5 Inspiring Summer Reads for MBA Students

  • MBA students shouldn't turn their brains off over the summer. There are plenty of business-focused books to keep their brains flowing.
    MBA students shouldn't turn their brains off over the summer. There are plenty of business-focused books to keep their brains flowing.

    5 Inspiring Summer Reads for MBA Students

    Professional development isn’t just something executives strive to achieve. As a Master of Business Administration student or prospective MBA candidate, it’s important to build your skills in leadership, business operations and other areas of the industry to become a qualified businessperson and exceptional thought leader.

    Maybe your course load is starting to slow down over the summer, or perhaps your master’s program doesn’t offer summer courses. No matter your situation, it’s important to keep your brain flowing, even during breaks. Whether your summer plans are to hit the beach or work an internship at a local business, you should add some reading time to your schedule. Here are some of the best business-focused books you can peruse by the pool or on your lunch break:

    1. “Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose” by Jean Case

    Case is a noteworthy American businesswoman, as the CEO of the Case Foundation and Chairman of the Board of National Geographic. Needless to say, she’s a credible voice in the sector and an admirable role model for female business students who’d like to create an impact of a similar scope.

    In her first book, Case cites examples of innovations throughout history, including the accomplishments of Henry Ford, Jeff Bezos, Jane Goodall, Bryan Stevenson and plenty of others. One of the best ways to accomplish greatness is to look to those who have already earned it, after all. Ultimately, she inspires readers to achieve their full potential by breaking down success into five components:

    • Make a big bet
    • Take risks
    • Don’t shy away from failure
    • Go outside your comfort zone
    • Let urgency trump fear

    2. “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants” by Malcolm Gladwell

    If you haven’t read one of Malcolm Gladwell’s insightful works of nonfiction, you are seriously missing out. While “The Tipping Point” and “Outliers” are classics you should also consider picking up, none of his books empowers young business professionals quite as much as David and Goliath. Gladwell draws on narratives involving dyslexia, basketball, the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama and — of course — the biblical story of David and Goliath to show how underdogs are able to achieve success over their giant counterparts. It’s the perfect read for students and young professionals who want to make a difference in their businesses despite how “small” they are.

    3. “Firefighting: The Financial Crisis and Its Lessons” by Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner and Henry Paulson

    It’s been just over a decade since the financial crisis made its impact on several areas of the U.S. economy. You can learn all about the causes of the crisis — beyond what we already know — and what lessons the U.S. took from the crisis to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. Bernanke, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Paulson and Geithner, former secretaries of the Treasury, speak candidly about their own experiences in mitigating damages over the course of several years and two presidencies.

    4. “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

    This is considered to be the bread-and-butter of books for business students. Ries, a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur, teaches readers the basics of developing a new business based on a model of intensive testing and experimenting. His approach requires business leaders to take an extremely systematic approach, measuring progress consistently and adjusting the plan to respond to all sorts of outcomes. Ries’ perfectionist approach makes it one of the most groundbreaking, helpful texts for aspiring executives and entrepreneurs.

    5. “The Making of a Manager” by Julie Zhuo

    As the vice president of product design at Facebook, Julie Zhuo has made quite a dent in the business and technology sector. However, she wasn’t born with the skills to manage a large team of designers and engineers. This book chronicles Zhuo’s experience as a first-time manager at the age of 25, breaking down the triumphs and pitfalls she experienced in her early career as a business leader. Not only is this work valuable for new managers and mid-level employees, it can be helpful to current business students who are striving to build their leadership and teamwork skills. Reading Zhuo’s work can help you differentiate a mediocre manager from a great one, which is crucial insight for someone who dreams of working toward a leadership position.

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