Business School Briefing: Hybrid meetings, top school for ESG

Hope you enjoyed your weekend. Are hybrid board meetings effective as in-person ones? Which schools in our Executive MBA 2021 ranking are good at teaching environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), according to alumni?

Written and edited by Wai Kwen Chan and Andrew Jack.

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In case you missed it, read the results of the FT’s top 100 EMBA programmes. Is your school in the ranking?

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Andrew Hill’s management challenge

“Hybrid” meetings — some people in the room, some online — are turning out to be exactly the nightmarish blend of technological, organisational, and human shortcomings many predicted.

As I’ve written this week, there are some fixes, including avoiding hybrid meetings altogether. Sometimes, though, that’s simply not possible, so this week’s management challenge is to send your tips about making unavoidable hybrid meetings work better. We’ll publish the best ones here next week — and if you have any entertaining stories of hybrid gatherings gone wrong, I’ll be looking out for those, too. Send your concise thoughts to [email protected].

In further reading, Andrea Codrea-Rado’s post for Refinery29 about what she has dubbed “productivity dysmorphia” resonated with me (even though she points out that the problem may be worse for women, people of colour and people on a low income). “Productivity dysmorphia,” she writes, “sits at the intersection of burnout, imposter syndrome and anxiety. It is ambition’s alter ego: the pursuit of productivity spurs us to do more while robbing us of the ability to savour any success we might encounter along the way”. 

Data line

According to graduates who completed their EMBA in 2018, the main reasons for studying for their degree were to learn about management development and expand their network. Working overseas and starting their own business were cited less frequently by alumni, write Sam Stephens and Leo Cremonezi.

Chart showing graduates’ motivations for doing an EMBA, scored out of 10 (%)

The full EMBA ranking can be found here, along with further analysis.

Work and careers round-up

  • It seems odd that “pawternity” leave (time off to look after new pets) is available when many companies, especially in the US, don’t provide parental leave.

  • How Kenya is being affected by Microsoft poaching all the local start-ups’ tech workers? US titans pay high salaries, leaving local businesses struggling to recruit and retain key staff.

    Jean-Claude Homawoo (right) says his company, Lori, has lost employees to international corporations who can outbid it on salary © Patrick Meinhardt / Financial Times
  • What does it take to keep a cruise company afloat during the pandemic?

    Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruise’s executive chair, explains how a focus on detail helped the company survive.

  • A reader was the best candidate for a role at an asset manager, but did not get the job. Jonathan Black, director of the Careers Service at Oxford university, advises to stay on positive terms with the recruiter.

  • Motivating your team means letting go. Jo Owen offers four tips to help your colleagues rediscover their intrinsic motivation.

How good is your knowledge of the news?

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Top reads from business schools in the past week

Inside the John Lewis nightmare With no profits to share, and with thousands of staff being made redundant — can the retailer shake itself up?

A black-and-white photo showing household goods inside the John Lewis store in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, UK
Inside the John Lewis store in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, UK. By bringing different goods under one roof, department stores were the original disrupters; their model is now being disrupted by shoppers moving online © Charles Bowman/Alamy

Nato to expand focus to counter rising China Secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said that while China was not an ‘adversary’, it was having an impact on European security through its cyber capabilities, new technologies and long-range missiles.

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg
Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg: ‘Nato is an alliance of North America and Europe. But this region faces global challenges’ © Virginia Mayo/Reuters

Brussels vows to punish Poland for challenging supremacy of EU law How will Brussels respond to Poland’s government for a court ruling that declared parts of EU law were not compatible with the Polish constitution?

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen at the European parliament in Strasbourg
‘We cannot and we will not allow our common values to be put at risk,’ European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told the European parliament in Strasbourg © POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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