Financial TimesBusiness School Briefing: CLO executive education survey, real leadership, MBA network

February 15, 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.


What do chief learning officers want from business schools?

We are seeking the views of CLOs on executive education — do share our questionnaire with your networks.

Virtual classrooms democratise executive education As Covid-19 accelerates shift to online learning, more workers have access to ‘elite’ corporate training

FT MBA ranking of 2021

In case you missed this, the top 100 global MBA programmes, according to the FT, were revealed on Monday, February 8. Also, read our coverage at

Andrew Hill’s management challenge

Last week Bill Michael quit as chairman of KPMG UK after the Financial Times reported he had told consultants to “stop moaning” during a discussion about the pandemic’s impact.

It allowed me to revisit, and pay tribute to, the work of the late Gareth Jones, who died in an accident last month, and his long-time business partner and fellow sociologist Rob Goffee. Their best-selling book on leadership posed the question Why Should Anyone Be Led By You?

For my management challenge, I’d like you to come up with a new question for executives that might prompt reflection and prevent them from making the sort of blunders KPMG’s Michael made. Send your short thought-provoking questions to

In further reading, more interesting insights on working from home, this time drawing on Annie Auerbach’s book Flex. Talking to Huffpost’s Amy Packham, Auerbach invites home-workers to reinvent their 9-to-5 workday from scratch and “shed the rhythms that don’t suit you”. It’s timely advice given Salesforce’s much-publicised decision to declare that “the 9-to-5 workday is dead”.

Jonathan Moules’ business school news

The coronavirus pandemic has been a blessing and a curse for business schools. While demand for qualifications such as the MBA rebounded for many schools, the global university-based executive education market, worth close to $2bn in 2019, fell by a third in 2020. The good news is that corporate training budgets are holding up. However, as my colleague Andrew Jack writes this week, education providers must adapt to the new world of learning delivered primarily online.

Another theme of this year will be entrepreneurship to help rebuild pandemic-hit economies. Many MBA students will be eager to use their time at business school to nurture a start-up idea, but as John Mullins, London Business School professor, notes in my piece on the subject this week, what society really needs is for support to focus on “scale up” companies with the potential to grow fast and generate new jobs.

Rather than further reading, this week I would like to suggest some listening: a podcast from Insead professor of leadership development and organisational change Manfred Kets de Vries, talking about what it means to embark on a journey of change.

Data line

Building a network is one of the main reasons why students apply for an MBA. Data from our MBA 2021 ranking show that most alumni are satisfied with various benefits from their network, says Leo Cremonezi. Contact with other graduates and attending events scored highly. Further analysis on MBA alumni trends can be found here: Charting MBA graduates’ progress.

Bar chart of Percentage of alumni that rate 10 out of 10 on different aspects of their network. These graduates completed a survey for the FT MBA 2021 ranking: showing How helpful is an alumni network for MBA students and graduates?

How good is your knowledge of the news?

Answer our 10 question quiz.

Top business school reads

Amsterdam ousts London as Europe’s top share trading hub UK’s departure from the EU prompts shift in dealing of stocks and derivatives

Trump acquitted of inciting Capitol Hill insurrection Seven Republicans break ranks in second impeachment trial of former president

KPMG UK chairman told staff to ‘stop moaning’ about work conditions Bill Michael later apologised to consultants who had raised concern over pay

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