As One L did for Harvard Law School, Ahead of the Curve does for Harvard Business Schoolâ€”providing an incisive studentâ€™s-eye view that pulls the veil away from this vaunted institution and probes the methods it uses to make its students into the elite of the business worldIn the century since its founding, Harvard Business School has become the single most influential institution in global business. Twenty percent of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are HBS graduates, as are many of our savviest entrepreneurs (e.g., Michael Bloomberg) and canniest felons (e.g., Jeffrey Skilling). The top investment banks and brokerage houses routinely send their brightest young stars to HBS to groom them for future power. To these people and many others, a Harvard MBA is a golden ticket to the Olympian heights of American business. In 2004, Philip Delves Broughton abandoned a post as Paris bureau chief of the London Daily Telegraph to join nine hundred other would-be tycoons on HBSâ€™s plush campus. Over the next two years, he and his classmates would be inundated with the bestâ€”and the restâ€”of American business culture that HBS epitomizes. The core of the schoolâ€™s curriculum is the â€ścaseâ€ťâ€”an analysis of a real business situation from which the students must, with a professorâ€™s guidance, tease lessons. Delves Broughton studied more than five hundred cases and recounts the most revelatory ones here. He also learns the surprising pleasures of accounting, the allure of â€śbeta,â€ť the ingenious chicanery of leveraging, and innumerable other hidden workings of the business world, all of which he limns with a wry clarity reminiscent of Liarâ€™s Poker. He also exposes the less savory trappings of b-school culture, from the â€śbooze lugeâ€ť to the pandemic obsession with PowerPoint to the specter of depression that stalks too many overburdened students. With acute and often uproarious candor, he assesses the schoolâ€™s success at teaching the traits it extols as most important in businessâ€”leadership, decisiveness, ethical behavior, work/life balance. Published during the one hundredth anniversary of Harvard Business School, Ahead of the Curve offers a richly detailed and revealing you-are-there account of the institution that has, for good or ill, made American business what it is today.
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