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Waseem Hussain      

Keynote Speaker, Author & Expert on Doing Business in India

Waseem Hussain is the managing director of MARWAS Ltd, a management consultancy that specializes in doing business with India. Waseem has helped numerous European companies to design and execute strategies for their business in India. Waseem’s areas of expertise include market strategy and execution, leadership, negotiating, project management, change management, intercultural communication, employee selection and staff attrition management.

Waseem has trained and coached more than 8,000 executives, managers, engineers, scientific researchers and administrative staff in France, Germany, India, Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the USA how to successfully dealing with culture, mentality and work ethos in India. He organizes study and business delegation trips to India, is the author of numerous articles, book chapters and market studies and a keynote speaker at international business conferences. Some of Waseem’s current client works include consulting and trainer roles with ABB, AXA, Credit Suisse, Geberit, Hitachi Zosen, Mettler Toledo, Novartis, SAP, Swisscom, Swiss Re, Unicredit and Zurich Insurance.

Waseem is a Swiss citizen of Indian origin. He was raised in Switzerland, graduated from a commercial college in Zurich and completed onward studies in international management, management consulting, project management, and intercultural communication. He is business fluent and presents also in English, German, Urdu and Hindi and divides his time between consulting, public speaking and writing.

Waseem is a member of the Duke Corporate Education Global Learning Resource Network and a guest lecturer in MBA as well as Executive MBA courses at various universities.


Videoreel Waseem Hussain
added about 7 years ago

Speech Topics

Doing Business in India: It is all about harmony, Karma, and 311 trillion years

Anyone who does business in India runs into inter-cultural problems. Sooner than later you start wondering why your Indian business partner says ‘yes’ but still does not deliver. Your matter-of-factual approach to managing a project somehow does not seem to catch. And timelines seem to be something quite irrelevant to your Indian colleague. – Why?

Key take-aways:

  • Understand which are the most frequent problems and challenges when working with business partners and employees in India

  • Why is harmony so important to your Indian colleague?

  • What does Karma have to do with people and project management?

  • How do you meet deadlines with a time budget of 311 trillion years?

  • How you can make use of cultural similarities while overcoming the barriers

  • Learn about action points that you can start implementing right away

Why Western Leadership Style Struggles In India

Most companies operate with a Western-centric view of hierarchy, responsibility and processes. Individuals are expected to lead themselves, and to only bring problems and questions to their supervisors when action is required.

But India is a hierarchic society with roots that go 5,000 years deep and involves 1.2 billion people. If you want to succeed in India, you must be willing to apply a different type of leadership.

Key take-aways:

  • Get deep insights into India’s business culture and mentality

  • Understand how to overcome cultural differences

  • Use cultural similarities in a clever and effective way

  • Develop a leadership style that helps you succeed in India

Tol Mol – The Secret Formula for Negotiating in India

Doing business in India can be a turbulent ride. Especially when it comes to negotiating with Indian partners, you end up being all blood, sweat and tears. Indeed, negotiation is the one thing that almost all Western managers say frustrates them when doing business in India.

If you’re going to successfully negotiate in India, you need to know India’s secret formula: Tol Mol. Because Tol Mol does not actually mean negotiating!

Key take-aways:

  • Understand why western negotiating tactics will fail in India

  • Unlock the secret Indian negotiating formula Tol Mol

  • Learn how you can win negotiations with Indian partners

  • Moreover, Tol Mol will improve your negotiating style even with partners in the west

Jugaad: Innovation, Indian style

When engineers in the western world research and develop, they usually wonder how to get a sufficiently big budget they can spend. In India, however, you first think of ways how to earn money that you will spend only afterwards.

Because India was a poor country until recently, people there have developed a habit they call ‘Jugaad’. This is becoming popular even in the west and is labelled ‘Frugal Innovation’. French carmaker Renault has become a champion of frugal innovation.

Key take-aways:

  • Learn how poverty in India has created ‘Jugaad’, a fascinating concept for industrial innovation

  • Find out how to use ‘Jugaad’ in a systematic way

  • See how you can improve your company’s profit margin thanks to frugal innovation

  • Jugaad is a magician’s job; he is the Jugaadu. Find out how to be a frugal innovator and therefore a magician!

India: Successful HR Management

9 times out 10, when a foreign business fails in India it’s easy to tell why. It almost always comes down to not having the right people, and the attrition rate being very high.

The demand for capable employees and managers in India is on a steep rise. Clearly any foreign company needs to offer something a little bit extra to attract and keep domestic Indian talent. Is it high salaries and bonuses? No. The solution lies in two traditional Indian concepts that are very much alive in companies there: Ashrama and Guru-Shishya.

Key take-aways:

  • Find out why foreign businesses in India usually fail

  • Learn how the Indian education system is organised and what impact it has on the employability of university graduates

  • See what the ancient Indian concepts of Ashrama and Guru-Shishya are about, and how they affect your Indian business

  • Understand how to create a hiring, retention and HR development strategy your business requires to succeed in India

India Country Risk Profile

India is one of the most important growth markets for western companies. As India still is in the midst of its own industrialization, technology and know-how continue to be in high demand.

However, the India Risk Survey 2013 has found that India faces some of the most dynamic risks. Strikes and civil unrest are the number one risks for industry. Labour unrest can result in halting of production. Politics is very complex, corruption endemic, law enforcement uncertain, safety insufficient and markets volatile.

Key take-aways:

  • Receive a comprehensive risk profile of India

  • Get expert advice on how to best mitigate India’s risk profile

  • Understand the key factors for successfully doing business in India

  • The multi-faceted opportunities and challenges offered by the Indian economy

How to successfully do business in India

India is a country of great business opportunities. More and more companies in Europe and the USA are becoming active in India, either through their own operations or through strategic partnerships with local businesses.

However, India is also a country of significant challenges. Some of the most frequently mentioned problems involve government bureaucracy, corruption, high rates of staff turnover, a complicated tax regime, unreliable infrastructure, and difficult inter-cultural communication. If you overcome these challenges, your business will succeed.

Key take-aways:

  • Strategic clarity: know how to develop a market strategy for India that will make your business there succeed

  • Market know-how: understand the mechanisms and travails of doing business in India

  • Relevant contact network: find out how to build a contact network in India that you can leverage to your own benefit

  • Cultural competence: learn how to overcome cultural barriers

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