CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Apple senior vice president of retail Angela Ahrendts speaks during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on the Apple Park campus on September 12, 2017 in Cupertino, California. Apple is holding their first special event at the new Apple Park campus where they are expected to unveil a new iPhone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Angela Ahrendts speaks in Apple’s Steve Jobs theatre in Cupertino last week. The retail chief’s takeover of the ‘town square’ model betrays the company’s sometimes patronising attitude to the world outside its bubble © Getty
Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

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

Business School Insider

Interview advice for MBAs: be as open as you dare, by Dan Cable, professor of organisational behaviour at London Business School.

Andrew Hill's challenge

Apple has overstepped the mark, in my view, by deciding to call its stores "town squares" — as it announced in the preamble to last week's glossy launch of the iPhone X. The rebrand suggests an arrogance about the company's place in the world — and sounds to me like an attempt to privatise what should stay as public shared spaces.

But branding is always difficult — and big, powerful companies have more of a tendency to stray into nonsense than most (remember "Monday", the shortlived attempt by PwC to rebrand its consulting business, ultimately sold to IBM). What would you call Apple Stores — assuming you even think they need rebranding — and, briefly, why? Send your responses to this week's challenge to 

Last week, I asked for your tips on how to help chief executives filter the "river of swill" that calls itself "thought leadership", pulling the best information and insights out. Darryl Samuel wisely suggests that before implementing any "new fandango leadership insight", executives should canvas employees, "especially those who work at the coalface".

In further reading this week, David Hill of The Ringer website writes at length about the culture of America's truck drivers, with the annual National Truck Driving Championships as a backdrop. "For all but a moment, [truckers] have been overworked and underpaid," he writes. "The ones who have made a life for themselves behind the wheel …perform a crucial role in our economic order and do so with an undervalued skill. They receive far too little in the way of recognition or reward."

Bracken Bower Prize

Are you under 35 with an idea for a book that tackles emerging business themes? Submit a proposal for The Bracken Bower Prize by September 30.

For tips about how to come up with the idea and how to structure your proposal, listen to this podcast, where Andrew Hill discusses how to write a book proposal with agent Ella Diamond Kahn and publisher Joel Rickett.

In the meantime, find out which titles have made it to the longlist for the FT/McKinsey Business Book of the Year 2017.

Professor's picks

Heather Kappes, assistant professor of marketing at the London School of Economics, selects:

Corbyn, Macron and D66: the elections that shocked the political class and why it’s not over yet ( Political shock in the valleyThis is part of a series on “The Europopulists” which is fascinating reading as a whole. This specific article highlights issues around economic inequality. It is crucial for business leaders to understand how and why many people feel they are being left behind as the global economy moves forward. Research on topics like confirmation bias has highlighted just how hard it can be for us to understand views that are different to our own.

Twitter struggles to turn tweets into treasure With the super-fast development of new forms of media, it can feel like the landscape of business is being reinvented every few years. The challenge of teaching is to prepare students for the world not just as it is now, but what it will be. In designing our new MSc marketing programme we thought a lot about useful ways to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of novel technologies. This piece highlights the gap between use and monetisation which students sometimes overlook. The article raises an interesting question: ‘if Twitter cannot convert its user engagement into financial success, how will others — news publishers', for instance?

Jonathan Moules' business school news

China’s rise, or perhaps more precisely re-emergence, as an economic powerhouse has been well documented. There has been less fanfare about the country’s business schools, which are teaching the current and future generations of Chinese leaders. But these too are coming of age as can be seen in the FT’s business school rankings.

I have spent the week in China, visiting a number of institutions from Beijing to Shanghai and down to Hong Kong. Most of these were only established in the last two decades, but they are already providing a quality of teaching to match schools in the US and Europe.

They face challenges – not least interference in higher education from Beijing – but they are also creating a new opportunity to explain how capitalism operates in a Chinese context by developing case studies on the country’s many fast-evolving companies. The challenge will be for these schools to attract and grow the academic talent needed to research this market and teach its future leaders.

Ask the academics

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

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 —

Get alerts on Business school when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Follow the topics in this article