Below are several books you may want to read before the start of your business school classes. You will find recommendations and reviews from both our consultants and past clients for the books we believe you will need to get the most out of your MBA experience.
A Note on Interviewing Books
Recruiting will be a major part of your business school experience, perhaps even more so than you would like. Nonetheless, you may want to strengthen these skills if you think you may otherwise be at even a slight disadvantage to many of your peers. You certainly do not want to wait until after the first wave of prestigious recruiters have come through your campus with summer internships to realize your interviewing skills are lagging.
Knock ’em Dead Collection: Knock ’em Job Search, Cover Letters and Resumes by Martin Yate
This comprehensive set of books can probably teach anyone at least a few new tricks no matter how much experience he or she has in the job search process. The following topics have been particularly appreciated by our alumni clients: getting started, getting interviews, following up, and preparing for layoffs and downsizing.
60 Seconds and You’re Hired!: Revised Edition by Robin Ryan
This relatively quick read provides great insights into not just the initial impression emphasized in its title, but also salary negotiation, questions you should ask and pitfalls to watch out for. Several years after first recommending this book, we still receive positive feedback from clients and website visitors who purchase it on our recommendation!
Mastering the Job Interview by Lavie Margolin
Many of our readers already understand the importance of technique for swinging a bat or kicking a soccer ball. This book will teach you the job interview techniques. It will take some work of course, but as you better understand what questions you are being asked and why, you will gain genuine confidence in your ability to succinctly answer those questions and even negotiate a better starting salary for yourself.
When Can You Start? by Paul Freiberger
If you are looking for high-level job search advice in an easy read format book, then this is your guide. Some of the advice may seem elementary, but chances are that someone out there never knew that (eg women don’t wear too much makeup) or the reminder was timely.
A Note on Textbooks
We are frequently asked by our clients as to what textbooks we believe they will need to review in between the time they are accepted and they matriculate into their business schools. Our general philosophy is that if you are able to get accepted, then you are smart enough to handle the work. Only those bound for Harvard Business School or another such very case-intensive school should consider reviewing an elementary book on accounting as we do not believe the case method is the optimal method to teach this material. However, if you really have a lot of nervous energy to burn, you may want to consider reviewing a basic book on accounting or economics. Finally, if your statistics skills are rusty, you may want to seriously consider brushing up on this subset of your quantitative skills as you will encounter the need for it in many of your business school classes.
Barron’s Business Statistics by Douglas Downey and Jeffrey Clark
When clients ask us how they should prepare for their MBA enrollments, quite frequently they are most concerned about the quantitative workload of the programs and they fear their quant skills have diminished since they were undergrads. Depending on the client’s background, we sometimes recommend an introductory statistics book. Based on our own review, as well as feedback from some of these same clients, we believe this is an excellent book for basic business statistics.
The Cartoon Guide to Statistics by Larry Gonick and Woollcott Smith
If you would like to study up on statistics before returning to b-school, but are more of a fan of the “for Dummies” type books, then you should definitely consider this popular guide. The authors’ clever use of cartoons helps keep the material from becoming overwhelming. This book covers some fairly complex statistical concepts as well as we have seen done, which probably explains why this 25-year-old book is still extremely popular!
Accounting Made Simple: Accounting Explained in 100 Pages or Less by Mike Piper
This book lives up to its title. Most people should be able to read and digest this book’s material within 4 to 5 hours and feel much better prepared for their introductory accounting class.
Microeconomics Demystified by Melanie Fox and Eric Dodge
You will learn a lot of game theory and other concepts in your microeconomics course. As a result, we do not recommend that you readily opt out of this important class. This book will not replace the material you will cover in business school, but it will provide a good background if you are not comfortable with your economics background and help give you a “leg up” in your first-year studies.
Books on Microsoft Office
If you are not yet familiar with Word, Excel, or Powerpoint, you would be well advised to spend some time prior to your matriculation to your MBA program becoming familiar with these software products. You can expect to write many papers, produce many spreadsheet models, and make many Powerpoint presentations in graduate business school.
While there are many books on the market that cover these products, we prefer the “For Dummies” books. Please do not be turned off by the name of this series of books. These books assume you know nothing about the software, explain terms and concepts in a very easy-to-follow format, and present many good tips that many so called “experts” may not be familiar with.
Word 2019 for Dummies by Dan Gookin
Excel 2019 All-in-One for Dummies by Greg Harvey
PowerPoint 2019 For Dummies by Doug Lowe
Office 2019 All-in-One For Dummies by Peter Weverka
If you want to brush up on more than one area of Office, this is the choice for you. A total of ten minibooks cover Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, Publisher, Charts and Graphs, OneNote, and ways to expand Office productivity. This can make a handy reference tool in b-school!