The Ten Day MBA, by Steven Silbiger

Here is another in a series of well-established books lent to me by my friend Thomas Chuzeville.

This one is supposed to teach you all the things learned in an MBA (surprised?). Sounds like one more of those ‘do it yourself in 3 easy steps’, right?

Well, yes, that’s exactly what it is. But in a good way. There actually is quite a few things to learn in it, especially for someone like me who might not have the inclination to attend a one-to-two-year, eye-poppingly expensive course.

The book is organized in 10 (still surprised?) chapters, one per main subject addressed during such courses.

The best two are by far Marketing and Strategy, which made me go “so, that‘s how it works!” Seriously, my own graduate studies did not cover this, far from it, and it’s not like my employer is going to give me free training, just for the sake of it.

Organizational Behavior is another one of those. It explains why managing people is complex (not something everyone is aware of). Lots of interesting bits, though not in great detail. At least, now, I know that I know nothing about OB.

Same for Operations, which is an excellent introductory course on Production, with a nice overview of the management tools available to control and steer. I feel that it misses more detail on Lean Production and the like, though there is a quick mention of Theory Z and kaizen.

The parts that were more difficult for me to absorb were the “harder (as in, more technical)” subjects such as Accounting, Quantitative Analysis, Finance and Economics. It’s just that little bit too hard to concentrate on those things while on the subway.

The last two chapters are one on Ethics (disappointing, on only 7 pages), and one gathering references for further reading.

What’s in it for me, then?
Well, it is an excellent book for you to learn whether you really want to join an MBA course. But even if you don’t, you will have an idea of what the people that do go there, learn. Which will help, next time you are facing such an animal, be it your boss, or a customer.

About Eric Lefevre-Ardant

Independent technical consultant.
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