We collect data on operations, targets and human resources management practices in over 1,800 schools educating 15-year-olds in eight countries. Overall, we show that higher management quality is strongly associated with better educational outcomes. The UK, Sweden, Canada and the US obtain the highest management scores closely followed by Germany, with a gap to Italy, Brazil and then finally India. We also show that autonomous government schools (i.e. government funded but with substantial independence like UK academies and US charters) have significantly higher management scores than regular government schools and private schools. Almost half of the difference between the management scores of autonomous government schools and regular government schools is accounted for by differences in leadership of the principal and better governance.