Business School Briefing: Choice overload, hybrid world competition, best books

Good afternoon from London. We are confronted with so many options when it comes to buying goods and services. Is this a good thing? Also find out which EMBA programmes are rated highly for their marketing teaching.

Written and edited by Wai Kwen Chan and Andrew Jack.


Take part in our “hybrid world” competition

Calling all entrepreneurial individuals to take part in a Financial Times competition “FTxBocconi Talent Challenge” on 3-7 Feb 2022. If you have solutions for living in a hybrid world covering work, health, entertainment and customer experience, then please apply by this Wednesday Nov 24, 2021 — two days away — at:

Best books of 2021

We asked readers to name their favourite reads of 2021. Here are the results.

© Cat O’Neil

Andrew Hill also selects his must-read business book titles covering racism, cyber-weapons arms race, the global fashion sector and traders who barter the earth’s resources. Tell us what you think?

Join us for the FT’s ‘Future of Business Education: Spotlight on MBA’

We will be holding a virtual event on Feb 23 Wednesday 2022 with FT Editorial and top business schools sharing insights about the FT MBA ranking, responsible business education, innovation and the future of the MBA in a post Covid-19 world. Register for free on:

Business school professor advisers sought

We are interested in hearing from business schools and their professors willing to help as advisers, identifying relevant FT content that is useful in their teaching and research and helping find ways to share it. Get in touch at [email protected].

Andrew Hill’s management challenge

Confronted with an abundance of choice, I am an indecisive shopper, so I was cheered to hear that BMW was planning to reduce the options available to buyers of its Minis, in the interests of efficiency.

As I write this week, research suggests less can be more when it comes to encouraging customers to buy products. My management challenge is a simple one: pick a complex product or service that you think is ripe for simplification and say why. I would also ask you to say how you would simplify it, but I don’t want to overcomplicate the task. Send your ideas to [email protected].

I asked last week for the most important change in how organisations run in the past 10 years. Karen Jansen cited the “revolutionary change” to ways of working following the first pandemic lockdown, but also the less noticeable “evolutionary change . . . in our views about diversity and inclusion . . . aided by social movements such as Me Too and Black Lives Matter”.

Last week’s Global Peter Drucker Forum on management heard from VkusVill, a Russian retail food chain that operates a radical “managerless” organisation. In further reading here is Joost Minnaar’s enthusiastic account of how it works for his Corporate Rebels blog, in which he predicted that VkusVill would be “the next poster child for future-of-work gurus”. He added: “Mark these words: you will soon read about them in mainstream media.” You’re welcome, Joost.

Data line

At least 50 per cent of alumni, surveyed in the FT EMBA 2021 ranking, have a salary of more than $150,000 per annum, write Sam Stephens and Leo Cremonezi. About 10 per cent are on $300,000 or more a year. Only 11 per cent of the cohort are on $75,000 a year, with a majority of alumni working in the industrial sector. Most of the cohort on at least $300,000 annually are in the finance sector.

Bar chart of The proportion of graduates earning a certain salary in US dollars (%). Data show current wages of alumni, surveyed by the FT,  who completed their EMBA in 2018. showing More than half of Executive MBA alumni earn more than $150,000 a year

Further analysis of FT’s EMBA ranking can be found here.

Work and careers roundup

  • How might leaders and managers change their approach to work in light of the coronavirus pandemic? The global medical emergency has given new impetus to the health and safety of workers. Here are five ideas to consider.

  • It is unsurprising that the latest developments in the global return-to-workplace saga involve staff collectively resisting orders to get back to city-centre desks. Over-communication is one way to engage staff.

  • Eddie Jones, the England rugby head coach wants to put a turbulent year behind him to focus on ‘maximising the potential of the team’.

“If you worry about things you can’t control, then it’s always going to detract away from what you’re supposed to be doing.”

Eddie Jones’s first leadership lesson was to never assume — make things happen © GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

Read more features on

How good is your knowledge of the news?

Answer our 10 question quiz.

Top reads from business schools in the past week

Germany suspends certification of Nord Stream 2 pipeline Gas prices jump as decision by Germany’s energy regulator deals another blow to the Kremlin-backed gas project.

Workers on a section of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline
Nord Stream 2 would send 55bn cubic metres of gas per year under the Baltic Sea, allowing Gazprom to reach customers in Europe without using pipelines running through Ukraine © Alex schmidt/Nord Stream 2

Shell to shift tax base to UK and ditch dual share structure The oil group says the move is a ‘necessary simplification’ but the Dutch government brands it an ‘unwelcome surprise’.

Shell’s chief executive and chief financial officer will be based in the UK under changes planned to ‘strengthen its competitiveness’ © REUTERS

China’s nuclear build-up: ‘one of the largest shifts in geostrategic power ever’ The US believes Beijing will quadruple its warhead arsenal by 2030. Could this alter the balance of power in Asia?

Estimates of China’s nuclear warhead stockpiles

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