Still life by Clara Peeters: her reflection can be seen in the pewter jug
Still life by Clara Peeters: her reflection can be seen in the pewter jug © Museo Nacional del Prado
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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

Online MBA ranking

Today marks the launch of the Financial Times global online MBA ranking of 2017. Spain's IE Business School is number one for the fourth year in a row. Find out which business schools have made it to the table and read expert commentary from leading writers.

Andrew Hill's challenge

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

I've long been interested in strategies to improve gender balance in business. In my latest column, in this week of International Women's Day, on March 8, I've used the example of Clara Peeters, a 17th century Flemish artist, who flared brilliantly then disappeared, leaving only 40 works behind, as a parallel for what still happens too often after talented women take a career break.

Plenty of companies have programmes open to all employees, but aimed chiefly at recruiting and keeping women. One problem is that men are often reluctant to take advantage of such schemes. For this week's challenge, I'd like to hear your ideas about how to make programmes — for instance, on parental leave, or returnships — more attractive to all staff. If you have an as yet untried idea for improving diversity, feel free to share that, too. As always, please limit your thoughts to one or two sentences to

In further reading this week, I was intrigued to read about new studies that suggest Graduate Record Examination scores, or GREs, and grade point averages (GPAs), used as a measure of academic achievement in the US, are not a great predictor of graduate school productivity. This article in Science sums up the research.

Professor's picks

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

Charles Skuba, professor of the practice in marketing and international business, at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business, US, selects two stories:

Kraft Heinz drops $143bn pursuit of Unilever and Unilever was a deal too far for Kraft Heinz

The failed Kraft Heinz bid for Unilever raises multiple issues for global packaged foods companies. The FT contrasts the “cutting costs and eliminating jobs” approach of Kraft Heinz, and its main shareholders 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway, with the brand building and sustainability emphasis of Unilever. Brand building refers to marketing and reputation investment. Unilever has been investing in advertising and marketing as well as corporate social responsibility efforts.

Kraft Heinz is also heavily dependent upon US consumer revenue while Unilever’s revenue base is more in developing markets. Why was Unilever strategically attractive to Heinz Kraft? If Heinz Kraft wants to increase its footprint in developing markets, should it embrace the corporate social responsibility and market commitment strategies of companies like Unilever and Nestlé?

Ask the academics

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

Jonathan Moules' business school news

Gender balance has been a goal of MBA programmes for many years, and yet the proportion of women studying at business schools has remained stuck around the one third level for many years. It is an issue because it relates to other workplace concerns, such as diversity on company boards, given that MBA graduates are often over-represented in senior management roles.

Gender balance at work is set to be discussed this week because of International Women’s Day. The Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the GMAC exam for aspiring business school students, has produced a report on what people want from an MBA education. It shows women are far better represented on master’s courses than the MBA programmes. FT reporter Kaye Wiggins has been assessing the reasons behind this and whether the problem is cost.

Extra reading

Is there a good time to withhold information within organisations? "Excessive sharing of information creates problems of information overload and can legitimize endless debate and second-guessing of senior executive decisions," according to a report by McKinsey.

Test your knowledge

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

Compiled by Wai Kwen Chan

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