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An MBA In Less Than 400 Pages?

Everything you need to know to be a Master of Business Arts

Today the excellent Poets & Quants published an excellent interview with me about The Curriculum, its intent and purpose, the majesty of its architecture, and some of its salient points. The interview may be found here (http://bit.ly/1nkKiwB). Here's the way this obviously sophisticated, witty and insightful digital journal introduced the feature, which also includes a well-chosen selection of charts and graphs supported, of course, by research from The National Association for Serious Studies. 

"Can you really pack a two-year, $250,000-curriculum in a single book?" they begin. "Author and longtime Fortune columnist Stanley Bing sets out to do exactly that in “The Curriculum: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master of Business Arts.” They continue: 

If the concept strikes you as preposterous, a peek inside will do little to dispel these doubts. From the accreditation body, the National Association for Serious Study (“dedicated to a number of serious studies”),  to a core curriculum that includes “Not Appearing Stupid” and “Crazy People,” the book offers a satirical take on an overly staid subject. Think Stephen Colbert meets B-school – with infographics.    

The humor, though pointed, is not what’s surprising. Rather, it’s the truth behind Bing’s bold, irreverent approach. Just as “The Office” and “Dilbert” magnify the absurdities of the 9-to-5 grind, so too Bing uses humor to poke holes in accepted business pedagogy. The glossary, for instance, defines marketing as the “art of creating demand for a product or service nobody knows they need,” while mergers are compared with insect marriage: “one spouse, and all its bodily parts, will be eaten as soon as intercourse is done.”

For all its flippancy, the book has valuable lessons: write short emails, don’t sound stupid, learn how to bullshit effectively, be respectful but not servile, and ditch the Bluetooth. The book is particularly useful for lessons you can’t get in a classroom: Few B-schools will tell you, on record anyway, that you’re likely to get docked a few points for sporting a hipster ponytail or that sipping a happy-hour Sprite instead of scotch could result in subtle shunning.  Academic institutions fail to explain that your boss could very will be a raging psychopath, or that your coworkers will display at least one type of crazy – much less how to deal with them.

Without the strictures of academia, Bing throws political correctness to the wind and offers his readers a crash course on business boiled down to what it really is: interactions between humans for money and all the complications that invites. While the book is not likely to replace an MBA, it’s certainly a solid guide for navigating the nuances of business.

In a wide-ranging interview with Poets&Quants, Bing lays out his motivations for the book, where B-schools are missing the mark, and his top advice for business students.  

 

Buy the book  The Curriculum: Everything You Need To Know To Be A Master of Business Arts.

 

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