Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School [NOOK Book]

Overview

Two years in the cauldron of capitalism-"horrifying and very funny" (The Wall Street Journal)

In this candid and entertaining insider's look at the most influential school in global business, Philip Delves Broughton draws on his crack reporting skills to describe his madcap years at Harvard Business School. Ahead of the Curve recounts the most edifying and surprising lessons learned in the quest for an MBA, from the ingenious chicanery of ...
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Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School

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Overview

Two years in the cauldron of capitalism-"horrifying and very funny" (The Wall Street Journal)

In this candid and entertaining insider's look at the most influential school in global business, Philip Delves Broughton draws on his crack reporting skills to describe his madcap years at Harvard Business School. Ahead of the Curve recounts the most edifying and surprising lessons learned in the quest for an MBA, from the ingenious chicanery of leveraging and the unlikely pleasures of accounting, to the antics of the "booze luge" and other, less savory trappings of student culture. Published during the one hundredth anniversary of Harvard Business School, this is the unflinching truth about life in the trenches of an iconic American institution.


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Editorial Reviews

Bryan Burrough
Ahead of the Curve offers a good sense of Harvard Business School's day-to-day workings, everything from what the other students are like to the merits of each lecturer to impressions of business titans such as Warren Buffett and Stephen Schwarzman, who revolve through the doors offering pointers on how to get filthy rich. Broughton makes a delightfully clueless guide.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

This debut by a former journalist at the Daily Telegraph of London chronicles the author's love-hate relationship with the Harvard Business School, where he spent two years getting his M.B.A. Beginning with a confessional account of his disillusionment with journalism and conflicted desire to make money, Broughton provides an account of his experiences in and out of the classroom as he struggles to survive the academic rigor and find a suitably principled yet lucrative path. Simultaneously repelled by his aggressive fellow capitalists in training-their stress-fueled partying and obsession with wealth-and dazzled by his classes, visiting professors and the surprising beauty of business concepts, Broughton vacillates between cautious critique and faint praise. Although cleverly narrated and marked by a professional journalist's polish and remarkable attention to detail, this book flounders; it provides neither enough color nor damning dirt on the school to entertain in the manner of true tell-alls. The true heart of the story is less "b-school" confidential than a memoir of Broughton's quest to understand the business world and find his place in it. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

In 2004, 31-year-old Delves Broughton, then New York and Paris bureau chief for the London Daily Telegraph, gave up the rigors of daily international journalism to join 900 other would-be tycoons at Harvard Business School in a quest to become wealthy. He shares his experiences here. The rich, solid narration by Simon Vance (see Behind the Mike, LJ11/15/08) is distinctly British, the author's own background. This work arrives at an opportune time; the audio is valuable as people ponder deeply whether they should go to business school, given the current climate. Highly recommended for university libraries.
—Dale Farris

Kirkus Reviews
What it takes to become a Master of the Universe (aka, an MBA). Broughton, sophisticated Paris bureau chief for the London Daily Telegraph, figured he needed a change. Learning accounting might be just the thing, he thought. So he entered Harvard Business School, class of 2006. There, the naif in matters commercial joined a student body largely composed, it seemed to him, of McKinsey alumni, military veterans and earnest Mormons. He took the dodgy but requisite personality test and assiduously devoted himself to macroeconomics, entrepreneurship, operations management, regression analysis, spread sheets, growth projections and, of course, leadership. All around him, student industrialists, pretend hedge-fund chieftains, pubescent investment bankers, acolyte venture capitalists, pretend Gordon Gekos, Rupert Murdoch wannabes and eager beavers channeling robber barons-classmates the author treats seriously and with respect-acquired the slogans, buzz words, jargon and acronyms considered de rigueur accessories to the HBS Master of Business Administration. Broughton summarizes the history of the school, first of its kind when founded in 1908. He reviews the ubiquitous case studies and depicts the learned profs and puissant guest speakers who invariably promoted a passion for challenge and leadership. A naturally proficient writer, now facile in matters financial, the author asserts that he enjoyed his two-year stint. Yet he had the faintest suspicion that the "transformational experience" HBS sold was missing something in the way of humanity. Faculty and visiting autocrats of the boardroom preached that family always came first, but these pundits and plutocrats never followed their own advice.The astute Broughton (sole member of his class without a job at graduation) reveals much about a place that caters to smart students who seek a path to wealth beyond Trumpian dreams of avarice. A discerning tour through the vaunted Hogwarts of capitalism. Agent: Tina Bennett/Janklow & Nesbit
From the Publisher
"The audio is valuable as people ponder deeply whether they should go to business school, given the current climate." ---Library Journal Starred Audio Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440629624
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/31/2008
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 349,741
  • File size: 342 KB

