After teaching at some of India’s most respected Business schools for the past nine years I pondered over how students at the Post Graduate Level in management can prepare for classes at a B School.

What would be an ideal pre preparation between the time a student gets an acceptance letter from a School to the day classes start. I have over the years observed certain systematic deficiencies in our college Education which reduces the student’s ability to absorb the often complex and counter intuitive concepts Discussed in the MBA Class.

Students use a computer to socialize, send and receive emails and many of them are overwhelmed when required to submit online application or book tickets online. In short Internet use is limited to “fun” activities. Internet use for information gathering, data mining and research skills is the first area to prepare if you want to Excel at case analysis given by your professor. The trick is “Less is more”. Do not blindly download entire articles and submit it as assignments, it is plagiarism and any good school will “reward “your effort with an “F” grade. Being stupid is better than being a cheat. Use Internet for downloading data E.g.: The five year annual P&L, BS can be downloaded from, the analysis has to be yours. Some of the best sources for data are Mckinsey, HBR, Price Water House Coopers, BCG, Accenture, E&Y research reports. Their in-depth research and authoritative reports allow you to quickly grasp maximum information in minimum time on diverse topics.

The Second area students are very weak in is crunching numbers on a spreadsheet. Remember an MBA is a program Designed for people with a minimum of three to five years work experience. People with such experience usually have spent considerable time using spreadsheets and can participate in a case discussion by crunching vast volumes of number of a spreadsheet. Example: – In the undergrad level the teacher spends one hr preparing one year P&L and BS, at the MBA Level a 10 yr P&L B/S, Cash Flow and analysis are all squeezed into one hr, naturally the teacher will not use “Chalk and talk”, he will Crunch the number real time in front of the class using an excel spreadsheet, if you are not aware of spreadsheets then one Limb of MBA is closed to you, Finance. Now your options are to go for a Marketing Major or HR major and if your school offers the International Business or General Management. Excel for Dummies is a good book to teach yourself MS Excel.

As a student of MBA you will be required to work on projects in Teams, team is not a group of friends. A team is a diverse set of Individuals with mutually exclusive but collectively exhaustive skill set. You need all kinds of people in the team, Right brainers Left brainers, creative and calculative, cunning and calm. To know how to be a part of effective team and to manage a team a good Book is The McKinsey Mind: Understanding and Implementing the Problem-Solving Tools and Management Techniques of the World’s Top Strategic Consulting Firm By Ethan Rasiel , Ph.D., Paul N. Friga.


MBA’s need to have problem solving skills, structured thinking skills, Data analysis skills a very good book to acquire almost three years work like experience in these areas which consulting firms value is in addition to Mckinsey Mind is The McKinsey Way by Ethan Rasiel.

A good way to prepare for your life at a Good B School is to get a quick pre cursor on the subjects in the course curriculum. Here we would Recommend two books, the first is The 10-day MBA: A Step-by-step Guide to Mastering the Skills Taught in  Top Business Schools by Steven Silbiger.

The second book is What the Best MBAs Know. Published by Tata Mc Graw-Hill and edited by Peter Navarro This book has contributions from some of the top Professors from schools like Salon, Kellog, Wharton, Stanford among others. It is a very concentrated material in diverse areas like strategy to Organizational Behavior.

At the core of an MBA course like Strategy, from strategy flows Marketing, finance , Human Resources, Systems, International Business and all other subjects which tells you how to develop a enduring competitive advantage. A good place to learn the core or all MBA subject is Strategy Create and Implement the Best Strategy for your Business Published by Harvard Business Essentials. We must warn you that this material is a very concentrated discussion on Strategy and for those who have read 10 Day MBA it is likely to be Smooth sailing.

The next book on our list is more like a companion for your MBA is The Portable MBA by Nitin Nohria Part I is an encyclopedia of major business topics covering accounting, finance, marketing, manufacturing, economics, international business, management, and strategy. Part II contains sources of information.  For those of who are Hindi film buffs In Kal ho na Ho the leading lady Priety Zinta who pursues an MBA in the movie carries this book around. Use it , will do wonder’s for you.

The next book we believe is only for the graduates from the Harvard Business School because only they have been taught at the school to understand What they Don’t Teach you at Harvard Business School. As for the rest of us we will do well to first learn what they teach at Harvard and then go on to this book. Written by Mark H. McCormack this is a timeless classic for managers.

The last book we recommend is a Wall Street Journal and New York Times Bestseller. On the cover is a comment by the legendary Warren Buffett who says “No other management book will ever be needed” and we can’t agree more. So without much further ado here is our top pick for the must read book for Aspiring managers, Managers and basically everyone who aspires to run a business “ Winning” by Jack Welch and Suzy Welch.

We hope that by using the three months window between receiving the acceptance letter and the start of classes wisely by reading these books you will be battle ready to face the barrage of knowledge and negotiate the mine filed called MBA. Welcome to the 2 BEST Worst years of your life the boot camp called Masters of Business Administration.

This article is presented by Prof. Kiran Bindu, Director – International Program at ISBR Business School sharing his wide experience of 15 years in the field of Management Training & Development.

He has been associated with many top business schools and had a deep study over the individual’s interest and features of various MBA Colleges across India having summarized in brief, for easy understanding of the reader to make a right decision while opting MBA in India.