In early 2005, after finishing my master's degree in Public Administration, I was contemplating on getting yet another degree - MBA. I was already well into the motions of researching and planning as to where best to enroll when I chanced upon an online Personal MBA program (PMBA)
What is the Personal MBA?
"You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for a buck fifty in late charges at the public library." - Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon), Good Will Hunting
The Personal MBA (PMBA) is an experiment in educational entrepreneurism. This online manifesto will show you how to substantially increase your knowledge of business on your own time and with little cost, all without setting foot inside a classroom.
The PMBA is more flexible than a traditional MBA program; it doesn't involve going into massive debt, and it won't interrupt your income stream for two years. Just set aside some dedicated reading time, pick up a good book, learn as much as you can, and go out and make great things happen.
If I decide to take PMBA instead, what don't I get when compared to a traditional MBA? I don't get a diploma and the network of classmates who in all probability are the leaders in their respective fields. Well, the latter is arguable since you don't only get this network from the classroom. Besides, doing the PMBA, you still get to interact (online) with highly driven individuals who just do not feel the rush to devote 2 years of their lives and tons of cash for a masteral degree.
I decided to do the PMBA on my own and save myself the time and money. I then started putting in my AMAZON wish list the 40 some odd required books. Most of these were ordered used. After finishing 3 books in about a month, I figured that I am having difficulties finding time to keep up. There must be some other way to fast track the completion of the requirements.
It was when I started PMBA that I stumbled upon the audio books from Audible.com. Listening to the books while driving, in between meetings, in the gym, and the regular cycle of downtimes throughout any given day, I find myself inching faster toward my objective.
Two years after I started my PMBA, I have finished 32 of the required readings. Thanks in no small way to Audible. During this period, I have transferred the Audible license to at least 2 other laptops and 3 smartphones. I have currently playing in the Samsung i600 TIM FERRIS's "4 Hour Work Week"and Tom Friedman's "The World is Flat," which I both highly recommend.
For books that are not available in audio version, eBookmall should have them in PDF format. With the ability to do annotations, it is very easy to do a search of highlighted excerpts or paragraphs in any book. This sure beats using just a pen highlighter.
One way I keep up with technology is by reading several magazines (e.g. Macworld, PC MAG, PC World, etc). I have tons of magazines stashed away that I have been contemplating on doing an inventory of. Something that became irrelevant when I started subscribing to Zinio a couple of years back.
Those of you who are in the market for an MBA degree, try the PMBA for a month and see if this will be good enough for you. And for those who already have MBAs, still check the suggested readings here for they are filled with lessons learned and experiences of present day managers. Unlike in the traditional MBA courses that still use circa 1990 case studies.
MBA or no MBA, I highly recommend that you keep up with what is going on around this FLAT WORLD of ours. The cheapest and best way to do that is by reading. As Michael Hyatt , CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, aptly puts it,
Yet I know that "leaders are readers" and "readers are leaders." If you are going to lead in today's environment, you have to be a thought leader, and that only comes from reading. If you don't keep up, you'll fall behind. Before long, someone else will be doing the leading.
And for those of you wishing to stay ahead or to even just stay close to the 'curve,' I highly recommend that you try out audio books, eBooks, and digital magazines.