With MBA programs being such a huge investment for the future, most students have a strong desire to extend their learning outside of business school by reading books focused around their MBA degree. This is true of MBA alumni, and even business school candidates who are starting out at the application stage, so that they can stand out during their MBA admissions process.
In TopMBA.com's final installment of book reviews from our guest panel of MBA degree experts, we have two more recommendations for past, present and future MBA students.
The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto
Professor Beatrix Dart, associate dean of executive MBA programs and executive director of the initiative for women in business at Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto explains why she believes Minto's book is a valuable addition to any MBA degree.
My recommendation would be The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto. This book provides very hands-on advice how to structur
e presentations and how to write impactful stories - two must-have skills for any student who wants to excel in a business program.
Students will find themselves in many situations during their MBA program where they will need to give a presentation or structure their assignments. Having great content but not being able to present it in a memorable and cohesive way will harm their ability to achieve top grades. With The Pyramid Principle they will learn how to logically and meaningfully structure their content, and pick up skills which will last them a life-time.
Giselle Weybrecht, London Business School MBA graduate, and author of The Sustainable MBA: the Manager's Guide to Green Business also thinks that Minto's book is a necessity for MBA students.
The ability to communicate complex ideas in writing is an important skill whether you are a student working on an assignment or a manager putting together a presentation or analysis.
The Pyramid Principle is designed to help the reader to become that high quality writer, regardless of what they are writing about and whether it is business related. It explains how grouping ideas into a logical structure in the form of a 'top-down' pyramid structure means they are easier to understand. A lot of the focus is on the thought process behind someone's writing, thinking critically about your ideas and using that to present stronger arguments.
Leading Change by John P Kotter
Weybrecht also feels that Kotter's Leading Change is an important resource for anyone looking into business theories, especially those who are embarking upon an MBA degree.
A text used in most managing change MBA courses, Leading Change by John P Kotter is a good overview of how to bring about changes, big or small. One of the key skills of any manager or leader is to be able to bring about the desired changes in their team or organization. This book provides a framework and lessons on how to go about doing this.
The book begins with an introduction to what change is, and the problems most commonly encountered in bringing about change. It then goes on to present an eight stage process to help guide you through the change process. This includes establishing a sense of urgency, forming powerful guiding coalitions that will lead the change efforts, the importance of creating a vision, communicating that vision and empowering others to act on the vision, planning for and creating short-term wins, consolidating improvements and finally institutionalizing new approaches.