In times of crisis, telling staff that their company is on a ‘burning platform’ and must jump or perish is not helpful © Andreypopov |

Welcome to Business School Briefing. We offer you insights from Andrew Hill and the Business Education team and the pick of top stories being read in business schools. Edited by Wai Kwen Chan and Andrew Jack.


Do ESG-led business strategies boost financial performance? Take part in the free Financial Times webinar to learn more on Wednesday, June 23 — with the FT’s Gillian Tett from Moral Money and Rob Armstrong from Unhedged.

Work and Careers

An FT survey reveals that many university graduates feel they have not found a job that meets their career aspirations. Some have even returned to full-time education. The FT’s business school rankings, for example, shows applications for MBA or Masters in Finance have increased.

Bar chart of Annual change in enrolment* (%) showing A surge of interest in MBAs

Women at the Start

How do you tell if companies are delivering results when it comes to tackling workplace inequality? Take a look at our Women at the Start special report and read careers advice from those who graduated in the 2008 financial crisis.

Andrew Hill’s management challenge

That overused cliché of change management, the “burning platform”, finally needs to be extinguished. As I argue in my column this week, the jump-or-perish illustration is inadequate, inappropriate and, as a way of motivating staff, potentially counterproductive.

What should replace it, though? For my management challenge, please come up with a better story to create a sense of urgency among staff facing strategic change. Send your concise metaphors to

Last week, I asked what Jeff Bezos should do to make Amazon staff turnover more manageable. Scott Nicoll on Twitter (@Scott_GKDSIFA) responded “pay them a good wage above minimum and to get them to stay[, then] offer the ability to contribute to a share save scheme with a 5-year term. If they leave they only get cash back less admin fees. Loyalty rewarded”. Author and business school professor Rita Gunther McGrath offered, among other suggestions, “Stop bringing ‘super-smart’ young things as managers/supervisors while denying a career path to hourly or lower-level employees”.

Regular readers will know that I am a sucker for explanations of Eastman Kodak’s recent chequered history, having written about its rise and its fall myself. In further reading, The Atlantic’s Kaitlyn Tiffany, brought up near Rochester, Kodak’s hometown, offers a millennial’s viewpoint. Kodak, she writes, provided “both a perfect invention that changed the world and a beautiful story about the lives that the country’s middle class could not only dream of but expect. All of that was already ending before I was born”.

Jonathan Moules’ business school news

Job offers for MBA graduates have rebounded this year with hiring and salary levels returning to pre-pandemic levels. Data from the annual survey of employers by the Graduate Management Admission Council, shared with the Financial Times, indicate that the median salary for MBAs this year has returned to the all-time high recorded in 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, and up from $105,000 in 2020’s poll. Demand has been fuelled by interest in business graduates among technology companies, according to the study, with 96 per cent telling GMAC they plan to hire MBAs this year, a three-year high for the survey.

Higher education suffers from a perception that it is disconnected with the world of work. The University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business is trying to overcome this by making experiential learning mandatory for all its junior year undergraduates. From the autumn, the school will enrol about 800 students to work on more than 130 client projects for Fortune 100 companies, mid-size businesses and start-ups.

Data line

Masters in Finance alumni, surveyed in our recent rankings, were asked to score certain subject areas from their business school on a 10-point scale. They reported that schools are strongest in corporate finance, investments and statistics/quantitative methods, writes Leo Cremonezi.

Schools are performing less well in commodities, fintech and compliance/legal. Find out more trends about Masters in Finance graduates.

Bar chart of Percentage of MiF graduates who gave certain ratings on various subjects taught by their schools  showing Masters in Finance alumni say schools excel in corporate finance

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Top business school reads

The tyranny of spreadsheets How one of our most powerful tools became one of the most misused

US senators examine a chart during a hearing on the collapse of Enron in 2001. The energy company’s publicly available email records have provided insights into common Excel errors © Alex Wong/Getty Images

Matt Hancock resigns as UK health secretary Former chancellor Sajid Javid has been appointed secretary of state for health and social care

Matt Hancock said in his resignation letter that he did not want his private life to ‘distract attention’ from the fight against the pandemic © REUTERS

Financial watchdog bans crypto exchange Binance from UK FCA also issues consumer alert against sprawling cryptocurrency group

Column chart of Monthly crypto volumes in US dollar equivalent ($bn) showing Trading activity on Binance has surged this year

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