Getting an MBA at Harvard will currently cost you two years of your life and a little over $150,000. That's a little rich for a lot of folks.
But thankfully, while there's no way to replicate the connections you'd get from actually attending, there are plenty of workarounds to help you learn a bunch of the wisdom that comes with a top-tier MBA at a tiny fraction of the cost.
Alumni have written up their top takeaways from the experience, free online options are available, or you could shell out a much smaller amount for an online program that ends in a credential. Finally, thanks to the HubSpot blog there's now one more option -- just pick up the same books that Harvard MBA students are required to read.
In a useful post, writer Lauren Hintz lists some of the most fascinating books she found in Harvard MBA syllabi so you can nourish your brain with the same material as some of the nation's brightest business students. Here's a small sampling:
1. True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership
Who better to ask what it really takes to steer an organization than 125 of the world's top leaders? In True North, former Medtronic CEO Bill George mines the best leadership minds and boils down their wisdom into five steps to authentic leadership.
2. The Money of Invention: How Venture Capital Creates New Wealth
"This practical guide is written by two industry experts (Paul A. Gompers and Josh Lerner) about the problems entrepreneurs encounter when securing financing, and how the venture capital model can help businesspeople to resolve those issues," explains Hintz.
3. Many Unhappy Returns: One Man's Quest to Turn Around the Most Unpopular Organization In America
Talk about difficult jobs! This book chronicles the efforts of newly installed IRS commissioner Charles O. Rossotti to turn around the public's perceptions and performance of his much loathed agency. If it was possible to pull that off, there's no such thing as a hopeless cause.
4. Unleashing Innovation: How Whirlpool Transformed an Industry
Another dispatch from an unlikely organizational turnaround. In Unleashing Innovation, author Whirlpool VP Nancy Tennant Snyder explains how the company managed to improve margins, expand internationally, and become more innovative.
5. Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less
Stanford's Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao distilled 10 years of research into how organizations can scale successfully to write this bestseller, which Hintz notes is packed with interesting case studies.
You can get the rest of the reading list here.
MBAs, what's the single most valuable book you read at business school? Why?