Pre-MBA Prep Basics – Getting Started With Finance And Economics

Finance is a pretty broad field of study – ranging from financial accounting and reporting to the study of various financial markets, stock markets, valuations, trading etc. And so is Economics – with the 2 major sub-topics being Macro- and Micro-Economics. But both of them are essential for anyone serious about pursuing a career in the lucrative Investment Banking industry.

In order to get started, I would suggest:

  • Starting with a few good books to learn the basics of all the fields
  • Reading through some good blogs to help you understand the nuances, real-life applications, and the current trends,
  • Utilising MOOCs to take up some good courses, both to assess your proficiency and also to earn certifications that you can use to showcase your achievements

A. Books

B. Blogs

  • Prof. Jayanth R. Varma’s Financial Markets Blog: Prof Jayant Verma is a Professor of Finance (mainly Financial markets) at IIMA. He is one of the most impressive teachers I have ever met.He was one of the first members of SEBI and is on the board of multiple big companies including Infosys and Axis Bank.

    His blog, which has been up since 2005, is a brilliant resource on understanding the nuances of the financial markets.

  • Dealbook (NYT): Dealbook is the news aggregator section of NYTimes to keep you updated on the current state of affairs of the Fin industry.
  • Mergers & Inquisitions: Everything you need to know about every aspect of the Financial world – from big investment banks to boutique firms, from Private Equity to Hedge Funds and AM/WM firms.
  • Investment Banking Blog: The holy mecca for the preparation of i-Banking interviews, the IB Blog offers everything from the boot camps and interview prep courses (paid) to free resources like basic interview questions, the overview of the industry etc.
  • Wall Street Oasis: Similar to #2 above, but with more functionality to read the best articles of the month/week/day etc.
  • FT Alphaville: Another news aggregator that will make sure you do not have any time left in your day (courtesy its exhaustive coverage of current affairs)

C. Courses

  • Accounting
    A 10 lesson introductory course on accounting, for free.
    Introduction to Financial Accounting
  • Financial Markets
    Who better to learn from, than a Nobel Laureate?Robert J. Shiller is a 2013 Nobel prize winner in Economics for his work on “empirical analysis of asset prices”.

    He offers a 23-part series of 1 hour+ lectures for free on Youtube. Probably the best way to start learning about Financial markets and their machinations.

  • Financial TheoryJohn Geanakoplos is the current “James Tobin” Professor of Economics at Yale. In hi 26 lecture series, he covers the basics of finance, ranging from the time value of money, the risk-return tradeoff, asset pricing, yield curves, and risk hedging.

  • Finance Theory
    Another course on Finance Theory, this time by MIT.

D. Bonus – Personal Finance

Personal finance is not usually taught as part of any curriculum. But this is something that will affect you the most and is one of the most vital life-skill one should have.

From the wiki page,

Personal finance is the financial management which an individual or a family unit is required to do to obtain, budget, save, and spend monetary resources over time, taking into account various financial risks and future life events.

Here’s a 20 part tutorial series from Khan Academy to get you started.


A. Books

B. Blogs:

  • Freakonomics: The authors of the best-selling economics-infused-with-pop-culture book have more to say and share than the 2 books.The blog is usually a collection of podcasts that aim to explore the “hidden side of economics” and highlight outliers, which although rare, are extremely critical.
  • Why Nations Fail: On the same line as Freakonomics, the blog by Daren Acemoglu is a follow-up on his book of the same name and explores similar obscure events that shaped the rise and fall of nations and civilisations.
  • Economixcomix: The companion blog for the graphic novel of the same name by Michael Goodwin, Economixcomix explains the basic tenets of Economics in a simple way, along with illustrations to make understanding easier.
  • The Grumpy Economist: The perennial pessimist, the one who finds faults in everything, the dad who bores his kid during dinner with his constant rants and criticisms, John Cochrane provides an unabashed, and hard-hitting critique that exposes the not-so-sunny side of the world economy.
  • Investing and Economics Blog: The Curios Cat blogs is for us. The laymen. The dabblers. It focuses heaving on personal finance, economics, financial literacy, tax planning, credit management et al; stuff that affects the majority of the populace on a regular basis.
  • The Upshot: The NYT economics companion to its financial section, Dealbook, The Upshot is all you need to read to be perfectly updated of what is happening, why it is happening, what would be the consequences, and what could have been done better.
  • Economist’s View: A collection of self-posts and the hottest posts from other economics blogs.
  • The Money Illusion: TMI focuses on the money and capital markets and provides wonderful commentary on financial crises, international economics, foreign reserve dynamics, monetary and fiscal policies, labour markets etc.

C. Courses

The above content has been re-posted from my blog, University of Quora, where I routinely post primers, course recommendations, lists of learning resources etc.



About the Author:

Deepak Mehta is 28, highly eccentric. He can be found at most party venues. Deepak loves to read (And occasionally write). Originated in the hills (Nainital) but lost his heart somewhere on a beach in Goa. If found, kindly return to the owner.

A Computer Science graduate from BITS – Goa and an MBA from IIM – Ahmedabad. Currently resides in Mumbai. Also, he is one of the top writers on Quora!