As I progress in my career, and expand my business understanding I’ve often thought about working towards an MBA. So I spent several weeks investigating school, and programs. I read about courses and found that much of what courses offered – I knew.
Yes, there are some gaps – areas such as statistics, economics and some finance (yes, I can read a balance sheet and understand what the numbers mean and what the ratios are trying to present) and so I thought, what is the MBA going to get me besides something to add behind my name?
While I don’t say an MBA is not a worthwhile endeavour, I think that it is particularly useful to someone coming out of University that would like to eventually go into management but has no background or experience on the business side. It may also be useful to someone that has worked in junior roles that is looking to enhance their understanding of business.
I already know, for example that before I can hire for my team I need to be able to justify the added expense — and it’s not only the expense of their salary but benefits. I understand the need to generate revenue from resources or equipment; I have an idea of how to calculate how much revenue a particular piece of equipment is generating.
Yes – this is very simplistic, but there are individuals that don’t understand this. I get into discussions with family members who insist that paying $5.95 for a burger is too much when the patty costs $6 for a box of 12 and the bun is $1.99 for 24. There is more to the cost of an item than the value of the raw materials that are used to make the item — something called profit and the MORE profit you can make, the better especially in cyclical industries.
You also need to look at what the market will bear, regardless of the industry. In Internet Marketing (always a HOT niche since everyone wants to learn how to make more money) most products are priced low enough that those selling it know that there will be very few returns – they also know that most people will buy and store. These same marketers also sell products costing thousands of dollars and continue to sell out for the same reasons.
So back to my main point – as I read course descriptions I found that I already do much of what they will teach in my day-to-day activities so rather than spend the minimum of $25,000 to as much as $150,000 on an MBA why not read about the areas I want to strengthen and apply what I’ve learned? In applying that knowledge I am gaining significant understanding of the concepts and processes. This in turn helps me further develop myself and my team, achieve (hopefully) measurable results on projects that I undertake thereby being able to tell potential employers that I do understand what their needs are and I can deliver.
Mind you there are designations that are a must for people in different fields, in accounting if you want to get anywhere you need to be a CA, CMA or CGA. You can’t practice in certain fields without specific education – however in business, what is needed is a good understanding of various concepts and the ability to get things done – on time and on budget (or under budget).
Had I continued in the IT field and in Project Management, I would have to work towards my PMI certification as more and more companies are looking for this in their Project Managers.
So what’s an alternative to a MBA? Well a PMBA or Personal MBA.
What is a PMBA? “Business schools don’t have a monopoly on worldly wisdom. If you’re serious about learning advanced business principles, the Personal MBA can help you master business without the baggage of b-school.” – from the PMBA website.
The PMBA includes a list of 77 must-read books that will enhance your business knowledge in key areas:
- Productivity & Effectiveness
- Psychology & Communication
- Design & Production
- Marketing, Sales, & Negotiation
- Management & Leadership
- Strategy & Innovation
- Finance & Analysis
- Personal Finance
I’ve started my reading in the area of Management & Leadership with three books:
Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman expose the fallacies of standard management thinking in First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. In seven chapters, the two consultants for the Gallup Organization debunk some dearly held notions about management, such as “treat people as you like to be treated”; “people are capable of almost anything”; and “a manager’s role is diminishing in today’s economy.” “Great managers are revolutionaries,” the authors write. “This book will take you inside the minds of these managers to explain why they have toppled conventional wisdom and reveal the new truths they have forged in its place.”
