5 Blogs Every MBA Student Should Be Reading

by cv harquail on September 8, 2009

Every MBA student is pressed for time. Balancing demanding priorities, like classes, learning teams, job hunting, and family, while also getting some sleep, leaves little time for cruising the web looking for insightful posts.

Lucky for you all, I can recommend 5 terrific blogs that can help you link what you’re learning in your MBA management classes with what’s happening in the real world.


I have a particular bias about what’s important for managers and leaders to pay attention to, after 10 years of teaching MBAs and twice that consulting in organizations. My bias is that finance precepts, operations formulas and pricing strategies are plentiful, easy to find and easy to put into practice. In contrast, wisdom about leadership, management and organizations is more rare, harder to find, and more difficult to put into practice.

What I’ve been discovering in the blogosphere are a number of writers – some academics, some consultants – who have a knack for raising important leadership and management questions, either by applying these questions to current business,organizational, and cultural events, or by examining the events themselves for insights. There are at least 2 dozen generalists, and probably another 2 dozen topical specialists, who raise important leadership & organizational issues day in and day out on their blogs. Here, I want to recommend five of these blogs to you.

Neither “top blogs” nor “the best” blogs, but terrific

These aren’t “the best” blogs or the “Top 5 Blogs”. Categories like “the best” feign objectivity and an established, concrete criterion, neither of which exists. Moreover, these categories are unnecessarily limiting– there are in fact a lot of “top” blogs that are “the best”.

There are some blogs, however, that stand apart because of the ways that their authors delve into leadership and management questions from distinctive and (dare I say) authentic standpoints, giving you a take on issues that is so unique you won’t find it anywhere else.

Let me recommend 5 blogs that are terrific enough that every MBA student should be reading them.

5 Blogs Every MBA Student Should be Reading


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Work Matters, by Bob Sutton

Bob’s blog is one of the most popular management blogs, and for good reason — Bob is one of those rare academics who is simultaneously killer smart, funny, self-effacing and kind, qualities that come out in his topic selections and his writing. His “No Asshole Rule” is the best known of his many books and research articles. While the “No Asshole Rule” is ostensibly the focus of the blog and the topic that draws readers initially, it’s Bob’s curiosity and relevance that gets readers to stay and participate.

Some posts to sample:
The Accuracy of First Impressions: An amazing old study about “thin slices” of behavior

When Layoffs are Immoral: Randy Cohen in The New York Times
Wal-Mart and Girl Scout Cookies: Thin Minty-gate


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Positive Organizational Behavior, by Bret L. Simmons

Bret is a lucid and lovely writer, a thoughtful teacher, and a dynamic citizen of the world. His blogging ranges widely across management and leadership topics, often following his teaching, and always imbued with that kind of uncommon common sense that makes even the most esoteric question matter. Bret’s posts combine insights from his personal leadership and management experience with the analytic rigor of his scholarly training. Take one part Air Force officer, one part McDonald’s Corporate Manager, a Phd and an sense of purpose and -viola – you’ve got Positive Organizational Behavior. Follow @drbret on Twitter.

Some posts to sample:
The Courage to Participate in Transformation as a Leader
The Stepford Organization
My Advice to New MBA Students


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Management Craft, by Lisa Haneberg

Word for word, no management blog is more useful on a daily basis than Management Craft by Lisa Haneberg. Lisa is both a professional writer and a management consultant; her skill at both is part (but absolutely not all) of what makes her usually short posts so powerful. What really sets Lisa’s work apart is her focus. Each post has a point, each question is provocative, each recommendation is useful. Follow @LisaHaneberg on Twitter.

Some posts to sample:
Topics Your Management Training Programs Should Address, But Likely Don’t
10 Ways to Manage Your Mistakes
10 Questions Every Leader Ought to be Asking


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Edge Economy, by Umair Haque

Umair is a writer with a strong vision and an even stronger moral and intellectual compass. He writes provocatively about the role of business in society, innovation, and radical management. His blog is hosted by Harvard Business School press, so it has the imprimatur of “The Establishment”. But make no mistake– Umair’s out to change business as we know it, for the better. Read Umair’s blog if you want to think right now about questions that will only occur to other managers months (or years) from now. Follow @umairh on Twitter.

Some posts to sample:
The Case for Constructive Capitalism
How to Build (and Use) Thick Power
What Would a Fair-Labor iPod Cost?


