Personal MBA

I’ve long been interested in pursuing an MBA. I majored in Computer Science and Mathematics in college, and was a class short of getting a minor in Writing. Despite my love of business, I didn’t take a business class (unless you count Intro to Economics). I had wanted to focus on the classes that counted towards my major and figured business classes could wait until an MBA program, if that was in my future.

My interest in an MBA was fueled when I had the opportunity to be a part of the Maynard Media Academy while I worked at the Star. It was a two week management training program held at Harvard University. As part of the program, we had the privilege of being taught several classes by Harvard MBA professors. We even had to read some of the case studies assigned as homework in the real MBA classes. Despite the stigma of homework, I enjoyed reading the case studies, and enjoyed even more the time spent in class discussing them with the MBA professors.

An MBA might still be in my future, but unfortunately starting a new business means that it won’t happen soon. It’s hard to justify the expense during a period when cash flow is crucial. It’s even harder to justify the time when I could spend those hours building the business.

A few months ago I ran across mention of The Personal MBA, which is essentially a reading list to “substantially increase your knowledge of business on your own time and with little cost, all without setting foot inside a classroom.” The idea intrigued me. I don’t think that reading 40+ books would replace the classroom experience of an MBA program, but I think there is some truth to the fact that one can learn much of the material through an informal process.

I love the quote on the site from Good Will Hunting where Matt Damon’s character states:

“You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for a buck fifty in late charges at the public library.”

As I thought about it some more, I realized that the MBA degree doesn’t mean a lot to me. I won’t get a raise or a promotion as a result of another degree, and it probably wouldn’t help in acquiring new customers either. I’m most interested in the education, and using that to grow as a person and build a better business.

While I voraciously read business articles and websites, it’s not often that I sit down to read a business book. I know that I would find value out of reading more often, so I decided this week to commit to reading everything on the Personal MBA list — even ones that sound boring, like Essentials of Accounting.

I already started by reading Art of the Start, by Guy Kawasaki and found it to be a pretty great read. I’m looking forward to the next 40.

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