7 Books To Read Before Enrolling in an MBA Program [Essential Business School Reading List]
Business and Leadership Coach, Tonika Bruce, shares a list of seven books that have helped her journey through her MBA program.
All MBA aspirants must cultivate the habit of reading because books always offer a broader perspective of the world outside their knowledge zone.
Books provide information and serve as the window to explore expert thoughts on a specific subject and subsequently link your opinion and concept with that of the author. In addition to aiding you to pass the MBA entrance examination, books also help you to build managerial skills, become innovative, and develop business excellence.
An MBA can be a valuable investment in your career, but it’s important to consider what you’re getting into before enrolling. These seven books are a great starting point for learning more about the world of business and will give you a better idea of what to expect in an MBA program. Whether you’re still considering whether or not an MBA is right for you, or you’re just getting started on your studies, these books will help you to gain skills and hone business and innovation capacities.
In this article, I’ll share a brief review of each book to give you a peek to help you decide.
1. Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less by Robert Sutton
Sutton addresses a challenge that every enterprise experiences as it tries to scale up or expand. The book keenly analyzes case studies and inside accounts of various industry segments to determine the vital scaling challenges that confront every company at a particular time.
The author handles the tough trade-offs and discloses how good leadership, team development skills, and instilling the right mindsets can result in business excellence.
The book further explains the principles to help in advancing excellence and innovation throughout the firm. The book is recommended for all MBA aspirants as it will help them grow and navigate evolving technologies while delivering quality work. The principles explained in this book are so valuable that it is listed among the mandatory reading requirements of Harvard Business School.
2. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis
Sometimes as a business leader, you may underestimate what you can accomplish with the limited resources at your disposal. The art of winning an unfair game shows you how to creatively use your weakness to your advantage.
The book is about a baseball team that was trying to win a major league with a smaller budget than all the competitor teams. The coach and the team management carefully analyzed statistical data to defy the conventional wisdom traditionally held by big teams. Using the research information and a restricted budget, the team manager succeeded to build a winning team of young inexpensive players and affordable castoff veterans.
Michael Lewis brings out the role of critical thinking as a hallmark of exceptional leaders.
The book can be very helpful for MBA aspirants as it stirs up their innovative potential. Additionally, the book can help MBA aspirants to develop business excellence just like the team manager with the least budget to put together a winning team.
3. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America by Warren Buffet and Lawrence Cunningham.
This book is highly recommended for all people wishing to enroll for MBA. The book is a compilation of Warren’s letters to Berkshire’s shareholders. It describes the approach to wise investing and the fundamentals of business.
The book advises that good investors must identify good businesses, buy them at fair prices and run them for the long term, rather than focusing on the market. It also disagrees with the recent finance theory that relies on market prices to determine the business value.
The book can help aspiring business leaders to hone smart investment strategies which are crucial elements of business and leadership excellence. The best take away? It will teach you how to make business decisions without using emotions.
4. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
This book is regarded as one of the most influential books in the business sector. The seven habits include being proactive, beginning with the end in mind, putting first things first, thinking win-win, seeking first to understand, then to be understood, synergizing, and sharpening the saw.
These habits can be very handy for MBA students during their coursework and even after school. You will learn how to build a work discipline that will result in increased innovation and build business excellence.
Incorporating these habits into schoolwork and employment can improve your communication skills.
5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Despite being published in 1936, this book is still among the bestselling self-help books. The book offers solid rock advice that has propelled numerous famous people up the ladder of success in their personal lives and business.
The principles introduced by Carnegie are still relevant and can aid anyone to accomplish their maximum potential in competitive and complex business environments.
The content of this book can get MBA aspirants out of their mental ditch; give them new thoughts, new ambitions, and new visions. Furthermore, Carnegie’s timeless advice in this book can help you build persuasive arguments for your MBA admissions and later thesis. Not to mention, networking potential to increase popularity and enable you to make allies quickly and easily.
Therefore, this book enhances social skills which lead to business excellence when implemented properly.
6. The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries
The author, an experienced entrepreneur, commenced an entire worldwide movement around the idea of a lean startup, which has been implemented by numerous businesses around the globe. He expounds on how startups can be more innovative to minimize time wastage and be more successful. The book introduces a successful methodology on how to establish a profitable startup.
The methodology of a lean startup is not about being low-cost but about averting wastage and still performing the key duties.
Noting that one of the vital learning items of an MBA is the ability to lead transformative business tactics across different organizations. Therefore, this book is highly recommended for all MBA aspirants because it enhances innovation, management skills, and business excellence.
7. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
The book provides practical insights into the challenges that may arise when operating a business. These challenges include gaining employee loyalty, employee dismissals, and different methods to attract investors. The author, a technology entrepreneur, gives his war story that indicates that the right things are similar to the hard things.
One of my favorite reads, The Hard Thing About Hard Things will make understanding people and crisis management easy.
This is an ideal read for all MBA aspirants as it will prepare them for the coursework and future business management. The author offers information on skills and a mindset that will embrace continuous change. Implementing the knowledge of this book enhances innovation and business leadership resulting in business excellence. Additionally, this book is recommended by top achievers in the business sector including Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, and Peter Thiel.
As an MBA student, you must be aware that personal reading material can be as valuable as lessons acquired in the classroom. The path to success in the business landscape is constantly changing and reading such books will help you get ahead and stay relevant. Reading the recommended books brings new insights and fresh thinking into the studies. Additionally, these books assist in expanding your minds to comprehend international business concepts.
Find more business and personal development books at the bookshelf.
Tonika Bruce is a business and professional development coach with over 15 years experience running businesses. To get more in depth career and business coaching, connect with Coach Bruce: Book a Consultation Call.