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Business Schools Look at Brazil

According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, in 2011, the Brazilian economy has become the world’s 6th largest, overtaking the UK. Brazilian exports are booming, creating a new generation of tycoons; therefore, it does not come as a surprise that business schools are keeping an eye on this country.

A Brazilian residency has recently been introduced by the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business as part of its Global Executive MBA (GEMBA), a programme designed for full-time managers. The students will go to Brazil and attend a two-week course there to gain an insight into the Brazilian business environment. There is also an Executive MBA programme for the Americas which is being developed by Canada’s Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University, in collaboration with São Paulo’s FIA Business School, Mexico City’s ITAM and Nashville’s Vanderbilt University.

Brazil’s economy is changing: family-based businesses are being replaced by more professionally managed companies, who are looking for management talent more than ever before. 90% of the students enrolled in the OneMBA program at Brazil’s FGV Business School are funded by their companies, so applications to this programme have doubled in the past two years. In America and Europe, those interested in getting an MBA has fallen over the same period, and the share of students funded by their employer is about a third of the Brazilian one.

By | January 18th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

Village Savings and Loans Associations: Strength in Numbers

One of the latest issues of The Economist contained an article about the hottest trend in microfinance: village savings and loans associations. This novel scheme began in Niger in 1991 thanks to the relief and development non-governmental organisation (NGO) CARE International. This system is based on savings rather than debt and managed by members of the community rather than professionals.

Since then, CARE and other NGOs, including Plan International, Oxfam US, Catholic Relief Services and the Aga Khan Foundation, have promoted village savings associations. The schemes are so successful that savings groups now have 4.6m members in 54 countries.

A village savings scheme involves a small group of 15-30 people who pool their savings. Each buys a share in a fund from which they can all borrow. All must also contribute a small sum to a social fund, which acts as micro-insurance. If a member suffers a sudden misfortune, they will receive a pay out. Returns on savings are extremely high, generally 20-30% a year. Borrowers typically pay interest rates of 5-10% a month on loans that usually have to be repaid within three months.

At the end of a cycle (usually about one year), all the money accumulated through savings and interest is shared out according to members’ contributions, and a new cycle starts. Once members have got used to the system, their groups can also perform other tasks, such as providing training in agriculture, health, leadership and business.

By | January 18th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

Google’s New Look

According to the BBC, the black bar that currently runs horizontally across the top of Google’s homepage will be removed and replaced with a grey logo. When clicked, it will reveal seven services with an option to open a further eight. Experts think this is a way to promote more of the firm’s businesses without making its webpage messy.

At the moment, only few customers are using this revamped interface. Chris Green, principal technology analyst at Davies Murphy Group, stated that the move allowed Google to use icons remaining different from Yahoo, which has a busier design. Google is also making the page look like the Chromebooks operating system: whether customers are using Chromebook or the Google website, the interface remains the same.

Another consequence is that it now takes two clicks to enter services such as Images or News. Mr. Green said that the virtues of minimising the number of clicks have been praised and that this would appear as a retrograde step, but Google thinks that it’s better to have the extra click rather than an unclear page. Moreover, this may carry financial advantage to the corporation, because most users are likely to search directly through the search bar, which helps Google expose more people to advertising.

By | January 18th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments
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