Financial TimesBusiness School Briefing: top 100 EMBAs and a test for job candidates

October 26, 20200

Welcome to Business School Briefing. We offer you insights from Andrew Hill and Jonathan Moules, and the pick of top stories being read in business schools. Edited by Wai Kwen Chan and Andrew Jack.


Wanted: student social investment projects We are looking for innovative student-led ESG/social impact investment activities in business schools. Submit your examples here by November 15. The best will be cited in the FT and can attend our Investing for Good US summit.

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Top 100 Executive MBA programmes

The wait is over. Find out which schools are in the Financial Times EMBA ranking of 2020. Is your school in the list?

Andrew Hill’s management challenge

The skills gap is still wide — and the pandemic is likely to make it worse. The World Economic Forum’s latest Future of Jobs report suggests by 2025, it is human as much as technological skills that will be in demand. Their top five include analytical thinking, active learning and complex problem-solving.

In my column this week, I wonder how employers can assess those attributes in a candidate for a job of the future. For my management challenge, then, please devise a test, or a simple question, that will reveal how good any would-be employee is at one or all of these skills. Send your ideas to for possible publication next week.

I asked you last week to devise a straightforward, non-jargon, mission statement for a management consultancy. Your email submissions were good, but none quite as no-nonsense as @Carolyn_Ten’s via Twitter: “A management consultant of my acquaintance used to say that the essential nub of the job was telling people to hit the nail with the hammer.”

In further reading, if you can bear it, the Council on Foreign Relations has produced a chunky report about how to improve pandemic preparedness. It may be the ultimate leadership and management challenge — one which the CFR’s experts believe the US and most of the world flunked: “US and global efforts to prepare for the inevitability of pandemics provided the illusion — but not the reality — of preparedness.”

Jonathan Moules’ business news

For people in management roles fortunate enough to have kept their jobs during the pandemic, there is a strong incentive to invest time and money in improving technical and leadership skills and growing their network of contacts. That is the appeal of an Executive MBA, and this week you can see which courses rank highest in the new Financial Times EMBA list.

Soaring demand for MBA courses has been a theme of the year, as has the rapid shift to online teaching. EMBA programmes are no different, according to a report published this week by the Executive MBA Council (EMBAC), a US-based group representing course providers. Its annual membership research found that over nine in 10 programmes had purchased some form of electronic teaching materials this year. It also recorded a record high in female participation — although the proportion is still barely a third of the typical class. 

Data line

We analysed the alumni data of the Executive MBA rankings to check trends in programme funding by companies.

Line chart of By region showing The percentage of alumni who received full funding for their EMBA degree from their employer

The number of graduates who received full funding from their employers has been in decline since 2016. Employers based in Africa were more generous back in 2016 compared to other regions but the funding has decreased over the past five years.

Employees from the US and Canada have been the least likely to have their EMBA fully paid for by their company in the past five years. One reason could be that the average cost of EMBA degrees in North America is high.

How good is your knowledge of the news?

Answer our 10 question quiz.

Top business school reads

City of London seeks to ‘reinvent itself’ after pandemic Square Mile looks to start-ups and flexible ways of working with 5-year recovery plan

Biden and Trump clash over coronavirus in final debate Democrat warns of ‘dark winter’ as president says virus will ‘go away’ and promises quick vaccine

Chinese economy expands 4.9% in third quarter Strong industrial growth powers recovery despite GDP data missing expectations

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