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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Andrew Hill’s Management Challenge

I recently met a former senior UK government official who offered three ways in which rules can be useful: as signals of intent; as guardrails, to make the organisation a safer place; and as “tools of last resort”, to hold individuals to account. But, as I write this week, in times of uncertainty, he and his team relied more on values to decide what to do.

For this week’s management challenge, what one action would you take to ensure that rules and guidelines were taken seriously by your team? Send a short email to [email protected]

Lots of ideas about the “soft” managerial skill you would add to a list of good management practices, which I set as last week’s challenge. Josh Dreyer proposed empathy — though he admits that it would be hard to measure — a suggestion backed by plenty of readers on Twitter, such as Christina Phillips. Naveen Khajanchi was among those who opted for “listening” as a key skill. As Royce Ellis added, “too many people want to talk and not enough people are willing to listen”.

In further reading, Bloomberg published an excerpt from Adrian Wooldridge’s keenly awaited new book The Aristocracy of Talent. “Meritocracy is one of the great building blocks of modernity, along with democracy, capitalism and liberalism,” he writes. “We need to be very sure of our ground if we are to start dismantling it.” 

Jonathan Moules’ business school news

Optimism among business school graduates about the jobs market post-pandemic is not translating into offers of employment, according to the latest annual Training The Street MBA Employment Survey. The poll of 461 students at US business schools found that 77 per cent were “very” or “somewhat” optimistic about their employment opportunities, up from 43 per cent in last year’s survey. But 26 per cent of respondents said they have not yet received a job offer.

Arizona-based Thunderbird School of Global Management is to open a satellite centre in Dubai for start-ups in partnership with Dubai International Financial Centre. It hopes the hub will help regional recruitment and be a connection point for alumni. Multiple campuses in different continents have proved useful for business schools during the pandemic, allowing students to avoid lockdowns. Dubai also hosts hubs for London Business School, SP Jain School of Global Management and Heriot-Watt University.

For further reading, I recommend advice from the Harvard Business Review on how to quit a senior role successfully, and what can happen otherwise.

Data line

Chief learning officers were asked how many executive or management training courses, run by external providers, will be commissioned in 2021. On average, companies with 20,000 staff or more will commission at least 16 more programmes than smaller organisations, writes Sam Stephens. Companies with fewer than 20,000 staff will commission on average 6.5 courses this year.

Bar chart of Average number of  executive courses, run by external providers, that an organisation will commission in 2021 — ordered by size of company workforce showing Large companies will commission more external training courses in 2021

Further results from the CLO survey can be found here.

Top business school reads

EU agrees sanctions on Belarus for forcing down flight Lukashenko signs laws giving authorities power to block media outlets and suspend telecoms networks

Scientists claim to have solved Covid vaccine blood-clot puzzle German researchers say side effect is caused by adenovirus vector and can be fixed

Bitcoin turmoil seeps into traditional financial markets US stock-index and oil futures pull back as cryptocurrency prices plunge this week

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