Sunday, February 15, 2015

My MBA Journey: Studying Business Strategy

I'm currently doing my second module, Managing Business Strategy, and boy, this is one subject that really puts me into an intense reading (and questioning) mode. I'm loving this subject. Why is that? Because I discovered that while I have read some of the works by—for example—Michael E. Porter and Ram Charan, the systematic approach to actually studying the subject is a different matter altogether!

I'm in the midst of writing my assignment paper which will be due for submission by next weekend. While doing so, I'd like to jot down what I did (my BEST PRACTICES) and I believe I could recycle them over and over again for the remaining five modules.

  1. Read, re-read, and highlight important parts of the assignment question.
  2. Browse my personal library and pick out relevant books.
  3. Buy additional books, if necessary.
  4. As I go along in the writing, I pick out books from the e-Library. Other resources include online articles.
  5. Mark pages of the books with sticky notes on relevant sections. As a prelim prep to writing, I scan the contents, index, and summary of these sections.
  6. Sometimes I will find additional materials through books that may not be directly relevant to the topic, but they could lead me to useful materials. An example is my Lominger book, For Your Improvement (FYI), that gives me additional ideas and resources on suggested readings. 
  7. Check out websites.
  8. Watch videos.

For this module on strategy, my go-to WEBSITES are (there are of course many others to choose from but these are my personal favorites):

  1. Harvard Business Review
  2. Sloan Review
  3. A.T. Kearney (I worked here more than 10 years ago)
  4. McKinsey (I had the pleasure of working with them when I was attached to the Corporate Planning division in one of Malaysia's largest general insurance companies)

OTHER RESOURCES I tap into include:

  1. Consulting Google
  2. Watching videos (Bloomberg Business is pretty cool)
  3. Annual reports (this is quite handy for the strategy module)

This is a snapshot of the video I watched on Bloomberg Business: Spring Air Plans to Double Fleet to 100 Over 3-4 Years

I'd like to also READ BOOKS by these strategy gurus (in addition to Michael E. Porter and Ram Charan):

  1. C. K. Prahalad
  2. Gary Hamel
  3. Fred Wiersema
  4. Vijay Govindarajan

Very often I find that the more I read the more ideas I get, and my brain will go into hyper mode. It's all really very, very exciting! Hey, there's no way I'm going to stop learning more about strategy when I'm done with the module. There will be lots of follow-up readings. I'm contemplating a Zinio e-magazine subscription to Bloomberg Businessweek.

I hope you will share your best practices, too. Now, off I go and back to writing my assignment... :-)

On a lighter note, here's a snapshot of what I have in my Zinio. There are Italian, Spanish, French (not in the picture), and of course English mags of all sorts of topics in My Library. It's a really fun, clutter-free, and super cheap way to read. Zinio's awesome! [Read also my post on Zinio about reading foreign magazines to learn a language.]