opportunities and challenges in frontier markets with a particular focus on the Central American nations of Panama and Costa Rica, as well as a vision for how they can play a part in the development of some of the world’s most dynamic economies, businesses, peoples, and ideas.
One of the exciting aspects of frontier markets is their extreme diversity. Panama, for example, is deeply connected to the global economy, both through its banking, finance and legal industries and its pivotal role in world trade. While relatively small in population and area, it packs an outsized global punch.
Costa Rica, while less intertwined with the global economy, is a highly regarded economic success story. Leveraging its peerless environmental assets, its hard-working, welcoming and inclusive population and its strategically advantageous location, Costa Rica has become a sought-after location for global businesses and digital nomads alike.
During our in-country trip we will meet government ministers, regulators and senior business leaders to gain a deeper understanding of the economies of these two dynamic frontier markets. We will also have time to explore the natural environments of two of the world’s most ecologically diverse and vibrant countries.
Matthew Temple is the director of Alumni Career Services for the Kellogg School of Management, where he manages a team of eight people who deliver career services to 50,000 alumni globally. He has counseled full-time, part-time and executive MBA students and alumni on a range of career issues including self-assessment, company and industry research, networking, resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, negotiating, decision-making, onboarding, performance evaluations and starting/buying a business. Matthew has conducted hundreds of career workshops, helped organize international career treks and advised companies on recruiting strategies. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, and the Chicago Tribune. He has worked as a career counselor with Harvard Business School and the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Matthew has coached executives on leadership, communications and career management at companies including Amazon, Bain, Boston Consulting Group, Ford, GE, Goldman Sachs, Google, JP Morgan Chase, McKinsey, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and Unilever.
Previously, Matthew served as the director of international business development for Ask.com, where he helped establish and manage joint ventures worth over US$200 million in Asia, Europe and Latin America with Carlton Communications, Granada Media (ITV) and Univision. He worked in private equity, M&A and corporate finance for Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank and in consulting for Andersen Consulting. He has lived and worked in Hong Kong and London. Matthew holds a B.A. in European history from Harvard University and an MBA in finance, marketing and organizational behavior from Kellogg School of Management. He’s also a diehard Boston Red Sox fan and a Jeopardy champion.