Emerging Markets Summit Team Aims Big

A panel discussion during the 2017 Emerging Markets Summit at Harper Center. Photo courtesy of Veena Bontu  

A panel discussion during the 2017 Emerging Markets Summit at Harper Center.
Photo courtesy of Veena Bontu

With over 250 tickets sold and a lineup of speakers that includes the CFO of the World Bank Group and Booth’s own Raghuram Rajan, current Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance and former governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Chicago Booth’s Emerging Market Summit (EMS) on April 14 has its sights set on making a big impact on the greater University.
“EMS is a big conference that could put UChicago on the map when it comes to emerging markets,” said Linda Chelala ’18, sponsorship co-chair of this year’s Summit.
Centered on the theme of “Navigating Emerging Markets in a World of Transition,” the student-led summit features panelists representing the regions of Africa, Latin America, South Asia, the Middle East, and APAC in addition to Global speakers to discuss emerging market questions more broadly.
Sponsors for EMS 2018 include the Polsky Center, the Rustandy Center, the Chicago Booth Global Visibility fund, and the UChicago Graduate Council. The event’s slate of media partners is also broad, such as the Latin American Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, International Trade Club of Chicago, WorldChicago, the Stigler Center, and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.
“Compared to last year, we tried to expand our reach in terms of sponsorships and establishing relationships,” Chelala said.
Behind the scenes, Chelala described how the EMS student group underwent major changes, from adjusting the team structure to growing this year’s audience through new marketing strategies, such as further involving regional student groups in promotions and using social media more aggressively. In addition, student task forces within the EMS student group have been working since the fall quarter to find speakers for panels to fill the programming for regional tracks of the event.
“I can’t wait to see how the overall content unfolds during the event,” Chelala said. “It will be great to see the diversity of thought, experiences and nationalities, gathered at Booth, and seeing the conversations between students, faculty, and other professionals at the event.”
The Summit has come a long way from nearly being dropped completely when former co-chair Alex Sukhareva ’17 was getting started at Booth.

“The Summit was fading in my first year, and (the outgoing co-chairs) were not sure if it would continue,” Sukhareva said. “We had a vote and ultimately voted for it to continue.”
In contrast to the social events that regional student groups most often organize at Booth, EMS looks to highlight business aspects of emerging markets from industry updates to the changing landscape of women in business across cultures.
“Learning about business in other parts of the world broadens your perspective,” Sukhareva said. “What you can learn at EMS is useful to everybody, even those staying in the U.S. after business school.”
Sukhareva found her learnings and experiences from EMS to be particularly useful during her internship in international strategy at TransUnion where she worked with colleagues and partners in Colombia, Hong Kong and South Africa. One panel she attended during EMS was particularly helpful during her internship with the global credit reporting agency.
“I had attended a panel that talked about the growing need for consumer data as it relates to credit scores, and it was great to see how EMS became something useful in my job experience,” Sukhareva said.
Tickets are available for purchase through April 13 or until sold out. For those on the fence about attending, Chelala said that all members of the campus community have something to gain from the event. 
“EMS is the only event that attracts as much diversity, from backgrounds to people regions covered to jobs—we have entrepreneurs and CEOs, as well,” Chelala said. “It’s important to have at least an idea of what’s happening in difference parts of the world, and EMS is great for that.”