After watching a carnival parade in São Paulo this month, Henrique Meirelles, former president Lula’s central banker, endorsed what “academic studies have shown”. He was referring to the way that each samba school puts out 4,000 people to deliver a world-class show for (almost) no pay. In “a model of organisation”, as Meirelles put it, a full year’s work flares up in just one hour, the time it takes for a samba school to parade.

Samba schools are schools of management, to Brazilians at least, but they also hold a larger secret. Like many people in emerging markets, Brazilians are oriented towards groups. They are deeply distrustful of people they are unfamiliar with. The World Values Survey, a global network of social scientists, found that the share of Brazilians who trust people they meet for the first time is only about one fifth of that of Americans. Read more

If you think launching a start up in Silicon Valley is hard, try it in Sierra Leone, Surinam or Senegal. Emerging market entrepreneurs face extraordinary challenges to growth, including access to finance, access to markets and access to talent. Of these, talent is the most critical. Over the past few years, I have become increasingly convinced that the lack of quality managers in emerging markets is the lynchpin to unlocking the prosperity-creating potential of small and growing businesses. Yet we have seen little movement on the talent issue. And the time has come to change that.

Having qualified management teams is fundamental to receiving growth capital. Successful private equity investors look first at the team – and then consider the business plan and implementation strategy. Banks may look at financial statements first, but even a solid balance sheet is not enough if lenders are not comfortable with the management team. Read more

This week Indian-born Satya Nadella (pictured) became the third chief executive in the history of the world’s largest software maker, Microsoft.It’s a major win for Nadella. It could be a win for Microsoft.

But apparently, it’s also a win for India.

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By Jonathan Geldart of Grant Thornton

“People misunderstand China. Usually they have an opinion on one extreme or the other. Some demonise. Others mythologise. Both perceptions are limited and distorted. China is neither as terrible and chaotic as some allege, or as great as others assert. The reality is in the middle.”

So said He Fulong, chairman of ITG Group. Based in Xiamen in southeast China, ITG is one of the country’s largest diversified trading companies. It is typical of the local state owned enterprises that have provided the solid underpinning of China’s phenomenal growth since the period of opening and reform from 1978 under Deng Xiaoping. Read more

Close your eyes. Picture the most innovative, most entrepreneurial, and most customer-driven company in the world. Got it? Now open your eyes. What company did you have in mind?

Chances are slim you were thinking of a company that makes refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines. But according to the authors of “Reinventing Giants” it’s exactly this industry’s global leader, Haier of China, that carries all the above-mentioned titles. Read more

What makes HTC different from all the other struggling tech companies around these days?

Despite its falling sales, management at the Taiwanese smartphone maker has not been shaken up. The same chief executive has held the job for more than six years and the chairwoman has shot down local reports suggesting rifts in the leadership. That sets it apart from its peers, including Blackberry, Nokia — even Apple. So why have top management kept their jobs despite recent performance including a 98 per cent fall in profits in the first quarter? Read more

Forget IQ. And while you’re at it: forget EQ as well. If you’re looking for an executive to lead your emerging market operations in 2013 and beyond, it’s all about CQ – the cultural quotient. Or so says Kevin Kelly, CEO of executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles. He spoke to beyondbrics before heading to the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, where the issue of how to capitalise on the relative strength of emerging markets over developed ones will be a major theme. Read more

By NV ‘Tiger’ Tyagarajan of Genpact

The core of a business is the talent underpinning it. As the global landscape changes, emerging as well as advanced economies are faced with a scarcity of employable talent. Lack of such talent can impact businesses and pose grave challenges to every industry, but particularly for those in fast-growth economies. Read more

Will 2013 be the year in which EM multinationals become the real role models of the global marketplace? The authors of Emerging Markets Rule certainly think so. They say leading EM companies will inspire their peers around the world with alternative ways of doing business.

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While average wages in emerging markets have increased in many countries, especially China, they are still well behind those in developed nations.

But not at the top. Over the last decade, senior salaries in EMs have caught up with those in the west, and in many cases surpassed them, according to a report by management consultancy Hay GroupRead more

One might normally assume that big multinational companies hold a lot of advantages in emerging markets. Besides the financial clout and extensive supply chain options, they have access to the fabled global talent pool and management strategies honed through decades, perhaps even centuries, of experience.

However, research by management consultants Hay Group suggests that multinationals may be putting themselves at a disadvantage to domestic companies in emerging markets through their reluctance to decentralise management responsibilities, and let go of cherished strategies that work in home markets. Read more

While beyondbrics has a healthy scepticism for consultants’ surveys, they do sometimes throw up the odd nugget. Here’s one from Accenture:

Forty percent [of executives] do not believe that their companies possess the strategic and operational capabilities to fully grasp the opportunities in emerging markets.

That’s not a confident place to be. And it gets worse. Read more