What are the best MBA books to read for career growth, self-improvement or in preparation for business school? Angela Guido gets this question a lot, so this week she’ll be breaking down five of the best business books for you as you apply to your MBA. They might not be the most popular MBA books, but they’re among the most valuable books for your journey.
Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:
The question I get from a lot of my candidates is “How can I make myself MBA smarter? How can I use the time that I'm applying to immerse myself more in the mentality of the MBA and to actually become a more qualified candidate through my personal reading?”. Hi, I'm Angela Guido, the founder of Career Protocol, and this is MBA Monday.
Career Growth Books (and more!)
What is the MBA application reading list that I would recommend now? I don't have an MBA application reading list, but I took a moment to think about this question and come up with five books that I actually think will enrich your life while you're applying to business school and potentially even enhance your applications. So here they are in no particular order.
- Book number one: The McKinsey Mind. Even if you have no interest in management consulting, you don't plan to recruit for consulting and you never dreamed of yourself working for McKinsey. What's really great about this book is – here's the subtitle – “Understanding and Implementing the Problem-Solving Tools and Management Techniques of the World's Top Strategic Consulting Firm”. Whether you agree that McKinsey is the world's top strategic consulting firm or not, we can all agree that they have a pretty impressive track record of solving some very big business problems. And so I always think it's a good idea to learn how to think like a consultant. I have a whole MBA Monday video about whether or not you should do consulting. I even have a whole course about how to prepare for consulting case interviews. Even if you don't plan to go in consulting, checking out this book will rewire your brain just a little bit and help you think a little bit more like a management consultant, which will make you a little bit more like an MBA. So check that out. Heavy reading, very intellectual, but worthwhile.
- Book number two: The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell. I like to nerd out on storytelling in general, it’s just something I'm passionate about. Joseph Campbell talks about human nature in a very powerful and inspiring way. So if you read this book, it will likely put you in touch with some of the broader themes of your life that are relevant to your future career. It's also, I think, a really inspiring, cool book, so it'll keep you in the right mindset.
- The third book I recommend that you consider reading during your MBA journey is called Success Is For You by David R. Hawkins. The subtitle of this book is “Using Heart Centered Power Principles for Lasting Abundance and Fulfillment”. So one of his tips is instead of focusing on being successful, start by being kind. If you know anything about me, you'll know that this deeply resonates with my personal philosophy. But he also provides really actionable ways to think about making your own mark in this world and leaving your own legacy in a way that uplifts everyone around you. So if you're a service oriented leader, this book is going to help you achieve more in your career.
- The fourth book that I recommend that you eat is actually not a book at all. It's a magazine, and that is Harvard Business Review. This is a very old issue. Here's some more pretty old issues. It's been a while since I've had the hard copy. The Harvard Business Review is kind of a one stop shop for what's hot, what's interesting, what's challenging in the business world. It covers just about every function and every industry that's out there. And if you're able to read the Harvard Business Review, engage and follow the stories, you'll inherently be MBA-ifying your brain, and you'll also likely be able to stay on top of your industry and your field, which may be one of the questions that you get asked in your MBA interviews. How do you stay on top of business news or your industry or your background? And if you're reading Harvard Business Review, you'll have a good answer to that question.
- The fifth and final book that I recommend you read during your MBA applications is none other than Interview Hero, my book. I put it last because I had to turn around to grab it, but what I do in this book is I talk about how to find and tell your personal story. The essence of the book is focused on interviews. So it's all about live communication that gives you the chance to really show yourself in a short amount of time talking to someone. But the principles of storytelling are all embodied in this book as well. So what most of my readers have told me is that it really helped them shape their MBA essays, as well. It helped them write really humble but emotionally impactful stories about their life as they approached MBA essays. So that's the fifth book I recommend. I know that's a little self-serving, but it does have some positive feedback on Amazon, so hopefully you'll go read what people have said and check it out and see if it adds to your MBA journey.
Happy Reading, MBA Bookworms!
So that's it. Those are the five books that I think will enhance your MBA application journey. Four books and one magazine. There are, of course, loads of other resources that you could engage in. And if you're like most people, you don't have that much free time outside of work, GMAT and MBA essays. But if you want to just up level your game a tiny bit, any one of these five books can help you do that. Have fun on your MBA journey, I'll see you next #MBAMonday.
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