The authors have culled their observations from more than 80,000 interviews conducted by Gallup during the past 25 years. Quoting leaders such as basketball coach Phil Jackson, Buckingham and Coffman outline “four keys” to becoming an excellent manager: Finding the right fit for employees, focusing on strengths of employees, defining the right results, and selecting staff for talent–not just knowledge and skills. First, Break All the Rules offers specific techniques for helping people perform better on the job. For instance, the authors show ways to structure a trial period for a new worker and how to create a pay plan that rewards people for their expertise instead of how fast they climb the company ladder. “The point is to focus people toward performance,” they write. “The manager is, and should be, totally responsible for this.” Written in plain English and well organized, this book tells you exactly how to improve as a supervisor. –Dan Ring
From Publishers Weekly
Goldsmith, an executive coach to the corporate elite, pinpoints 20 bad habits that stifle already successful careers as well as personal goals like succeeding in marriage or as a parent. Most are common behavioral problems, such as speaking when angry, which even the author is prone to do when dealing with a teenage daughter’s belly ring. Though Goldsmith deals with touchy-feely material more typical of a self-help book—such as learning to listen or letting go of the past—his approach to curing self-destructive behavior is much harder-edged. For instance, he does not suggest sensitivity training for those prone to voicing morale-deflating sarcasm. His advice is to stop doing it. To stimulate behavior change, he suggests imposing fines (e.g., $10 for each infraction), asserting that monetary penalties can yield results by lunchtime. While Goldsmith’s advice applies to everyone, the highly successful audience he targets may be the least likely to seek out his book without a direct order from someone higher up. As he points out, they are apt to attribute their success to their bad behavior. Still, that may allow the less successful to gain ground by improving their people skills first. (Jan. 2)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The other area that I want to read (I hope to eventually read all the books that comprise the reading list of the PMBA) will be in Psychology & Communication, Entrepreneurship and Strategy & Innovation.
Here is a list of some of the books that make up the PMBA:
- Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath
- Lead The Field by Earl Nightingale
- The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn
- The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- Bit Literacy by Mark Hurst
- The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
- Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz
- The Simplicity Survival Handbook by Bill Jensen
- Cut To The Chase by Stuart Levine
- The Unwritten Laws Of Business by W.J. King
- Making Things Happen by Scott Berkun
- Results Without Authority by Tom Kendrick
- How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser
- Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds
- Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
- Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions by Gary Klein
- Secrets of Consulting by Gerald M. Weinberg
- Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales
- Product Design and Development by Karl Ulrich and Steven Eppinger
- The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman
- Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler
- The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt
- Lean Thinking by James Womack and Daniel Jones
- All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin
- Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham
- The Sales Bible by Jeffrey Gitomer
- The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes
- SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham
- Bargaining For Advantage by G. Richard Shell
- 3-D Negotiation by David A. Lax and James K. Sebenius
- The New Business Road Test by John Mullins
- Bankable Business Plans by Edward Rogoff
- Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
- The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki
- How to Make Millions with Your Ideas by Dan Kennedy
- Getting Started in Consulting by Alan Weiss
- First, Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman
- 12: The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner & James Harter
- What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith
- Growing Great Employees by Erika Andersen
- Hiring Smart by Pierre Mornell
- Judgment by Noel Tichy & Warren Bennis
- The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan by George Bradt, Jayme Check, & Jorge Pedraza
- The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig
- The Essential Drucker by Peter F. Drucker
- Ethics for the Real World by Ronald Howard & Clinton Korver
- Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies by Nikos Mourkogiannis
- Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter
- Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
- Seeing What’s Next by Clayton M. Christensen, Erik A. Roth, Scott D. Anthony
- Learning from the Future by Liam Fahey & Robert Randall
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Peter F. Drucker
- Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun
- Green to Gold by Daniel Esty & Andrew Winston
- The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course in Finance by Robert A. Cooke
- How to Read a Financial Report by John A. Tracy
- Turning Numbers Into Knowledge by Jonathan Koomey
- Show Me The Numbers by Stephen Few
- Marketing Metrics by Paul W. Farris, Neil T. Bendle, Phillip E. Pfeifer, and David J. Reibstein
- Web Analytics: An Hour a Day by Avinash Kaushik
- The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
- How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff
- Your Money or Your Life by Joel Dominguez & Vicki Robin
- The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley & William Danko
- The Lazy Person’s Guide to Investing by Paul Farrell
- The Boglehead’s Guide to Investing by Taylor Larimore et al
- Work Less, Live More by Bob Clyatt
- It’s Not About The Money by Brent Kessel
- Money and Power: The History of Business by Howard Means
- Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston
- Citizen Marketers by Ben McConnell & Jackie Huba
- The Book of Business Wisdom by Peter Krass
- The Book of Leadership Wisdom by Peter Krass
- The Book of Management Wisdom by Peter Krass
- The Book of Entrepreneurs’ Wisdom by Peter Krass
- Business: The Ultimate Resource from Basic Books
- The Streetwise Small Business Book of Lists edited by Gene Marks
- Every Manager’s Desk Reference from Alpha Books
- Finance for the Non-Financial Manager by Gene Siciliano
- The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert Bly
- Principles of Statistics by M.G. Bulmer
Visit back often for more business, internet marketing and related information!