• What I Didn’t Learn in Business School: How Strategy Works in the Real World Audiobook
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Meet Justin Campbell. He's a new MBA graduate who's landed a job with a strategy consultancy. His engagement team is on a mission: help HGS Inc., a specialty chemicals firm, define and execute a strategy for exploiting a textile technology the company developed.

Justin and his team deploy state-of-the-art strategy tools to analyze the attractiveness of potential markets for the technology. But they soon realize the tools don't help them grapple with the human side of strategy–including political forces swirling within HGS. Everyone involved in the engagement is biased and insecure, brilliant and hardworking, selfish and lazy, loyal and dedicated.

Justin and his cohorts aren't "real"–What I Didn't Learn in Business School is a business novel. But they're realistic: they're just like us. Their story reveals the limitations of strategy tools and demonstrates tactics for navigating the messy, human dynamics that can make or break a company's strategy efforts.

This engaging book uses the power of story to present potent lessons for anyone seeking to excel at strategy management. It's a compelling read–whether you're an MBA grad struggling to apply what you learned or in the fray and eager to see what MBAs get wrong when they land in the real world.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 9.1.2010 edition (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422157636
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422157633
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds

Customer Reviews

Realistic depiction of life as a "newbie" consultant

 on December 7, 2013
By Nicole D.
This book was required reading for a strategic management class I took. I have to say, I was dreading another “textbook,” but this is definitely not a textbook. It was actually very enjoyable and easy to read. It walks through as “Justin,” a new MBA grad works through his first client engagement as part of a team of strategy consultants. Having worked as a consultant myself, the scenarios that Justin encountered brought back some fond (and some not so fond – ha!) memories of my early days in consulting. Though there were some parts that I felt were a bit of a stretch (such as one day when Justin just decides to work from his hotel all morning without telling anyone on his team where he would be), I feel that the authors generally did a great job of crafting a realistic scenario that captures a lot of the experiences that you don’t learn about in a textbook. Although this was required reading for me, I’d even recommend it for someone who hasn’t worked on a collaborative team in the past and is entering the consulting world for the first time.

Excellent Read

 on November 4, 2017
By DS4
This was a great read and provides some good ways to think about the MBA program I am in. Additionally, it pushed me to think about the pro’s and con’s to consulting as a career.

interesting take on explaining the ‘real world’ to MBA hopefuls

 on June 1, 2013
By Tyler, MBA
This books was required reading for an elective within my MBA program, and its honestly more informative than one might think. As a novel, it lacks the hard fact feel of many business oriented reads, but gives an authenticity and real feeling that those books just can’t.

VRIO Framework

 on January 24, 2011
By K. Newcomer
I happened to be clicking around and found this book while looking for some on strategy. I was not sure what is was about, but was immediately interested once I found out it was a business novel.

Great Novel of a MBA learning

 on May 16, 2016
By Mike S
Excellent Book, I think it applies very well the knowledge learn in a MBA in a novel.

Must Read for BSchoolers DURING BSchool

 on April 24, 2014
By Beau J Hammond
This book was part of my required reading for an advanced strategy class at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business, but did NOT read like typical assignments. Once you start reading this book you will be shocked at how many “Ah-ha” moments that you come across. It has really helped me out in my classroom work and provided a great view into what matters on an engagement.

Good insight into the use of strategy

 on February 23, 2013
By Spartacus
I’ve never worked in consulting but I’m assuming the account in the book is fairly accurate. It gave a great insight into how the frameworks we learn in class can be put to use in a real world situation. Also how the frameworks can be built upon and where they should be put aside. Overall it was quite informative and a really easy read. Would definitely recommend it.

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