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Managing country reputations and international image

Gain unique access and networking opportunities to the highest levels of business and government in Latin America.

Branding the Nation: Argentina and Brazil explores the sometimes tangled dynamic between governments and the private sector within emerging markets, with an eye toward better understanding the geopolitical and macroeconomic risks facing entrepreneurs and investors.

A deeper understanding of the most salient country risks and of how local governments market around them — What do they share? What do they spin? What do they hide? (And why?) — this course prepares students embarking on a career in international business or entrepreneurship, marketing, tourism, consulting or investment, to better discern the risks and rewards, and to better straddle the chasm between how countries present themselves and how they function in practice.

Course description

In an increasingly globalized world, the importance of managing country reputations and international image has risen exponentially for world leaders. More than ever, governments take pains to control messaging toward diverse stakeholder groups including potential investors and tourists, the global press, bondholders, multinationals and international watchdog NGOs, to say nothing of domestic elites and national populations.

Despite being a diverse region, rich in resources and human capital, many Latin American countries routinely rank near the bottom of the World Bank’s Annual Ease of Doing Business Index. Better understanding the region will require us to challenge many of the contextual assumptions of business education in the United States, which has tended to focus on best practices for markets that are relatively free, where corruption is comparatively minimal, infrastructure extant, and direct government interventions are rare. Given very different national realities prevalent in an emerging markets context, the same challenges that countries must convince potential investors to face. Indeed, for Latin American countries, given historical proclivities towards drastic political swings from left to right and back, these challenges are of particular salience.

The classroom experience in Branding the Nation includes lectures, case studies and interactive exercises, as well as drawing upon the unique perspectives and applied experiences of world-class guest speakers from across the globe. In past years this course’s guest lecturers and plenary speakers have included former and sitting heads of state, ministers, diplomats, celebrated authors and journalists, as well as founders and C-suite officers of marquee national and multinational companies. While Latin America be a key area of focus for this course, a broad array of international examples from Europe, Asia and Africa are discussed in class and included in readings for comparative and illustrative purposes and within a thematic context.

This class offers Kellogg students an opportunity to strengthen their own global networks in the LatAm region (and elsewhere). Speakers for this year include former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson; the current consul generals for Brazil and Argentina in Chicago; Jay Newman, the hedge fund manager for Elliott who spearheaded that hedge fund’s successful 15-year fight against the Argentine government over defaulted bonds; Christian Caryl, the senior editor of the Washington Post’s global opinions section; and Nico Shea, the founder of Startup Chile.


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Faculty and advisor bios

Faculty bio

Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez is the director for the Latin American region at Greenmantle LLC, a macroeconomic and geopolitical advising firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a fellow at the Comparative Constitutions Project. On faculty at Kellogg since 2014, he has likewise taught at Harvard University’s summer school and guest lectured at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Harvard, the New York University Stern School of Business and IESA Business School in Caracas. His teaching and research focus include political economy, international markets, sovereign risk, and constitutional and institutional development.

Daniel is a weekly political columnist for the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional. A regular journalist and opinion writer for mediums such as Foreign Policy, The Financial Times, The New York Times, and The Atlantic. His analyses have likewise appeared in The New Yorker, Harpers, The Washington Post, The New Republic, and The Los Angeles Review of Books (among others). He is also a frequent guest on television and radio, including NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show, HuffPo Live, Al Jazeera America, and CNN. His academic publications include articles in the UCLA Law Review, the Indian Journal of Constitutional Law, and POLITAI.

From 2005–2007, Daniel worked at Fundación Eugenio Mendoza where he specialized in urban microfinance, and from 2009–2010 he was the division chief for entrepreneurial development at the Sucre Municipal Government in Caracas, Venezuela. Other work experience includes the private wealth management division of Goldman Sachs, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Daniel holds a B.A. Cum Laude from Carleton College, a J.D. from the University of Chicago, and an M.P.P. from Harvard University with a concentration in international trade and finance.

Advisor bio

Christine Post is the assistant director of admissions for Kellogg’s Executive MBA Program. In this role, Christine is responsible for attracting and evaluating candidates for the program’s Evanston and Miami campuses. She is also responsible for setting the department’s outreach event strategy and overseeing the outreach team. Prior to joining Kellogg, Christine spent eight years as a commercial litigation attorney with a large international law firm representing financial service firms, insurance companies, and other corporations in breach of contract, antitrust and trademark matters. She then served as the director of recruiting and professional development for a mid-sized law firm. Christine holds a B.A. in political science from Indiana University and a J.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. After sitting for the Illinois Bar, Christine spent a celebratory month exploring 11 European countries.

Christine is married and has two young children. They live just steps from Northwestern’s Ryan Field, and she and her family enjoy cheering on the Wildcats.