After graduation with a double major in Latin American studies and Spanish, Kenneth Loso began his career with what he called a “short stint” with Aerolíneas Argentinas in Rockefeller Plaza, New York City, in the marketing and flight control department, before he entered Citibank’s officer training program in Buenos Aires, Argentina—a move that has resulted in a twenty-nine year career associated with Latin America.
While at BYU, Loso said, “I took advantage of a great mixture of courses from political science, sociology, business finance, history, and geography and economics— all associated with Latin America. The challenge was that we were catapulted into upper divisionlevel classes without having come up through the entry level classes and then we would have to compete grade-wise with both undergrads usually in their last year and grad students going for a master’s.”
Given that challenging start, he added, “As far as I am concerned, it well prepared me to enter an officer trainee program with Citibank and deal with hyperinflation and government overthrows in Argentina as well as the debt crisis of the 80s in Latin America.” During his career with Citigroup, he spent twelve years in the corporate bank managing subsidiaries of multinational Fortune 500 companies and large local corporations, twelve years working with financial institutions, and for the last five years in training and consulting activities.
In addition to his travel, he has also lived in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, and Mexico, as well as the United States. “At one point in my career I managed a risk portfolio of accounts with credit facilities totaling $6.7 billion dollars. The largest single transaction that we successfully closed totaled $3.2 billion dollars, earning approximately $26 million dollars in revenue,” Loso recalled. That deal resulted from “simply reading my company’s annual report and the annual report of my client and making a connect on losses experienced by both in the same product, and then finding a solution.”
As to the impact of his education on his career, Loso stated, “Latin American studies prepared me to be better balanced to face and deal with very difficult and volatile market conditions as well as in times of personal safety issues due to adverse sociopolitical conditions at various intervals of my career.
“I will always be in debt to the outstanding professors I was privileged to learn from and their ability to take the academic to the practical in order to actually apply my education to the conditions on the ground of each country where I worked.” His current position as a business learning director has brought a new set of challenges. “I have direct contact with corporate line officers and bank customers for whom I am challenged to design, develop, and execute new training programs that will better prepare others to face a constantly changing business and market environment,” Loso explained. “This creates new opportunities to generate new revenue while protecting the risk assets of the institution.”
He is also responsible for risk, global finance, and customer training in Latin America. “Again, the exposure I received in the Latin American studies program was excellent preparation for almost any business position in Latin America. I would strongly recommend complimenting it with a master’s in finance, economics, and/or business administration, but certainly it prepared me to deal with many difficult issues in the dynamic foreign markets in Latin America, which is where I went shortly after graduation.”
Loso shared insights about his education and tips for students 24. today, as he counseled,”My language major enabled me to gain an appreciation for the culture and actually think in another language similar to the client base I would be attending.This greatly helped the communication process right from the start. It is incredible what can be learned from the many literature classes associated with the foreign language major. Together with the Latin American Studies major, it was possible for me to concentrate on those countries in Latin America where I would beworking. I quickly understood that each country has its distinct culture and customs that must not only be learned, but understood.”
Loso added, “The program allowed us to delve into several projects dealing with specific countries which permitted valuable insights into those cultural differences. I was much better prepared than many of my colleagues to recognize those differences, and in the end it allowed me to be much more successful in my business activities.”
Loso graduated in 1972, long before the Kennedy Center existed, but he has certainly maximized his education as he has worked in Latin America.