The Personal MBA Book Summary

Book Review, Personal Development and Psychology


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the personal mbaEarlier this year, in June, I decided that I was interested in pursuing more education in business. I was considering going for an MBA, but with a Master’s in Financial Math already, my thoughts were that the return on investment would not be as profitable. While the place that I work would have covered some of the cost, they would not have covered all of it.

First, I looked up if people had found the MBA to be a decent investment if they went to a non-elite school (i.e. not an Ivy League school or schools thought of in that breathe.) I would  attend my alma mater, my local state college (they are not slacking by any means, having produced many executives and successful business people, but they aren’t in the top 10 business schools in the US). The results were mixed. People succeed in business with or without a MBA; it is dependent on the person (one of the reasons I set up this blog was to explore entrepreneurship.)

Education will make you a living, self-education will make you rich.

I ended up attending a lunch and learn event during June and decided that my decision would have to be delayed at least a year. With this being established I knew that the best plan of action would again go to Google and see what self-study materials I could find. Lo and behold, I came across “The Personal MBA” by Josh Kaufman. I was very excited to get my self-educated MBA studying going!

When Josh Kaufman, the author of the The Personal MBA, was in his undergrad years in college, he had secured a management position at Proctor and Gamble by his second year. This position was typically reserved for newly graduated MBA’s. He considered going to get an MBA, but declined, since the return on investment would not be great; he already had a job that usually required an MBA.

Instead, he set out to pursue self-education in business. By reading and studying over 100 books in finance, accounting, management, people skills, psychology, etc., he was able to gain a vast amount of knowledge. Then, after working a few years at Proctor and Gamble, Josh decided to write this book as an introduction and summary of what people should know and understand in and about business.

Summary of The Personal MBA

I was very impressed with the layout and content of The Personal MBA. I wish more books were written in this way. There are eleven chapters with subject matter in the usual MBA subjects: finance, sales, marketing, but the thing which impressed me was the content on the human brain, how businesses are successful, working with systems, and management (management of yourself and other people).

Each chapter is split up into many sections. Each section contains a concept that pertains to the chapter. For example, in the finance section, there is a section on the Cash Flow Statement. Each section dives into smaller ideas that make up the broader chapter. The sections are about a page long, but contain a lot of valuable information.

In addition, the thing that I found most interesting was that in the first chapter, called “Value Creation”, the first section goes into the basics of business.

Each and every business completes these 5 things:

Creates and delivers something of value, that other people want or need, at a price they’re willing to pay, in a way that satisfies the customer’s needs and expectations, so that the business brings in enough profit to make it worthwhile for the owners to continue operation.

It is that simple! Beforehand, if you had asked me to define a business, it would have been something silly like, “A business is some thing that makes money.”

Should you get an MBA?

Besides the content that the author provides, Josh goes into why a reader should bother with his book and why a prospective MBA candidate should consider going to school or not. I really enjoyed this part because it confirmed for me that going for an MBA would be a bad return on investment for me. I already have a Master’s and self-studying would be much more beneficial for me.

Also, having an MBA would not do much for my career in terms of moving up. In my current job, the company I work for values any type of graduate degree. The company realizes people who have graduate degrees, of any kind, are assets and have potential to grow. Given I am part of great team and have the potential to be promoted through successfully completing my daily activities at a high level, I believe that an MBA would be unnecessary. It is more how a person carries themselves at work, than the degrees and certifications that they have.

My Recommendation

To wrap up, I recommend this book for anyone who wants to start a business or go into management. I plan to read this book again in the future to solidify my understanding of how businesses work, how to work with others and myself, and how to think about various scenarios and situations at work.

the personal mba

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