books collection

Getting started with my MBA Frontier project, I’m going to make sure I have a plan for the low-hanging fruit activities. The core of any course of study whether instructed or not would be the published literature and reference material on the subject. This is going to be no different for me and my goal, and through any number of books I’ll be able to tout my knowledge as enclosed under some in-your-face or epic sounding title -matching up pretty closely with my mission there.

Fortunately, a lot of this work about the best MBA-substituting books has already been done for me (us!) via the Personal MBA Reading List, administered by Josh Kaufman. Updates for the 2012 version of this list were completed as of a month ago. I reformatted this into a crude spreadsheet / checklist doc if anybody else is interested (PersonalMBA-ReadingList-2012.xls). At first glance of the list, there are absolutely some titles I’d expect to find, and even some I’ve already got under my belt. I’m definitely looking forward to getting into these topics, and work through such works that have already gone through many iterations of scrutiny.  This year the list has been broken into categories as follows:

  • Business Creation
  • Value-Creation & Testing
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Value-Delivery
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Productivity & Effectiveness
  • Problem Solving
  • The Human Mind
  • Behavioral Change
  • Communication
  • Influence
  • Decision-Making
  • Negotiation
  • Management
  • Leadership
  • Project Management
  • Systems
  • Analysis
  • Statistics
  • Corporate Skills
  • Corporate Strategy
  • Creativity & Innovation
  • Design
  • Consulting

The reading list is at the same time exciting as it is daunting, particularly with some of my other reading goals that I’ve already got on tap (and which I’d like to write on later). At least for the time being, I would like to get through one PMBA book in a month. This will be bolstered by my other reading, and another book I’ll spin up on my car stereo over my daily commutes. It’s not high academia rigor I’m putting on my plate, but as Leo Babauta mentions in an entire chapter of the PMBA recommended The Power of Less: “Start Small” and you’ll be setting yourself firm footing for true habit formation.

Please speak up for any tips that could help me, particularly from the students who already have overcome their deluge of reading.

photo credit- “Bookshelf” by heipei

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Overlook

Who doesn’t love a sense of adventure?  Branching westward, the early citizens of the new United States tested themselves against harsh terrain, limited infrastructure, and a life without the safeties of political and societal institutions.

Present day, I look out at my idea of a frontier wilderness… Can I go through the rigors and learning activities brought on by attending an MBA program, only without actually attending one? Will personal laziness, be the pack of wolves who eats my trusty mule? Will a lack of clear ending credentials weigh on me like the carrying of six spare wagon yokes that were never needed? Will a lack of curriculum be as emotionally wrenching as the stereotypical dysentery contracted by my pioneer sibling? For all the reasons not to set off on such a perilous journey, there stands the reasons that I hope will keep me going.

Here are the 7 motivations for my self-study MBA project. Let me know what I’ve overlooked, oh fine interwebs mentors!

  1. The subjects studied as part of an MBA are true interests of mine and I would have been reading/doing these things anyway. Think of the blogging as a way of sharing them with others, and having a place for reminding myself what I’ve accomplished.
  2. I’d like to be in a confident position to start my own business one day. How many people go to business school with the predetermination they would be using the education to start their own business anyway? When the on-campus recruitment is valued less significantly, and truly takes a back seat to the education, the thinking by many is that self-teaching can be just as beneficial.
  3. This project is nearly free, especially in comparison to the costs of tuition and on-the-job opportunity costs foregone by attending a full-time MBA program.
  4. Maybe a self-study MBA won’t be as difficult as it could be. There is more material available than ever before to those who want to pick up learning MBA topics. There is an established movement and accompanying reading list for MBA self-study that goes by the name of the Personal MBA. Through that outlet and others, there is also great potential for a community of people, both virtual and in-the-flesh, to give help and encouragement.
  5. The blog, itself, acts as a credential for others to get a view into my efforts. Even though there is no degree at the end of this project, this web presence will hopefully serve at least a fraction of what a transcript could hold.
  6. MBA Frontier gives me the excuse to write. Writing is something that I’ve enjoyed in the past, but also something that I always need work on.
  7. Lastly, a chance to try out all the great tools and Web 2.0 concepts, besides just sharing with the world wide web what I ate for lunch! Tweet me back!

Until the next canyon break.

–photo “mt walker overlook”. by goodmami

With prices of higher education escalating to previously unforeseen heights, the decision of undergraduate concentrations and graduate degree enrollment has become more critical than ever.  Job availability  in the U.S., especially to recent graduates is dismal.

Are there alternatives available to traditional colleges and universities that will still lead to professional success?  For those already enrolled in a degree program, what are ways the most value of that degree can be realized?  For recent graduates, those of the Millenium/Generation-Y age, there may be more questions than answers at this point in time.  Emerging changes should be viewed unavoidable, driven by the rising costs, changing demographic and political landscapes, and continual advances in technology.

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