Meet the Author


Philip Delves Broughton was born in Bangladesh and grew up in England. From 1998-2004, he served successively as the New York and Paris bureau chief for The Daily Telegraph of London and reported widely from North and South America, Europe and Africa. He led the Telegraph’s coverage of the 9/11 attacks on New York and his reporting has twice been nominated for the British Press Awards. His work has also appeared in the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Times of London, and the Spectator. In 2006, he received his MBA from Harvard Business School. He currently lives in New York with his wife and two sons.
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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Let's Get Retarded 5

Ch. 2 Starting Over 31

Ch. 3 A Place Apart 46

Ch. 4 Riding the Booze Luge 52

Ch. 5 Who Am I? 69

Ch. 6 Formin', Stormin', Normin', Performin' 80

Ch. 7 To Beta and Beyond 93

Ch. 8 The Risk Master 119

Ch. 9 Insecure Overachievers 130

Ch. 10 Ethical Jihadists 147

Ch. 11 Extreme Leverage 167

Ch. 12 Chasing the Curve 191

Ch. 13 Big Hairy Goals 210

Ch. 14 "Watching My Children Grow Longer" 227

Ch. 15 Graduation 251

Ch. 16 A Factory for Unhappy People 266

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2009

    Didn't Really Learn Much

    I am an alum from one of the top-ten ranked business schools that competes with HBS. My main criticisms of this book are that it wasn't that entertaining for me and I didn't learn much. On the entertainment front, I would have liked to see better anecdotes and deeper character development (in regards to classmates, professors, CEO guest speakers, and recruiters).<BR/><BR/>What did I gather from this book? 1) HBS graduates are an unhappy lot putting in avg. workweeks of 80-100 hours; 2) HBS students with no business background before coming to b-school struggle more with course work and in adapting to the HBS culture; 3) A graduate who enters the final job-search process with undefined goals will have a harder time finding a full-time job than one who has well-defined goals and is thus exuding a great deal of enthusiasm during the interview process, 4) Some CEO guest speakers make faux pas. I knew all of this before reading the book and would suspect that even prospective students may have some inkling to much of this. <BR/><BR/>I should add that many ivy league MBA graduates who I've interacted with over a 25+ year career wouldn't have it any other way (80-100 hr work weeks). They are highly committed people who derive great satisfaction from their passions (their work). Perhaps this is hard to grasp for some folks, but as my dad always said: "different strokes for different folks." Again, some top-tier MBA graduates would have it no other way and in many cases, these folks seem like they are content with their lot in life.<BR/><BR/>Only one MBA's opinion, but I got very little out of this book and did not find it engaging at all. In fact, I was disappointed after reading it. I found myself asking myself: "Why did I devote my time to reading this book?" I found other books on this topic more informative and entertaining.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2008

    Like an MBA in a box

    Ahead of the Curve offers a good sense of Harvard Business School's day-to-day workings, everything from what the other students are like to the merits of each lecturer to impressions of business titans such as Warren Buffett and Stephen Schwarzman, who revolve through the doors offering pointers on how to get filthy rich. Broughton makes a delightfully clueless guide. It's so rare to see the inner workings of an institution that is everything to business, and it's a great way for an outsider to 'sharpen the saw' and brush up on leadership skills. Two other 'must haves' I've added to my leadership toolbox recently are Squawk!: How to Stop Making Noise and Start Getting Results and The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    Inseresting, well written, fun

    Extremely interesting and easy to read story of the author's experiences at Harvard Business School. It was inspiring and if I wasn't close to 60 I'd be tempted to get a MBA. I read the book from the library and bought it as a gift to my high powered Nephew upon his getting his CPA.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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