Movies That Every MBA Should Watch
Summer reading lists are popular amongst MBAs. But books aren’t the only medium to learn a thing or two about business. In a recent post for Business Insider, Vikas Jha, a digital entrepreneur and founder of Alore Growth OS, listed his top movies that teach valuable business lessons—a list that he calls “The Hollywood MBA.”
This is, of course, a fun topic that has been addressed by Poets&Quants over the years. We’ve asked business school professors to recommend their favorites (see Profs Name Favorite Movies For MBAs); we’ve asked students (see 12 Favorite Business Movies Of MBAs), and we’ve done the Ten Movies Every MBA Student Must Watch, the definitive article on this subject that has amassed nearly one million views. By the way, Wall Street, The Insider, and Tucker: A Man & His Dream topped that list.
THE BIG SHORT (2015)
The Big Short is a biographical film based on the 2010 book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis, which details how the 2008 U.S. recession was largely triggered by the housing bubble. The film, Jha says, is a must-watch for entrepreneurs and offers lessons on risk management in the stock market.
“The movie really brings into focus the harm that can be done when leverage is held by large financial institutions in the derivatives and CDOs market,” Jha says. “Investors need to pay attention to risk management if they want to protect themselves.”
A documentary film Startup.com follows the journey of a dot-com startup, govWorks Inc., which raised $60 million in funding—but ultimately failed.
“This one is worth seeing, especially if you’re a techie, or someone who’s interested in understanding the internet bubble,” Jha says. “This movie shows the effect money, greed and power can have on relationships. Friends are not always the best business partners.”
THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010)
The Social Network tells the founding story of Facebook—portraying a college-aged Mark Zuckerberg who gets sued by twins who claim he stole their idea. The takeaway from The Social Network, Jha says, is that it doesn’t matter who comes up with an idea, but rather who brings it to life.
“Facebook happened because Mark Zuckerberg had the will, the confidence, the vision, and the discipline to make it happen,” Jha says. “While it is known that no original idea exists, the real job is to get busy making it a reality.”
THE HOLLYWOOD MBA: TOP 18 MOVIES
The Big Short (2015)
The Social Network (2010)
Becoming Warren Buffett (2017)
Wall Street (1987)
Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
Office Space (1999)
Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (2009)
Catch Me if You Can (2002)
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Jerry Maguire (1996)
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Next Page: Touring Business Schools: Questions to Ask
Notre Dame conducting a tour. The Golden Dome, or Main Building, is perhaps Notre Dame’s most iconic landmark on the University’s 1,200-acre campus in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Peter Ringenberg Photography)
Touring a B-school? These are Questions You Should Ask
There really isn’t a better way to learn about what a B-school can offer than to visit.
“Campus visits are an important part of the business school application process,” Francesca Di Meglio, of Top MBA, says. “Seeing a school firsthand can help applicants better understand the culture, learn about courses, meet professors, and see what their life might be like if they enroll there. As a result, they may have an easier time deciding where to go to school.”
But how can you make the most of your B-school visit? Ilana Kowarski, a reporter at US News, recently highlighted the top questions that every applicant should ask on an MBA campus tour.
“WHAT SURPRISED YOU MOST ABOUT BUSINESS SCHOOL?”
This question is intended to be asked to current students. The answers you receive can tell you how a B-schools aligns with your expectations.
“It also can pinpoint areas where the business school’s sales pitch is inconsistent with the student experience and areas where the school could use improvement,” Kowarski writes.
“DO YOU THINK I AM A GOOD FIT?”
Applicants should ask this question to admissions officers. While the question may seem loaded, experts say it can open the door to honest feedback on your candidacy.
“In a way, they’re almost interviewing us as much as we’re interviewing them, because fit is paramount, and obviously the financial aspect of the transaction matters a lot, too,” Andy Glockner, executive director of communications, marketing and graduate admissions at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business, tells US News.
“WHAT KINDS OF FINANCIAL AID AM I ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE AT YOUR BUSINESS SCHOOL?”
This question, aimed at financial aid officers, is particularly important in helping you put together a realistic list of schools to apply to. The lesson: discuss money before it becomes a real issue, experts say.
“You may end up going to a school that wasn’t your first, second or third choice, because you can’t say no to money,” Joseph Vijay Ingam, head admissions consultant at Interview SOS, a California-based college and graduate school admissions consulting company, tells US News.
See more questions here.
Next Page: Top Reasons To Pursue An MBA
Olin MBAs kick back after class
Olin Business School Administrator Highlights Top Reasons to Pursue an MBA
An MBA from a top business school provides a lifetime median pay of more than $8 million. For most people, that’s enough to tell you that an MBA is a pretty good investment. Beyond pay, however, an MBA can offer value in many other ways.
Andrew Knight, a professor of organizational behavior and vice dean for education and globalization at Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School, recently sat down with Fortune to discuss the top considerations prospective MBA students should make, and what he thinks is next for the MBA.
3 SCENARIOS WHERE AN MBA MAKES SENSE
There are many reasons why an MBA is a solid investment. But Knight highlights three clear scenarios where pursuing an MBA makes the most sense.
The first scenario relates to those who are passionate about a particular area of expertise or industry and are looking to take that passion a step further.
“They are very much interested in advancing and accelerating their careers—or deepening their skill set, whether that’s in the soft side of things like leadership and building teams, or on the harder side and some deeper technical and more functional skill sets,” Knight tells Fortune.
Additionally, an MBA can also be a sound investment if you’re looking to make a career switch.
“Right now, especially, there are lots of people who are actively pivoting in their lives and in their careers, as they’ve gone through the disruption of COVID,” Knight says. “In partnership with the Great Resignation, we’re seeing people go through that thought process. The MBA can be a very helpful degree—a wise return to engaging in structured and systematic reflection for formulating next steps.”
Lastly, Knight says, people who are naturally curious may be the perfect fit for an MBA.
“They identify places where they have some gaps and they’re looking for a really high-quality and often high-touch educational experience for helping them learn about things that they’re curious about and want to explore,” Knight tells Fortune.
CONSIDER IN-PERSON VS. ONLINE PROGRAMS
One of the most important considerations that prospective students should make, Knight says, is to weigh the benefits of in-person versus online program options.
“This is such an important question in an era where there are more options than ever for engaging in an MBA program,” Knight says. “Those are the traditional full-time model; the part-time model; the flex model, and there’s a fully online degree. Then we have the executive-level degrees. But also increasingly, people are hungry for some kind of flexibility introduced by virtual learning.”
Knight says there isn’t a right or wrong answer. Rather, applicants should ask themselves which option makes the most sense for their needs.
“Ask yourself: What is it that I’m hoping to to realize?” Knight says. “What value am I seeking with this investment of my time? What are my financial resources? My energy? My motivation? Are you looking for a love of learning? Are you looking primarily for career advancement in a known space, or are you looking for a bit more of a career pivot? Sometimes aspects of the program will benefit you in different ways for each of those.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE MBA?
Collaboration has always been at the forefront when it comes to in-demand skills for MBAs. And, Knight says, the skill is still very much important today.
“As we specialize and we have a differentiation of expertise, we’ve got to have people who are skilled at bringing things together,” he tells Fortune. “That same classic cluster of skills and expertise that’s always been the bread and butter of an MBA program—leadership, collaboration, teamwork, motivation—that will always be a steady core.”
In addition to collaboration, Knight highlights the importance of technical expertise for MBAs.
“We need people who are really at the cutting edge of new technology, who are able to make decisions about what to use and implement and what not to use and implement—and be able to actually lead organizations to live at the frontier,” Knight says.