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FT top European business schools ranking, FT/McKinsey book award winner


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.

European business schools ranking 2020

Find out which are the top 90 business schools in Europe, according to the Financial Times and read the rest of our report.


The Financial Times seeks your feedback on how to best measure research output from business schools to better capture its value. Please take part in our survey to help us update our analysis of business schools’ research in the rankings, with a focus on assessing the impact on society.

Andrew Hill’s management challenge

Last week, No Filter by Sarah Frier was named Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year. (You can watch highlights of the online ceremony here.)

The book looks at the creeping control Facebook exerted over Instagram after buying the photo app, whose founders ultimately quit.

In my column, I’ve touched on the counterfactual history in which the founders reject Facebook’s offer. So for my management challenge, please imagine what would have happened had Instagram remained independent. Could it have prospered without the infrastructure, data and financial support of Facebook? Send your thoughts — as concise as you can manage — to [email protected].

Thanks for your responses to my call for ways in which “not working from home” jobs might be redesigned to allow for more remote work. Several of you pointed out that plumbers and other tradespeople could work remotely offering video diagnosis of simple problems. Sarah Ouarbya drew a cheeky parallel with management consultants, pointing out that “the tradesperson rakes in the profits whilst the customer has done all the hard work [and] eventually the customers become so proficient in the task they change job and become the tradesperson”.

In further reading, dip into the proposals of the three finalists for the book award’s sister Bracken Bower Prize, starting with winner Stephen Boyle’s idea about how central bank digital currencies could transform the economy.

Jonathan Moules’ business school news

This has been a testing year for the business education sector, but one that many schools have turned to their advantage — particularly in the “old world” nations, highlighted in our latest annual ranking of European business schools.

Figures from the Graduate Management Admission Council, show European schools benefited more from the rebound in 2020 applications than their peers in the US and Asia Pacific. Our analysis highlights the higher proportions of European students taking postgraduate courses immediately after their first degree and the ability of many leading programmes to continue at least some face-to-face teaching.

It will be key for European schools to capitalise on their innovations in teaching shorter courses with broader appeal, such as the masters in management degree, while embracing the technological and logistical requirements of online.

There is good news for would-be MBA students. Six in ten of admissions teams surveyed by education services provider Kaplan said they had suspended the GRE or GMAT exam requirement.

In other news, The Business School (formerly Cass) at City, University of London, is crowdsourcing students, staff and alumni to find a new name, after dropping its link to British slaver Sir John Cass in July, whose foundation donated to the school.

For further reading, I recommend the following piece about the dangers of a domino effect from burnout, written by Thomas Roulet at Cambridge Judge Business School. We still need to care for ourselves as the economic impact of the pandemic reverberates in the coming year.

Data line

To find out which subjects European business schools are good at teaching, Leo Cremonezi and Sam Stephens look for answers in the latest FT rankings data.

Postgraduates, who completed an FT survey in 2019 and 2020, report that MBAs are good for entrepreneurship and international business teaching, while the EMBA is stronger in corporate strategy and finance. Masters in Management degrees score highly for general management, international business and finance.

Also, the FT’s ranking team delves into the 2020 business school rankings data, from careers to value for money, and graduates’ views on what business schools do well in ­— and less well.

How good is your knowledge of the news?

Answer our 10 question quiz.

Top business school reads

UK set for Covid vaccinations ‘next week’ after regulatory approval Emergency use of BioNTech/Pfizer jab authorised ahead of US and EU

Tough Macron stance leaves Brexit deal hanging in balance French president’s intervention on fish and state aid alarms UK prime minister

The real class war is within the rich An academic blames ‘elite overproduction’ for political turmoil in the west

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