Financial TimesBusiness School Briefing: mission statement, EMBA 2020 and diversity

October 19, 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.


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The next FT’s EMBA 2020 ranking will be published on Monday, October 26. Find out which are the best programmes based on data provided by business schools and alumni:

Andrew Hill’s management challenge

The overlap between consultant-speak and marketing-speak is where the English language goes to die, and in this respect, Accenture’s recent rebranding announcement did not disappoint. (See my latest column for my analysis of what was wrong with it.)

Is there, though, a better way for management consultants to market their services? For my latest management challenge, please compose a straightforward one-sentence mission statement for a management consultancy, without any of the BS or jargon that normally pollutes the sector’s slogans. Send your ideas to and I’ll publish the best next week.

Last week, I asked for new titles for the middle managers who will help us navigate the hybrid workplace. The response on Twitter was brutal: “goons”, “prisoners”, “wage slaves”, and — ouch — “unemployed”. More constructively, Sarah Leather and Tom Barry emailed us with “dot connectors” and “head of making it happen” respectively, (the latter title is used at the performance consultancy where they both work). My favourite, though, came from Michael Watkins, who suggests “pathfinders”, pointing out that the middle managers of the future “must guide the way, taking their teams to new and exciting places”.

In further reading, a thought-provoking column by former colleague John Authers, now writing for Bloomberg. He enlists philosophical thinking to tackle the dilemma over whether to push for “herd immunity” to coronavirus. But he also points out: “Philosophers can only help us come to a decision that requires good data. It’s up to science to illuminate the costs, and to leaders to communicate those costs to the population.”

Jonathan Moules’ business news

Diversity has long been a goal of business schools. But it remains as elusive as ever among the senior ranks of leadership. The new dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou, is among a group of female deans who have nurtured greater gender balance at Canadian business schools. 

We had first spoken when Ms Bajeux-Besnainou was starting her last job, as dean of McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management in 2016. She noted that at the time there were 16 female deans in the FT’s global MBA ranking list. Now there are 20. “Not much higher,” she sighed.

Her concern echoed comments made to me recently by Erika James, who became dean of The Wharton School in July. Both women used the phrase: “We need to build the pipeline.” Change must come from the bottom up.

Diversity is not just needed among business school academics. Venture capital has long been a male-dominated industry. According to Diversity VC in 2019, just 30 per cent of those working in venture capital were women. Here, a business school is trying to help with the solution.

London Business School has launched the Newton Programme, an executive education course formed in conjunction with LocalGlobe, one of Europe’s leading early-stage tech investors. Its target is to have gender balance among the participants and 50 per cent representation from black and minority ethnic groups. 

One thing business schools excel at is networking, particularly in finance. If they can link more women and BAME talent into the VC networks in London, there might be an opportunity to build inclusion in VC firms.

From our rankings manager

Data from our last Masters in Management survey reveals that 11 per cent of alumni from the class of 2017 set up a new company since starting their masters studies, says Leo Cremonezi. For fifteen per cent of these entrepreneurs, their company is a main source of income.

While running a business can seem exciting and glamorous, the reality is that the demands of business ownership are immense. Elena Meskhi sets out six principles in her book Rewire Your Business for Success — each one building on the last — that will guide the reader through a process of reviewing their business on different levels to develop a strategy that will enable them to create the business they want.

Top business school reads

Boris Johnson throws down ‘no deal’ gauntlet to EU UK prime minister calls for ‘fundamental change of approach’ before end of transition

Apple enters 5G market with new line of iPhones Company hopes to spark an upgrade cycle heading into the holiday season.

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