Donald Trump, 'a president whose credibility with his core supporters only seems to rise' © Reuters
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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 feedback about FT Business school, please email

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Andrew Hill's challenge

Credibility is the precious but brittle raw material of leadership. In this week's column, I've taken a look at how hard it is to build credibility, and how easy it is to lose it. I've also touched on the interesting case study that is Donald Trump, a president whose credibility with his core supporters only seems to rise, despite his behaving in ways that meet all the criteria (listed in a recent study) that usually lead to a fatal loss of trust.

My hypothesis is that it is particularly hard to rebuild credibility as a corporate leader while remaining in the same position at the same organisation. For this week's management challenge, I'd like to hear one or two ways in which you think a leader can restore their reputation for competence and trustworthiness without moving on. If you have examples — beyond those mentioned in my column or the article referenced above — even better. Please send your concise submissions to We'll be publishing the results of last week's prize challenge, with tickets for this year's Global Peter Drucker Forum on offer, on September 17. 

In further reading this week, Insead's Yves Doz, author of a new book Ringtone, about what went wrong at Nokia, has written about the eternally interesting question of why successful companies fail. Worryingly for incumbent managers, he points out that "the seeds of strategic stasis are usually sown by management choices made a decade or so earlier".

Global Masters in Management 

Swiss school St Gallen’s MA in Strategy and International Management tops the ranking for the eighth consecutive year. Read the full list here

Jonathan Moules writes 

 A new business school term is a chance for a fresh start. This is more important than ever for those organising MBA courses as the world of work changes, as do the expectations both of those hiring and seeking to be hired. 

 One of the trends we have been charting in the pages of the Financial Times has been the waning interest among MBA students in entrepreneurship and the growing demand for teaching on data science. 

 This was highlighted again in our annual MBA skills survey, in which employers claimed data analysis was one of the hardest skills to recruit. It was supported by a survey, released a few days later by education research company Carrington Crisp, which also showed declining interest among MBA students in learning start-up skills.

The mix of teaching offered on MBA courses is relatively easy to fix. What is more difficult to remedy is the widespread disillusion among employers with MBA graduates, which the FT’s survey also discovered.

Record numbers of people now take MBAs, but this is because the degree course is booming in the emerging markets of Asia. In the US, most business schools have been battling against declining applications for the last four years. There are now concerns that this year’s figures will show a further drop in the US.

The challenge for business schools is to change. They are very good at talking about it in the classroom in relation to other organisations. The question is whether they can do it quickly enough themselves.

Professor's picks 

Alain Schatt, professor of financial accounting at HEC Lausanne, University of Lausanne, picks this FT article: A return to prudence: how to restore faith in accounting.

This recent in-depth piece on how to restore faith in accounting raises some interesting issues. What are the best regulations leading auditors, especially the Big Four, to curb "earnings management" in public companies? While various solutions are discussed, it is astonishing to observe that regulators’ reflections do not appear to take into consideration the results of independent academic research, which does not conclude they should limit the influence of the Big Four. 

Many papers show that financial statements' quality is much better, but at a significantly higher cost, when the auditor is a Big Four. In addition, sharing an audit between a Big Four and a non-Big Four (joint audit) appears much more expensive while not reducing earnings management.

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Edited by Andrew Jack —

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