Attendees at a Global Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna, Austria © Gerald Mayer-Rohrmoser
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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

Who is the greatest manager of the past 100 years? To launch the new term for the Business School newsletter, we have a special Management Challenge with a prize for MBA students: name the greatest manager of the past 100 years and justify your choice in 200 words or fewer.

The best contributors will be able to join management experts, leading chief executives and delegates from around the world in Vienna at the world-renowned Global Peter Drucker Forum, in honour of the Austrian-born management thinker. The Forum runs November 29-30, 2018.

The Forum: In my “beginner’s guide” to the Forum last year, I said you should attend “if you’re interested in exchanging bright ideas about how to run and transform organisations with an eclectic mix of delegates and speakers”. That still stands, and this year's should be even grander. It takes place in Vienna’s Imperial Palace, the Hofburg, and speakers include chief executives such as Paul Polman of Unilever and Isabelle Kocher of Engie, and management gurus such as Clay Christensen, Lynda Gratton and Rosabeth Moss Kanter.

As partner of the Forum, the Financial Times is able to offer up to three complimentary tickets to MBA students for the 10th anniversary edition of the management conference, where the 2018 theme is “Management: The Human Dimension”. If you wish to spread the word about the competition the hashtag is #FTGreatestManager, while you can follow the build-up to the Forum using #GPDF18.

Rules: The competition is open only to current students on one of the FT’s top 100 MBA programmees. The deadline for entriesis Monday September 10, 12.01am UK time. Send your entry to The prize is a ticket to the Drucker Forum, covering entry, food, networking and Forum events. Flights and accommodation are not paid for by the FT or the Forum.

Helen Barrett, the FT's Work and Careers Editor, and I will judge the entries and announce the winners no later than the week of September 17. No group entries, please. One entry per person. We reserve the right to publish the entry in the Financial Times newspaper and/or on There is no alternative prize if the winner is unable to attend the Forum, for whatever reason.

Good luck!

Meanwhile, in my column this week, I take a look at Aston Martin's efforts to turn itself into a luxury lifestyle brand, ahead of a planned initial public offering of the carmaker: you may soon be able to buy an Aston Martin apartment, submarine or vertical take-off aircraft. Lifestyle branding can be perilous, as brands such as Burberry and Gucci have found in recent years after their good name was dragged downmarket.

In further reading, I spent much of the early summer helping select and read the longlist for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award, which is full of reflections and revelations about the good and the bad of capitalism. There are still a few weeks left for under-35s to enter the sister £15,000 Bracken Bower Prize for the best proposal for a business book. The deadline is September 30.

What employers want from MBAs

For the second year, the FT has surveyed top employers on the skills they consider most important and difficult to find when recruiting MBA graduates. Soft skills rate highest, and big data analysis is among the most difficult to find. Read the full results here. Employers want these capabilities most:

Professor's picks

Fabio Bertoni, associate dean for research and professor of corporate finance at EMLyon Business School selects:

It is a mystery why bankers earn so much: Many finance students want to become mergers and acquisitions advisors, but why are they paid so much? This article offers an interesting perspective beyond the obvious demand/supply argument, looking at what they actually do for their clients, and at the bargaining power between advisors and the companies that hire them.

The article states: ‘Going through an M&A auction can feel like being operated upon for directors who have not experienced it before. Shareholders and the media lurk, ready to condemn any slip-up (the latter risk is why public relations consultants get paid so much as well).’

Swiss bourse launches cryptocurrency platform: When it comes to digital currencies, this article raises some important points. Should digital currencies be regulated like financial securities? Proponents say institutional investors will prefer platforms that comply with security regulations.

Further reading

How to Diversify Your Professional Network (HBR)

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