Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Snapshots from hell

Initially reviewed here

One of the nice(st) books on the B-school experience, that I have read recently.

We all agree that an MBA is a tough grueling experience that places huge demands on the individuals embarking on the challenge. Snapshots from Hell is one such book which answers “What is life at a B-school like”? This book authored by Peter Robinson, who was a speech writer at White House, describes his first year’s experiences at one of the country’s elite business schools, Stanford GSB. Poets, in a B-school lingo, are those few people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds – English majors or track-jumping corporate types, as in the case of the author. In a B-school the poets compete against Chartered accountants, Investment bankers and consultants who are already familiar with discounted cash flows, stocks, options and other quantifiable cryptics. Overfed with jargon and number crunching, Robinson always felt under prepared, uninspired and inundated while tackling the compulsory core subjects. He struggled to understand the supply-and-demand curves, decision trees and influence diagrams and also discovered his classmates' appalling unawareness of economic philosophy- be it Adam Smith or Karl Marx.A very well written book, which captures the essence of an MBA very brilliantly, with humor and reality in all aspects described. Every B-school student will be able to relate to – random “cold calls” by professors in class, impossible exams, competition, and camaraderie. I highly recommend this book to every MBA student – current or prospective! It is a very quick and light read, covers both personal and professional experiences of the author at Stanford that are compelling enough to interest and entertain the readers.

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