BusinessWeek Online is an insightful observer of the MBA scene. Any serious MBA applicant should either regularly visit or sign up for the RSS feed or newsletter. (I couldn’t find the subscription page today, but I regularly receive the newsletter.) A few recent articles:
- How to Go to Business School for Free . Oh yes, I’m quoted: “‘I think the trick is you need to kind of do everything that will get
you accepted, but on steroids,’ says Linda Abraham, ‘Students who want
to get one need to show serious commitment, involvement, and impact.
That is critical for getting a full or significant ride.'”
- How B-Schools Catch Résumé Liars
- MBA Applications Surge Again
The BusinessWeek MBA Channel is well-written and informative. It really is must reading.
On the optional reading list is Ahead of the Curve, a book by Philip Delves Broughton, Harvard Business School ’06. It too is well-written and informative, but in reading it I thought of several alternative titles that may be more descriptive:
- HBS Dearest
- Why I am Better Than Most Money-Grubbing HBS Grads Even Though I Don’t Have a Job.
- Why You Should Never Attend B-School — Even HBS — If You Don’t Have a Good Reason for Doing So.
#3 is my favorite. While other reviews, including BusinessWeek’s focused on the more sensationalistic aspects of the book — drinking, juvenile parties, unhappy grads — for me, this is a story about someone who went to business school without a clear goal. Furthermore, he relied on rankings and brand to determine his choice of school. He knew little about Harvard and its culture so he was surprised and frequently unhappy when he got there. In his thirties and married, he didn’t always feel like he fit in with his frequently single and younger classmates. He concludes, quoting a classmate, “HBS is a factory for unhappy people.”
I personally know some very happy HBS grads. They had clear goals that HBS has helped them achieve.
So given my titles above and dim view of the Mommy Dearest genre, why would I recommend this book at all?
- It does provide insight into Harvard Business School.
- It should be required reading for everyone who wants an MBA, but has only a vague idea what s/he is going to do with the degree.
- It should be required reading for anyone who thinks that “brand” and “ranking” are decisive when choosing a business school.