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Books used in Top MBA Schools? (insead,lbs, ivy league)

columbia harvard insead stanford Wharton
New answer on Nov 20, 2020
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Oct 31, 2018

I'm trying to work me into consulting (no business background). Because of that every book (or list of books) which you worked with or read at your MBA would be a great help for me. Thak you very much!

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replied on Oct 31, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

We just had a similar thread, which would be relevant to you as well:

I am not convinced just getting the books & reading them will do much for you. It will be very long and painstaking at the very least. We learn best by trying to solve problems, not by learning a page of definitions. Cf. how children learn a language vs. how it is taught in high school for example.

I admire your project - but strongly recommend you read cases or business articles instead, and dive into any concept you don't undertstand yet. This should bring you up to speed much faster, and be more fun in the process. Good luck

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Anonymous updated the answer on Oct 31, 2018

While I agree with Guennael in principle, there are a few books I found really eye-opening because they unlocked an entirely new perspective on business for me, even after (at that point 5+ years in business and consulting and an Economics background).

Most notable on that list are

  • Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder
  • The Innovator's Dilemma by Klayton Christensen
  • Some of the work of Ben Thompson from (blog / newsletter). Just look for "Aggregation Theory"

A similarly eyeopening book, more in the economics / social sciences field, is

  • Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu

Cheers & good luck,



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Content Creator
replied on Nov 20, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


For prep I would not focus on that, but on consulting-prep materials.



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Anonymous replied on Nov 01, 2018

Hi there, not quite MBA books, but here are some tips to develop your business acumen/knowledge:

1) Read through case books - great way to develop business knowledge and understand the types of problems consulting firms work on. Two good ones:

  • ESADE - lots of great cases, and also an excellent up front section with some theory / frameworks. Written by BCG consultants
  • Sloan 2011 - also great selection of cases, find them to be among the most representative of real cases

2) Subscribe to Finimize: They will send you daily updates with recent business/finance news, and explain what is happening (and why) in Layman terms. It's an excellent way to both stay up to date with most recent events in a couple of minutes (e.g. on the commute to work) and also improve your business acumen.

3) Depending how deep you want to go, get a high-school / 1st year Uni microeconomics textbook: This will be less focused on the "business/management theories" (you can get one of these too) but I find that having a knowledge of micro-theory really helps in understanding the fundamentals of business, and lays a great foundation.

Hope this helps,


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Magnus on Nov 01, 2018

isn't stuff like accounting more important than economics for a business owner / manager?

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