Business school: Amazon MBA hiring and cyber attack defences

Send your ideas about how to encourage staff into behaving in a more cyber-secure way

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Welcome to the FT Business school newsletter, a weekly serving of management wisdom, reading recommendations and business-related challenges. FT subscribers can sign up here to receive the newsletter by email every Monday. If you have any feedback about FT Business school, please email bschool@ft.com.

Andrew Hill's challenge

The FT's management editor sets a weekly test of your business, strategy and management skills.

It's natural for managers to think of cyber threats as a technology issue, but my column this week examines the human side. Since the first phishing email was sent, hackers have tried to exploit human weakness. That means cyber attacks can also represent a chance for organisations to review and renew how they are managed. 

I've suggested some ways companies could turn threat into opportunity, but for this week's challenge, I'd like to hear your cleverest ideas about how to nudge staff into behaving in a more cyber-secure way. Send your proposals to bschool@ft.com.

Last week I asked you to suggest humane ways to help staff move on. Margaret Liu says she has seen some "very disrespectful" lay-offs and recommends instead a combination of binding contracts, alerts to headhunters, and early warning for employees. "Let the individual know several months beforehand instead of the morning of," she suggests.

Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane shook up British bosses last week with a speech holding them partly responsible for the UK's productivity problem - this week's further reading. It prompted me to reflect on why fictional bad-bosses Basil Fawlty and David Brent are still seen as the personification of British management. 

MBA quiz

Teams from eight business schools travelled to London to take part in the fourth annual FT MBA Quiz in London last Tuesday, raising £16,000 for international humanitarian aid organisation and FT Seasonal Appeal partner Médecins Sans Frontières. Congratulations to joint winners Alliance Manchester Business School and University of St Gallen, runner-up Imperial College Business School and to all those who took part.

Professor's picks

Every week a business school professor or academic recommends useful FT articles.

Gabriel R Garcia Benito, professor of international strategy at BI Norwegian Business School, selects:

Snap and the 21st century governance vacuum Snap’s initial public offering is the first in the US to issue shares without voting rights. Is the role of ownership fundamentally changing? Shareholder capitalism, a system that entitles those who own the shares of a company to control its strategic decisions and to obtain some of its profits, has been a key feature of corporate governance in many western countries for more than a century.

The article points to the possible erosion of shareholder capitalism, partly reflecting the rise of passive investors who do not actively trade shares and influence managerial decisions. Iasked students in my MSc corporate and global strategy course to read the article as a basis for discussing where the future of corporate governance.

While shareholder capitalism dominates business schools’ curriculum, some graduates will choose to work in parts of the world with different types of governance systems. Those with entrepreneurial ambitions will discover many opportunities. But the question is whether they might at some point welcome back the checks provided by alert and inquisitive shareholder activists?

Ask the academics

Got a question for leading business school experts? Send it to bschool@ft.com and we will publish the best replies in future newsletters.

Jonathan Moules' business school news

The European Union will enter its first divorce proceedings with a member state this week when the UK formally announces its intention to separate from the single market. Those in higher education have particular concerns about the implications so I have been assessing what this means for business schools in countries either side of the divide.

This week I chaired a live debate from the FT's London headquarters with current MBA students in London and Frankfurt about their feelings about their prospects. You can watch it again on our Facebook page.

For those attending business school either to learn or to work, Brexit creates multiple challenges, and opportunities, from the choice of school to course content. You can read more of the FT’s coverage of Brexit here.

Of course, there are other trends of interest to those considering business school, such as the opportunities for jobs after graduation. The tech industry has become an increasingly important player in MBA recruitment, so I interviewed Miriam Park, the head of graduate hiring at the biggest exponent of that trend, Amazon. The e-commerce pioneer, whose interests now range from media streaming to grocery deliveries, hired hundreds of MBA graduates last year. I asked Ms Park why her employer finds business school graduates so attractive.

Further reading

Incentives Don’t Help People Change, but Peer Pressure Does Read results from a study on hand hygiene at a hospital. (Harvard Business Review)

Test your knowledge

How good is your grasp of the news? Test your reading of last week's top stories with the FirstFT quiz.

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