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Making A Difference

The Competitiveness of Lost Causes

Emiliano Duch (MBA 1991)

“My work is about making competitive businesses out of ‘lost causes,’” wrote Emiliano Duch (MBA 1991) in a Class Notes post announcing his 2013 career move, from private development consultant to lead financial and private-sector development specialist at the World Bank Group’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice.

In Haiti, for example, the third-poorest country in the world and the site of a catastrophic earthquake in 2010, Duch says that after “a crash course in strategy,” having used the HBS case method, “Ministry of Trade officials are now helping local farmers sell their coffee directly to dealers in Seattle and mangoes to buyers in Europe.” Lack of infrastructure is a major challenge, notes Duch. “We’re helping them to establish logistics platforms, sales forces, and phone-based payment services, using power from car batteries because often they have no electricity.”

Duch, who also holds an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, worked on independent research with Professor Michael Porter at HBS, a collaboration that led to Duch’s career in competitiveness development consulting. As the founder of the Competitiveness Institute (TCI), and founder and former CEO of, he brings experience in nearly 200 economic development initiatives in Europe and Latin America to his World Bank job.

Comparing his previous development consulting experience in emerging economies to his work for the bank, Duch observes, “It’s great to have more tools to help. I can offer not only strategic and logistical coaching, but also financing to put plans in motion.”

(Published September 2016)