Don’t Pay for Your MBA: A book review by Bob Morris

Don’t Pay for Your MBA: The Faster, Cheaper, Better Way to Get the Business Education You Need
Laurie Packard
AMACOM (October 2017)

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Alvin Toffler

Obviously, buying and reading a 190-page book is a faster and cheaper — but can hardly be a “better” — way than earning an M.B.A. degree at an accredited college or university to get the business education many people need. At least for now, ignore this book’s subtitle and focus on achieving two separate but related objectives: determining what your specific education needs are, and, absorbing and digesting the material that Laurie Packard provides in this volume to help fill those needs. I highly recommend highlighting key passages. She can help you achieve both objectives but do not rule out the possibility of obtaining an M.B.A. following the conventional process. Also, I want to stress the great importance of identifying unknown unknowns: what you think you know but really don’t.

Granted, not everyone can afford the cost of completing a traditional two-year MBA program in the United States. On average, that would be at least $150,000 and if it is at a highly ranked university such as Harvard or Stanford, the cost would be at least $220.000. It is also true that everyone should complete a traditional program even if cost were not a factor.

Sydney Harris once observed, “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”

My own opinion is that education can be both a series of mirrors and a series of windows. Over time, we complete formal education and continue on with informal education. Meanwhile, learning occurs both at conscious and subconscious levels.

This is probably what Pickard had in mind when she began to create what became a book, Don’t Pay for Your MBA. As she explains, “This book distills everything I have learned taking apart to old-school approach to business education and putting it back together in a way that can empower you to get ahead in whatever business career you’ve chosen or will choose in the future.”

More specifically, she focuses on these learning objectives for her reader:

o Self-diagnosis of needs
o MOOC (massive open online courses) orientation
o Fluency in the language of business
o Career path formulation
o Networking to have an infrastructure of support (and also support others)
o Establishing credibility as a prospective employment candidate
o Leveraging the knowledge and skills acquired
o Strategies for lifelong learning

All formal education programs have a structure and framework within which to organize and present course material. The program Pickard helps her reader to create a customized structure and framework within which they can organize the material they study. She offers five appendices:

A: Recommended Courses by Subject
B: Sample Study Plans
C: Sample Course Lists for Various MBA Concentrations
D: For Further Reading
E: Resources at


Guy Kawasaki’s Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition ($10.55)

Jeremy Hope and Steve Player’s Beyond Performance Management: Why, When, and How to Use 40 Tools and Best Practices for Superior Business Performance ($20.08)

Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change ($11.47)\

Morten Hansen’s Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More ($19.49).

The total cost of these five volumes is only $75.69 and over time, together, they could provide a basic but sufficient education that most people need to succeed in business. If that is your vision, it is indeed a worthy one but keep in mind what Thomas Edison observed long ago: “Vision without execution is hallucination.”


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  1. If not MBA – TechAdmix on January 30, 2018 at 8:57 pm

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