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Monday, February 27, 2012

Look beyond BRICS to BASIC/CIVETS-know your geopolitics

Even the best bschools are sometimes behind the times. In 2years of solving cases based on BRIC countries, one may be forgiven for thinking that emerging markets stop and end with the heavily hyped BRIC countries. That flawed world view(once you read the resources below and think critically, you will understand why it is flawed) may read you to ignore countries like Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa, Turkey, Canada, Australia where history is being shaped as we speak. Internships, job opportunities, student exchange programs could all be available in those countries for IIM alumni in the near future(if not already), so do not form decisions based on uninformed conjecture. In the finance world, BRICS is rapidly getting passe and changing to CIVETS/BASIC as people realize that countries like India belong more in the developing/emerging world than to be classed as powerful etc. Anyways, without much ado, some useful resources to be more geopolitically aware are below. So next time, before you laugh at the survey which shows X% of Americans are ignorant about world affairs, think hard about how much you yourself know. That random history/geography learnt in school is changing before our eyes, so that is not too reliable either. 
  1. Read the BeyondBrics blog on FT.com, that is free access to all, and you can use your student ID to read the associated articles for free also. 
  2. While Economist may sometimes have a too liberal/Western slant, reading other media like Project Syndicate can help to correct that bias
  3. The CIA Factbook(latest edition is 2011) is a good one stop solution for facts, while Google Public Data Explorer helps to easily collect and visualize other data sets as well.
  4. Lonely Planet also gives a good overview of the country from the travel/linguistic perspective, and would help the travel minded people make up their minds. 
  5. Of course, speaking to/connecting with real people really has no substitute and that is where networking(both real world and social) has its place, for uncovering the ground realities. While the sources I outlined have been largely accurate and objective, nothing beats understanding from someone who has been there/done that. 
 The above resources are not exhaustive and just meant as a starting point. Comments welcome.

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