Executive education program reignites a key Citi tradition

Executive education program reignites a key Citi tradition

By Cibeles Duran

Executive education program reignites a key Citi tradition

By Cibeles Duran
During a pandemic year, Citi turns to Miami Herbert to bring a NextGen Treasury Technology and Management program for top clients in Latin America.
For over 17 years, the leadership team at Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions for Latin America has offered their top clients in the region the opportunity to convene in Miami for networking and discussions on the latest industry trends during their annual Latin America Treasury and Finance Conference. In 2020, however, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the highly regarded and anticipated tradition. In 2021, still, amid social distancing protocols and limited travel, a determined team found an impactful, engaging alternative through Miami Herbert Business School’s executive education programming, which allows for customized curriculums to meet the needs of corporate teams.

“We couldn’t see these clients in person during 2020 and we knew that 2021 would also be complicated. We brainstormed to find solutions that could bring them the same valuable and insightful content in the right format, and a wonderful collaboration with the University of Miami allowed us to do that,” says Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions Marketing Head for Latin America, Teodora Nica.

The partnership yielded a virtual certificate program with reach across the Latin American region for over 350 Citi clients, including treasury professionals from Forbes top 500 companies with operations in Latin America. Miami Herbert’s executive education team, led by Assistant Dean Rony Shir, and Faculty Directors Robert Plant, Chair, Department of Business Technology; and Esteban Petruzzello, associate professor, Department of Economics, generated a tailored curriculum that ran from May to November and delivered networking opportunities, language diversity, and cutting-edge industry knowledge by professors at the forefront of their fields.

Programming consisted of two modules, each module included six-session courses, attributing an executive education certificate from the University of Miami to participants with full attendance. The main NextGen Treasury Technology and Management course covered topics in digital transformation, data management, ESG (environmental, social, and governance) in finance, cybersecurity, and enabling technologies such as blockchain, AI, and cloud computing. Participants in public sector treasury also had the opportunity to attend the Public Treasury Management course, offered in Spanish with live translation in English and Portuguese.

“Being able to provide this certificate program through the University of Miami gave additional value and was something that our clients found as a differentiator from normal webinars that perhaps other banks offer,” says Leonardo Gazzo, corporate and public sector sales head for treasury and trade solutions at Citi, Latin America.

In addition to valuable content, Citi’s team aimed for meaningful discussions that would allow clients to interact and share best practices.

“Our clients value the capacity that, as Citi, we can give them to connect, understand, and learn from each other,” Gazzo explains. “Missing that interaction because of COVID was hard. What we tried to do with this event was to provide content on subjects that are a priority for our clients and then give them the opportunity to discuss their own experiences driven by the topics shared.”

To achieve the goal, Leonardo Gazzo and his team enabled roundtable sessions at the end of every lecture, dividing the large cohort into smaller groups of about 20 participants based on their industry sector and geography. Engaging and lively dialogues allowed clients to share experiences and impart helpful insights.

“I loved it,” wrote Diego Sabogal, cash manager at Diageo, in his client feedback after just the first session.

Angel Gonzales, corporate finance, and investor relations coordinator at natural gas company TGP, called the setup “very enriching” and pointed out that “we were able to learn about the experiences of other treasuries in the context of COVID.” 

“Very interesting event,” added Mauricio Borges, treasury and finance manager at Philips. “I want to connect with another client that I met in the roundtable to understand their treasury automation,” he said, suggesting the program’s effectiveness in facilitating learning from industry colleagues.

Highlighting the scope of the program, Shir states: “This has been a very important partnership for Miami Herbert’s executive education division. Achieving a program with such a global reach and greatly customized sessions required deeply integrating our faculty within Citi’s vision and focus. It challenged our professors and allowed us to offer extensive diversity with part of the course in Spanish.”

For Citi’s team, the first executive education partnership with Miami Herbert has meant renewing a significant client offering and discovering that their annual event can have an even broader impact. The team ponders a hybrid model incorporating live and virtual sessions for next year’s installment.

“We are looking at leveraging what we have learned here to be able to bring an event that can have the best of both the virtual and in-person formats,” Gazzo says.

“We hope to envision this partnership continuing,” Shir underscores, noting Miami Herbert’s capability for in-person, virtual, and hybrid arrangements.