Financial TimesBusiness School Briefing: most influential business teachers, Nestle’s health problem

June 7, 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.

Harvard tops the list of the world’s most influential business schools based on teaching power — a new measure of how much their academics’ work is used on other business courses. 

Business School Teaching Power Rankings

Explore the full teaching power ranking here. The ranking is based on individual assignments of the top 500 assigned titles. Authors are attributed to schools based on primary and/or late-career affiliation. Co-authored titles split their total assignments among the authors.

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Andrew Hill’s Management Challenge
The question of when and how quickly to leap into new products, and abandon old ones, is a perennial strategic conundrum. It was brought to mind last week by an internal presentation to Nestlé executives, seen by the FT, which pointed out that most of the Swiss group’s core food and drink portfolio was not “healthy” by recognised standards, and many products never would be.

As I’ve written this week, even acclaimed strategic transformations — such as at Adobe Systems, or Orsted — were harder than they look with hindsight. For my management challenge, send no more than three strategic bullet-points to, explaining to Nestlé what they should do with their “unhealthy” products. We’re talking about old favourites such as KitKats and Nesquik here, so be gentle.

I asked last week for one action that you might take to ensure rules were taken seriously by your team. David Aldrich says, simply, keep it simple: “Strip rules and guidelines down to the minimum necessary and then actively enforce and monitor them.”

In further reading, as a fan of middle managers, I was interested in Brian Elliott’s Harvard Business Review article on the changing role of managers after the pandemic. Among other provocative suggestions he says, “companies need to build career ladders that allow expert individual contributors to grow in title and compensation based on demonstrated expertise and outcomes, without requiring them to become managers”.

Jonathan Moules’ business school news

A group of British business schools is starting a bold experiment to teach entrepreneurship skills to 30,000 executives who run small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK. I have investigated what this means for the UK economy, company owners and the country’s business education sector in this article. Ahead of the first cohort of students starting the course this month, the Help to Grow has received more than 9,500 expressions of interest, suggesting that the scheme, which is spearheaded by the UK’s finance minister Rishi Sunak, is tapping into a potentially significant business school market.

Looking for that prime consulting job after graduating from your MBA? A study published this week by admissions consultant Menlo Coaching found that Insead is the global leader of providing placements at the industry’s leading firms, McKinsey, Bain and BCG.

For further reading this week, I’d like to recommend an archived piece from the Harvard Business Review on the problems of loneliness at work. The piece was first published in 2017, but in the pandemic era of lockdowns and working from home, the research takes on a new significance.

Data line
From a sample of more than 7,000 alumni who graduated in 2018 fewer than six per cent came from government, charities and social enterprises. And, this year, just 2.7 per cent were working in those sectors, write Andrew Jack and Sam Stephens. People recruited from these non-corporate employers — as well as those from education, the military and law — were also among those who said they most wanted to change careers by taking an MBA.

Bar chart of the percentage of alumni that were highly motivated to change career compared to the percentage that did change career, split by sector

Top business school reads
G7 strikes historic agreement on taxing multinationals Deal paves way for a global accord at G20 meeting in July

A new economic era: is inflation coming back for good? In the first in a series, Chris Giles examines whether the extraordinary post-crisis stimulus will lead to rising prices

London’s Sky Pool: a disaster that’s already happened Luxury lounging above others’ grimy commutes is everything that is wrong with the capital’s property boom

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