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Business School Briefing: hybrid workplace and new deans


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

A hybrid world of work requires a new type of manager, I suggest in my column this week, who can put the human back into the collaboration process, while artificial intelligence-powered task management apps take care of the humdrum organisation of projects.

I feel these new managers need a new name — the tag of “middle manager” is tired and largely the object of criticism or cuts. So for my management challenge, please suggest new titles for jobs that will help us navigate the hybrid workplace (I heard the word “Sherpa” applied to those who prepare meetings last week, but there must be more) and add a brief description of what the new role involves. Send your ideas to [email protected].

In further reading this week, try an excerpt from Adrian Daub’s new book in The Guardian, about “the disruption con”. The article in turn reminds me of The New Yorker’s 2014 takedown of disruption (and of the late Clay Christensen’s theories around it) by another academic, Jill Lepore. Daub warns that the way we use the concept of disruption today is “deeply suspicious of any cumulative, gradual force of progress. This despite the fact that while stories of gradual progress aren’t as exciting as stories of people just flipping the game board, they often end up describing the world we live in fairly well”.

Data line

Data from the Masters in Management (MiM) 2020 ranking show that over 50 per cent of the alumni can pay off their tuition and other fees between six months and two years, taking into account their salaries, says Sam Stephens. The total cost of the degree is calculated using the graduates’ reported information about tuition costs, fees, other expenses and any scholarships.

Find out which MiM programmes were ranked well for value for money, which is calculated according to alumni salaries today, fees and other costs.

Jonathan Moules’ business news

In the face of major economic crisis, and the desire to prevent unemployment spiralling, governments around the world have become significantly more interventionist this year with furloughing and job retention schemes. Could they do the same for management training?

A couple of examples of this already happening were shown in news stories this week. Firstly, there is the UK’s push to create apprenticeships by forcing employers to set aside money dedicated to workplace training. The scheme, called the apprenticeship levy, has failed to stimulate the expected growth in traditional on-the-job training of school leavers, but it has spurred a sharp rise in companies paying executives to attend business school, shown by the latest numbers covered in this FT story.

Encouraging MBA programmes was an unintended consequence of the levy scheme. In Australia, the government is considering consciously changing the tax rules to support such study choices, by making it tax deductible. This could cut the cost of a A$80,000 MBA programme by A$36,000, a considerable incentive to get a business education.

The next academic year is going to see some significant dean changes. Search teams are in operation to find new heads for both Oxford Said and Cambridge Judge in the UK. In the US, last Friday Harvard Business School announced that professor Srikant Datar will take over as the 11th dean of the 112-year-old MBA provider from Nitin Nohria when he steps down at the end of the year. These are big shoes to fill. Dean Nohria has been a respected speaker on the future of business education and vocal in the shortcomings of his institution in relation to diversity among faculty and students.

In France, Peter Todd, a two-times dean at HEC in Paris who was nearing the end of a five-year stint leading the premier French business school, announced his early departure at the end of this month after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. The school said it plans to move quickly with an appointment, which comes at a time of significant change of funding and ownership of French business education.

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Top business school reads

Donald Trump says he will not participate in virtual debate President lashes out at his own cabinet and suggests he may have caught virus from military families.

The great uncoupling: one supply chain for China, one for everywhere else US pressure and the pandemic are forcing many companies to rethink their Chinese manufacturing operations.

A new cold war: Trump, Xi and the escalating US-China confrontation In the first of a series, Gideon Rachman explores how the rivalry between the two superpowers is starting to feel eerily familiar.


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