There was a time when MBA degrees were revered. Then came social media and start-ups. They declared MBAs irrelevant saying one can learn much more by working in a start-up. The MBAs fought back stating there is more to the degree and that a B-school is more than a placement agency or a networking club. This has been an ongoing battle.

In the book ‘ Freshly Minted: MBA Essentials for the First Time Manager’, the author Shreyas Harish gives a great ringside view of the MBA degree through a different lens.

It’s refreshing to finally read a book that is restoring the academic value of the degree, unlike most MBA books that read like a Bollywood film script. It is meant for those who truly want to learn what an MBA teaches, except not from a professor.

By doing this, Harish has done what no one has but should have — turned his notes into a lasting archive.

A student saviour

Each batch in college has that one person who is everyone’s saviour. They make great notes that everyone depends on. But that treasure is lost once the batch graduates. Harish’s work in this book is going to live through a few years, thanks to his effort to turn the precious notes into a book that everyone can read and learn from.

As a true young manager, Harish sets the context, lays out his plot, and writes a textbook, that is not a textbook. What stands out is also how the book is truly what I call a phygital experience. He recognises that the reader is digitally savvy and is very comfortable using QR codes and Reddit threads.

In using these digital enhancements, he has pushed the envelope of a modern book. It’s great for someone like me who doesn’t want to delve into the details of the setup and wants to just learn more about the plot.

For others, there is an online QR code experience, that adds a layer of realism to the reading experience. For instance, creating a Google maps location called “dungeon” that points to his dormitory room in IIM Ahmedabad is pure genius!

Simply explained

All this makes me wonder why it wasn’t done before in a book.

That’s where you must give credit to the IIT Madras and IIM Ahmedabad education, which allows you to push the envelope and innovate, even if it is just in a book. After all, it is a book, the ultimate tool to push the envelope on wisdom and knowledge sharing!

Many jargon-heavy concepts in finance, operations and strategy get simplified in plain speak, without diluting the essence of the concepts.

The simplicity is great but the devil always lies in the detail. But as an experienced entrepreneur now, what I really liked is that critical subjects such as HR and communication get their well-deserved attention in this book. In my near decade of work experience, these subjects have been far more useful than any of the typical topics in finance and strategy.

Overall, Harish has done an outstanding job of writing a textbook that’s not a textbook but still is a textbook for the modern MBA enthusiast. It is for someone who wants to pursue an MBA and wants to understand the academic rigour of it.

It is for someone who wants a refresher after having graduated from a B-school. But this is truly a treasure for someone who is currently pursuing an MBA. Or as they say on campus, the ultimate black book.

I only wish I could have had this while studying at IIM Ahmedabad.

(The writer is the co-founder of a modern Indian lifestyle brand named Zouk. He is also an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and IIT Madras)

Check out the book on Amazon.

‘Freshly Minted: MBA Essentials for the First Time Manager’ by Shreyas Harish
Publisher: White Falcon publishing.
Price: ₹249.
Pages: 446.
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