Financial TimesBusiness School Briefing: board reviews, campus buildings, alumni careers

January 25, 20210

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.

Andrew Hill’s management challenge

Board directors at Wirecard and Carillion received glowing assessments of their performance in the last annual reports before their companies imploded. As I point out in my column this week, that raises the question of whether there’s any point to board performance evaluations.

For my management challenge this week, send me one or two questions that you would pose to directors to work out whether they are doing a good job. They can be open-ended or multiple choice. Send your ideas to

Last week I asked for your empathetic memo to staff about forthcoming job cuts. Sérgio Costa rightly points out that a short memo would risk sounding offhand. I don’t have room to include the full statement he imagines, but it contains this nice line from his fictional CEO: “I will continue to work as hard as I can so we can start hiring again as soon as possible … Your names will not be forgotten: after all I would not be here if you had not done as well as you had.”

Further reading is about … reading. I’m intrigued by Fable, the new app for book-lovers, launched by former Cisco chief technology officer Padmasree Warrior. She aims to create “a tech company with the soul of an artist”, but Maria Aspan, writing for Fortune, says Warrior and her investors “also see a big opportunity to make reading for pleasure into a business-to-business revenue stream”, which sounds somewhat less romantic.

Jonathan Moules’ business school news

IE University has announced that it will welcome the first students to its new 180-metre tall high rise campus block this September. The 35-story building, which will have capacity for 6,000 students, will be one of the few vertical campuses in the world. Despite the pandemic, many schools are pushing ahead with campus expansions, as I have covered in the past. Right now many students and faculty at other schools are itching to get back to their own campuses.

Another trend is MBA courses for esports and sports management. Florida International University’s College of Business has launched an online MBA in sports management developed in partnership with Real Madrid Graduate School —Universidad Europea. The 17-month programme aims to prepare graduates to successfully and responsibly manage sports institutions.

Data line

Consultancy remains an attractive career path for business school graduates from European business schools, writes Leo Cremonezi. On the other hand, Executive MBA alumni, who took part in our FT ranking survey, tend to enter the industrial and finance/banking sectors.

Bar chart of The percentage of alumni working in various sectors three years after completing their European EMBA, MBA or Masters in Management degree showing European business schools: consultancy and finance/banking are popular career choices for MBA and Masters in Management alumni

EMBAs are designed for senior working managers and generally have many years of work experience at the start of their degree. MiM programmes are for candidates with little or no work experience, while MBA students tend to have at least three years’ employment history.

How good is your knowledge of the news?

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Top business school reads

Jack Ma makes first public appearance since Ant’s cancelled IPO Alibaba shares rise after Chinese billionaire resurfaces on video after three-month absence

Trump exits White House after pardoning ex-strategist Bannon ‘We’ll be back in some form,’ says 45th US president, but stops short of announcing another run in 2024

Joe Biden sworn in as 46th US president New commander-in-chief declares ‘democracy has prevailed’ after tumultuous transfer of power

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