5 Books You Should Read Before And During Your MBA

When Nidhi Malkan from InsideIIM, told me that my very first article – Books To Read While Preparing For CAT, was well received, I was shocked. To be honest, I had published it just for fun and when I look back at it, can definitely say that I have come a long way. But she suggested that I should perhaps write the second part of that article. I was a bit reluctant at first, but then I said, why not? Even some really bad movies (which shall not be named, just for the sake of avoiding controversies: Oh, an MBA teaches you that really well) have sequels, so that article sure deserves one too. So, here I am, presenting you a list of 5 books, which you might find handy before you go for an MBA, cause a little head-start never hurts.

(Note: I am going to add some books from the first article too, as my glorious (?) first term has re-emphasised the importance of those books).

  • The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand:

Oh, this book must top the list, as it’s going to be very, very useful to you. During your 2 years at the campus, you are going to meet some awesome individuals, who have achieved some brilliant things in their lives and it’s definitely going to give you super-complex and an overdose of jealousy. Before you even realise it, you will be running in a rat race, solely because of the FOMO and peer pressure. You will apply to the clubs that you never liked, go for the subjects you never wanted to learn and apply to the jobs that you never wanted. But, you can save a lot of this mess, if you get your first principle right. And who can teach you that better than the protagonist of this novel, Mr. Howard Roark?

“Who will let you? That’s not the point. The point is who will stop me.”

  • Purple Cow by Seth Godin: “Have you heard about Kotler? You will.”

Oh yes, you will, and you’ll probably curse him too. I still remember the night before my ‘Marketing Management’ exam, when I tried to read that 1000+ page book (well, mostly stared at it, while cursing myself for not studying beforehand) and grasp the relevant knowledge. But, what if you’ve already read a compressed version of Kotler? That’s Purple Cow for you. While it doesn’t cover all the concepts, but it teaches you how to make your product (or even yourself) a success by being remarkable. If you want to go into marketing, then this is a must-read book for you. And if you don’t want to go into marketing, then this book will save your ass in your first term 😉

  • Day to Day Economics by Satish Deodhar: 

Economics (along with Accounting) is going to trouble you a lot in your first term. While it’s an easy subject, but a few find it difficult to comprehend or relate to day-to-day life. This masterpiece, written by an IIM-A Prof., will explain all the nuances of Economics in very easy and lucid language. Also, the Indian examples (you will understand the importance of ‘Indian’ in your first term) given in this book will help you to grasp this subject in a better way. After considering the terrible graphs you’ll have to understand in the actual course, you will definitely appreciate the lucidity in this book.

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: 

You ask any X, Y or Z about what should is the most important thing to do in during an MBA and he/she will definitely tell you one thing (along with 10’s of other confusing things, of course): Networking. Trust me, they are right. Whatever you do in future, the network that you create in your MBA days is going to be very helpful, and this book will teach you a thing or two about networking. Dale Carnegie wrote this self-help book in 1936 and till now, it has sold 30 million copies worldwide. It not only teaches you to network but also how to influence others, win clients and what not. Btw, even Warren Buffet, one of the most successful investors of the 20th century, had taken Dale Carnegie’s class in his 20s and has all praises for this book.

  • Start Me Up by Hemant Soreng: 

So, do you remember your MBA interview? I think you said something like “I want to be an entrepreneur in future”, right? Cool, but first you need to know what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. This book will definitely give you a glimpse of that. It’s about an IIM-B alumnus and his entrepreneurial journey (and a love-story as well). Written with a touch of humour, this book will tell you about how your life goes for a toss when you decide to be an entrepreneur, but will convey the message that you must chase your dreams. It’s so addictive that I managed to finish it within just a couple of nights (of course, the day’s were spent in the-usual-MBA-kind-off-activities).

In the end, I would just like to quote (well, sing actually) a line from one of the Rolling Stones’ song:

“If you start me up, I’ll never stop”

And here are the References (Oh, my prof’s would be so proud of me):

Abhishek Kshirsagar

Just a dreamer!


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