TCAM panel looks at emerging markets

(L-R) Christopher Barrett, Peng Liu, Ralph D. Christy, Lourdes S. Casanova

By Jim Catalano 

Three Cornell College of Business (CCB) faculty members discussed their recent work at a panel titled “Business in Emerging and Frontier Markets: Cornell’s Role in Teaching, Research, and Outreach,” held Oct. 27 in Sage Hall as part of the Trustee Council Annual Meeting (TCAM).

Through the Emerging Markets Institute, Cornell is conducting cutting-edge research on the role that emerging markets – and their multinationals – play in the global economy. Lourdes S. Casanova, academic director of the Emerging Markets Institute and senior lecturer of management at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, spoke about the recently published Emerging Markets Multinationals Report, which looks at the E20 – the 20 top emerging economies that have shown remarkable growth in the past 15 years.

The report also examined China’s growing role as an “emerging global acquirer” in the world economy. “Post financial crisis, Chinese companies are literally conquering the world – they are going everywhere: Latin America, Europe, and now the U.S.,” Casanova said.

Ralph D. Christy, director of the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture, and Development (CIIFAD) and professor of emerging markets at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, highlighted the work of the Student Multidisciplinary Applied Research Team (a.k.a., the SMART Program), which has helmed 90 projects that have sent 450 students to 22 different countries. The program brings together teams of students and faculty from diverse disciplines and pairs them with firms, organizations, and community groups in developing countries.

“I like to say that ‘universities have departments, societies have problems,’” Christy said. “But these problems don’t always fit neatly into our departments, so we have to use different disciplines to tackle these problems.”

Peng “Peter” Liu, Singapore Tourism Board Distinguished Professor in Asian Hospitality Management and associate professor of real estate at the School of Hotel Administration, spoke about China’s increasing role in the international real estate market, noting again that Chinese investors have become the largest foreign buyers of U.S. property. “It’s an area that’s fast growing and there’s a need for expertise – we’re hungry for knowledge and research,” Liu said.

Cornell’s Center for Real Estate and Finance is leading efforts to expand the university’s presence within the Chinese real estate industry through several initiatives, including hosting conferences and seminars, facilitating collaboration between Cornell and Chinese scholars, and working with industry leaders “to truly understand the challenges facing the Chinese economy,” Liu said.

Christopher Barrett, deputy dean and dean of academic affairs at the CCB, who moderated the panel, also noted other CCB faculty members were doing important work in the area: Eswar Prasad, whose Gaining Currency book looks at the rise of the Chinese RMB; Andrew Karolyi, who recently published Cracking the Emerging Markets Enigma; Prabhu Pingali, who runs the Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition (TCI); and several others.

“I’m sure it would come as no surprise to anyone here that Cornell is a premier university to study economic development,” Christy said. “We’ve made tremendous contributions to organizations around the world on behalf of low-income countries.”