Norwegian Roald Amundsen was the first person to reach the South Pole in 1911. His success was put down to an obsessive focus on getting the best dogs, handlers and training © Getty
Experimental feature

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00
Experimental feature
or

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 feedback about FT Business school, please email bschool@ft.com.

MBA ranking trends preview

What are the five trends to watch before the FT MBA ranking of 2018? Read about the contrasting fortunes of Asian and Canadian schools, the Trump effect on the ranking, the fastest-growing sectors and salaries. Also is the two-year MBA degree losing its allure?

How to Lead

In the fourth feature of our weekly series — for readers who are interested in what makes good leadership — is Mayor Mike Duggan on how he halted Detroit’s decline.

Andrew Hill's challenge

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

"Do less, then obsess" is the catchphrase Morten Hansen suggests in his new book Great at Work, out later this month. It is a way of focusing the typical new year's resolution to achieve more by doing less. As Prof Hansen points out, just doing less is not sufficient, you also have to plough more effort into the few things you select. One example that I've analysed in this week's column is the way his Norwegian compatriot Roald Amundsen, the Antarctic explorer, beat British rival Robert Scott to the South Pole, by refining his approach to using dogs and sledges, while Scott perished with an over-complex approach.

For my first challenge of 2018, then, I'd like to hear other typical new year resolutions applied in the workplace and how you intend to stick to them. Contact us at bschool@ft.com. Since publicising your commitments is one proven way of not reneging from a resolution, think of this as a public service!

In further reading, though I'm months behind, I caught up recently with the disturbing Atlantic piece from last summer by Jean Twenge, adapted from her book about "iGen", the cohort born between 1995 and 2012, which happens to include my own children. Twenge worries about the impact of smartphone use on the iGen, whom she believes are on the brink of a mental health crisis. "iGen teens have more leisure time than Gen X teens did, not less," she writes. "So what are they doing with all that time? They are on their phone, in their room, alone and often distressed."

Dear Jonathan

Do you have questions about career development and working life? Send these to our expert Jonathan Black, the director of the careers service at Oxford university. This week, he answers questions on how will training jump-start a graduate career.

Professor's picks

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

Betsy Sigman, teaching professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, selects:

Deliveroo fends off couriers’ demands for union recognition and Uber suffers a setback to its super-flexible model

We often hear references to the “gig economy,” in which a business is based on a series of “performances” or transactions that are temporary. Whether it is Uber or Lyft, drivers and clients have been drawn to the gig economy’s version of transportation. As a result of this success, many urban-dwellers decide to go car-less.

The gig economy can serve the purposes of both the worker and the client. The workers can use gigs to pick up a little extra money, or to work when it is convenient for themselves. The client doesn’t have to pay wages, but can contract for specific purposes, and often save money by doing so.

Most of my students are millennials — they are the ones galvanising the gig economy. According to the Freelancing in America Survey, 47% of millennials are freelancers.

Even though, there are benefits in being a freelancer, students should be aware of the pitfalls. In spite of its popularity, the “gigging” of some sections of the economy has not gone completely smoothly, due to union, legal, and other issues. For example, the Uber article mentions: “There are questions as to whether the Uber model is a sustainable business that can be profitable in the longer term.”

Jonathan Moules' business school news

It is tradition among media outlets to start the year with a look forward at what readers can expect for the year ahead. So what does 2018 hold for business education?

Wharton graduate Donald Trump has been impacting US business schools negatively throughout 2017, with a marked drop in international students according to data from GMAC. This is important for US schools because international students have helped maintain MBA course numbers in the face of declining applications for many two-year courses.

Another theme of recent years has been entrepreneurship. This year will see another series of my podcast Start-Up Stories – you can listen to previous episodes through FT.com or your preferred podcast platform. Interest among MBA students in starting companies remains strong, but it is a minority pursuit. The question for 2018 is whether this level of activity has reached a peak.

A key concern for many top business schools at the start of the calendar year is administering the latest MBA applications. This week I have looked at an issue of key concern to those checking the candidate essays: whether or not they have been ghostwritten by third parties. Ghostwriting is a serious issue – students can be ejected from courses after being found out – but schools are finding new ways to spot transgressors.

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.

Test your knowledge on 2017

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

Edited by Wai Kwen Chan — bschool@ft.com

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.