If I were Boots, I'd be afraid. Very afraid. This would be a perfectly natural reaction to the news last month that having decked both Sainsbury and Safeway, the imperious Tesco is now turning its attention to Boots, with £70 million worth of price cuts on consumer staples such as toothpaste, baby wipes and beauty products.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

As if it didn't have enough to worry about at Nottingham HQ, Boots' corporate blood must have run cold as a Tesco spokesman announced smoothly that on a basket of 12 baby products, including baby powder and rusks, a customer could save 11% over a similar shop in Boots. The reaction to the news that Tesco is squaring up for a scrap with you must be like that of a border state of the Roman empire finding 20 legions of grim-faced infantry camped on its lawn with catapaults and javelin-chucking machines, led by Russell Crowe in his furs. You fear there can be only one outcome to the skirmish.

This month, the MT interview is with Sir Terry Leahy. He's an unlikely prize fighter, Roman emperor or Russell Crowe for that matter, and our interviewer Chris Blackhurst had a real tussle extracting any juicy indiscretion from Leahy's lips. It's a fascinating portrait, though.

Another major business figure of few words is Lakshmi Mittal. Most of us associate him with one of New Labour's earlier party donation scandals, but he is far more interesting than that. Quietly flitting from continent to continent in his high-mileage executive jet, he has turned his company into the world's second-largest steel producer and it may well become the biggest before long.

From those on the top rung of the ladder to the young who have yet to put their foot onto it or even into it: Businessdynamics has just carried out a survey with NOP called Students' Attitudes to Business. For those of us accustomed to surveys that rank business people somewhere between hairdressers and axe murderers in public esteem, this provided a welcome surprise. Management came out as the most popular career choice at 60% of the vote, with media (57%), IT (47%), advertising (45%) and travel and tourism (41%) following on behind. (For some reason, management was not included in the previous survey three years ago and so has shot to number one from nowhere.)

Management as a potential career had most appeal to students in the Midlands (72%), while the option of teaching found most favour in Wales (55%), law was most popular in Scotland (43%) and IT, marketing and advertising in London. I will refrain from any narrow-minded regional stereotyping in my response; suffice to say, I always knew Brummies were the salt of the earth. I await a massive postbag as soon as this issue hits the streets.

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