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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 email@example.com.
Andrew Hill’s challenge
Work-life balance often seems to be the holy grail of good management. But I was intrigued to learn that Glassdoor, the jobs website, has found that highly-ranked chief executives tend to have lower ratings for their companies’ work-life balance: Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs is one classic example. My hypothesis is that staff prefer successful bosses, irrespective of the benefits they provide.
For my challenge this week, I’d like to hear your innovations in work-life policies: what would you do to improve workplace satisfaction at reasonable cost? Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Sammons rose to last week’s challenge to come up with a “nice guy” slogan for beleaguered Uber. His fine suggestion: “Moving people and goods, for good.”
Since the last newsletter, Travis Kalanick has decided to step down as chief executive of the transportation company. That poses a big succession challenge to the board, which may struggle to find somebody to match the founder’s drive and commitment. For further reading, I loved this from Nicholas Carr’s blog, asking whether Uber’s next CEO should be a robot: “Let’s face it,” he writes, “Kalanick’s great failing was that he was not quite robotic enough. His flaws were not analytical but human. He was a victim of his own meat.”
Every week a business school professor or academic recommends useful FT articles.
HSBC faces fresh suit alleging forex manipulation The article mentions that ‘HSBC is facing a ... legal battle over allegations that its traders manipulated foreign exchange markets for their own profit at the expense of their clients.’ This presents an example of the ‘principal-agent problem’ — a concept not unfamiliar to any student of economics or finance. The problem arises due to misaligned interests between individuals (the principal) and the people they hire to act on their behalf (the agents).
London riverside rents damped by flood of luxury properties This article shows how a sector can switch from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ one. A glut in luxury rental properties leads to a severe decline in rental pricing. The claim that ‘landlords are rent-takers not rent-setters’ is a fact supported by basic economic theory. In the face of already declining prices, why increase the supply of properties? This, of course, will have a benefit if the market rebounds. But that should not be expected to happen soon.
Eurozone economic confidence slips back from post-crisis high One thing that must be mentioned, this decrease in eurozone confidence is in line with a similar decrease in the US Consumer Confidence Index, as reported by The Conference Board. This may reflect a global trend, and not one that is specific to Europe.
The article states that ‘the European Central Bank dismissed concerns that Brexit could pose a major threat to the euro area’s economy, saying that financial firms were already adapting by relocating activities to the continent.’ I find this dismissal suspect. We do not know what Brexit's effect will be, so we cannot say that it poses no threat.
Jonathan Moules’ business school news
Summertime and the living is easier on business school campus as the classrooms empty of full-time students, who have either graduated or are off on internships. The world may look like a hard place but some of the ongoing issues that might seem like problems, could also be seen in a more positive light.
Donald Trump’s presidency has had a negative effect on US business school admissions, but has been an opportunity for Canadian schools, as I recently reflected. Moreover the travel ban on certain Muslim-dominated nations has not stemmed the tide of applications from Chinese students to masters in finance courses run in the US.
The UK’s split with the EU, negotiations for which are now well underway, has also created an opportunity for some UK schools to attract students with what look like lower fees thanks to the 16 per cent decline in the value of the pound since the referendum vote 12 months ago. It is also creating new opportunities for jobs.
Summertime in Europe is also a time to think of holidays and my colleague Emma Jacobs notes in her piece this week that taking a break is not just a right but a sensible move for a healthy life. Happy holidays.
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Compiled by Patricia Nilsson — firstname.lastname@example.org