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AuthenticOrganizations, by CV Harquail

Reading Authentic Organizations will give you regular opportunities to think differently about leadership & organizational challenges.  Questions of authenticity — about how organizations can align identity, action and purpose — cut across so many facets of organizations that these questions are relevant to discussions about strategy, reputation, branding, marketing, HR, social responsibility, and of course leadership. We get to go beyond theoretical discussions to consider in real life how our collective and individual desire for authenticity can lead us to contribute to our organizations, our cultures and our society.  Follow me @cvharquail on Twitter.

Some posts to sample:
Wal-Mart Knocks Off the Girl Scouts
What’s your *personal* ROI as a Brandividual?
Organizational Identity, Employee Branding and Political Contributions: Should you care if The Body Shop leans Republican?

What blogs do you think MBA students should be reading?

I’d love to hear what blogs you think MBA students should be reading, and why you recommend these blogs, so that we can share your recommendations.
I’ll be recommending more blogs in future posts, so sign up for AuthenticOrganization’s RSS feed or email newsletter to stay up to date.

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{ 10 comments }

Sandy September 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Hi CV,

thanks for pointing out Umair Haque’s site… I hadn’t seen that one before.

I guess Bob Sutton must be on vacation? or teaching intensively? No blog posts from him recently.

The blog I’ve been enjoying recently that I think is suited for MBA readers is by Terri Griffith, at Santa Clara University. She writes about innovation, organizational learning, and how new technologies are opening up new possibilities for collaboration.

Hope all is well with you!
.-= Sandy´s last blog ..
sailing through organizational change =-.

cv September 8, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Sandy, Thanks for recommending Terri’s blog– I’ll be recommending Technology & Orgs in the followup post– 5 “Specialist” blogs that every MBA should be reading.

Maren September 8, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Great suggestions, thank you so much. I will add these to my list and check them regularly. Keep up the good work, and I hope the MBA students (and the MBAs) are paying attention!

Jack September 16, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Thanks for the list, very useful to me.
.-= Jack´s last blog ..Time to opt for a Visual CV =-.

sudhir September 22, 2009 at 2:22 pm

thanx sandy. it was awesome. that would really be very helpful to all future managers

Ryan Jones November 27, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Fully agree on Umair Haque’s Edge blog. If I’m only allowed to read 1 blog per week, this one would be it…not sure why he doesn’t have a book out yet, though…
.-= Ryan Jones´s last blog ..A New Marketing Thought Leader for Gen X / Gen Y =-.

lallymba February 4, 2010 at 11:35 am

we appreciate it

lisa haneberg February 6, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Thank you SO MUCH for including Management Craft on this great list. I am honored and humbled to be mentioned and am thankful for your endorsement of my blog. I have been writing Management Craft for five years, and I am sure the blogging process (and my readers!) have taught me much more than I have taught others. It is such a gift. I believe that management hard and is a craft and a privilege and enjoy sharing stories and suggestions that I learn about.

Ali R. Khan September 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Its a great list. I’m doing MBA from Pakistan and I spend most of my time learning New on Internet about Marketing. You really help me in finding what i was looking for

Thanks
Ali R. Khan

Anonymous October 9, 2010 at 3:12 am

Thanks for compiling this list. Th e major learning is the one from Mr. Simmons blog – Nine important points to take care in order to flurish in industry. Show acceptance and positive regard for others, Be polite and considerate, not arrogant and rude, Treat each employee as an individual. Remember important details about the person (like their name!), Be patient and helpful when giving instructions or explanations, Provide sympathy and support when the person is anxious or upset, Express confidence in the person when there is a difficult task. At the same time, we must know that each of the nine points asks for a high command of English and communicaiton skills – especially the ability of framing and de-framing. In a cross-cultural set of employees – like many languages – English is the only language one can depend upon. I think we must focus on our ability to converse and inspire. Our company and many other companies in Sanfancisco Bay Area use certain programs which are based on the principle of Cotent-Based Instruction. World’s no1 English program based on Content-based Instruction is Espoir Smart Communication through Management Ideas, Smart English through Technology & Science etc. I would like to tell all MBA aspirants that how much command you can achieve over English, please do that – otherwise, you will remain as a clerk – just like a store clerk!!

8. Provide assistance with the work when it is needed.

9. Be willing to help with personal problems.

Read more: http://www.bretlsimmons.com/2010-09/nine-supportive-leadership-behaviors/#ixzz11qInilcJ

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