Tesla founder Elon Musk © AFP
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FT Global MBA ranking 2018

Stanford has made it to the top of the MBA ranking? Is your school in the top 100? Find out more in our free-to-read MBA ranking coverage.

How to lead

Frank Appel, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL, features in our seventh edition of our weekly series — for readers who are interested in what makes good leadership. Mr Appel talks about how he motivates staff.

Andrew Hill's challenge

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

Fascination with the trajectory of Elon Musk's career was given a boost last week, when Tesla proposed a pay deal for the entrepreneur and moving force behind the carmaker and SpaceX, under which he would earn $50bn over 10 years if he met a series of highly demanding targets.

As I've written this week, apart from its scale, the all-stock deal looks like other packages that align executive targets with those of investors. The Tesla board's real fear, though, must be that Mr Musk gets bored of Tesla and jumps to his spaceships before the job is complete.

Mr Musk would forfeit the pay-out if he pulled out early, but my challenge to you this week is to come up with other incentives that might tie the mercurial entrepreneur to Tesla — or any entrepreneurial CEO to his or her company. I'll give extra credit for those suggestions that are concise and that stress the non-financial elements. Please send these to bschool@ft.com.

In further reading this weeka really fascinating blogpost at Behavioraleconomics.com about the psychology behind McDonald's restaurant redesign. Luke Battye, clearly a fan of the planned changes, analyses everything from the menu display to the new queuing system (one line for ordering, another to collect), and applauds McDonald's for not taking the easy step of automating away restaurant staff. Instead, customers can choose to order on machines and waitstaff bring the meals to tables: "I commend McDonald's on using this new technology to free up humans to do what they do best: interact with other humans."

Professor's picks

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

Chia-Jung Tsay, associate professor at the UCL School of Management, selects:

Why are so many Americans crowdfunding their healthcare? Crowdfunding has prompted much public and scholarly interest. Such powerful platforms have launched everything from start-ups, to new consumer products, to musicians' careers. This piece poignantly details how some people have resorted to crowdfunding for another purpose: covering the costs of healthcare in the US. The article raises many questions: how do companies, such as crowdfunding platforms, balance both profit-oriented and pro-social goals? What are the implications of campaign managers advising how to ‘generate empathy’ to more effectively raise funds for healthcare purposes?

Big year ahead: catching up with the career changers Many university and postgraduate students begin their studies with firm ideas about the careers they will pursue. Yet in recent years, we are now likely to find ourselves in more circuitous career paths than our counterparts from previous generations. This piece, as part of the FT series on career changers, offers students tangible examples of people who have successfully navigated different pathways through multiple careers. With a wide range of fields and ages represented, this series prompts several questions for students to consider: what is motivating me to pursue the career I have chosen? What kind of career and life do I envision for myself over the next 5, 10 and 20+ years?

Jonathan Moules's business school news

Stanford Graduate School of Business is back at number one in the FT’s Global MBA ranking. That is the fact. However, observers might draw a number of conclusions from this year’s outcome that are wide of the mark. So here are a few things that Stanford’s supremacy does not prove.

Firstly, it does not show that two-year MBA courses are back in vogue. The trend towards prospective students taking shorter, one-year courses has been happening for several years and shows no sign of abating, according to the latest figures from examinations body GMAC. 

It also does not prove that European schools, such as Insead, which previously topped the FT ranking list, are on the decline. The success of US schools on this year’s list is at least in part explained by the recovery of the American jobs market, but the advantages of European schools in terms of the international mix of students and the advantages of shorter courses remain. 

Another real trend is the flight to quality among MBA applicants, which explains why the schools at the top of the FT’s list have been receiving record application volumes.

Stanford no doubt benefits from being located at the heart of Silicon Valley, the world’s start-up capital, generating in Apple, Facebook and Google what are now among the world’s largest companies by market capitalisation. However, Stanford’s success does not mark the triumph of entrepreneurship on MBA courses. In fact, the FT’s student survey results show a marked decrease in the percentage of people starting companies in the three years after graduation. This may again reflect a buoyant jobs market for MBA students at the moment, but it might also show that it has now become easier to be entrepreneurial by joining a large tech company, such as Amazon or Alibaba, than taking the bigger risk of attempting to do it yourself.

You can read about this and more of the findings in the MBA rankings pages of the FT website.

Ask the academics

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Edited by Wai Kwen Chan — bschool@ft.com

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