This week’s post is on Steve Jobs - written by Walter Isaacson (2011), the CEO of the Aspen Institute, former chairman of CNN and the managing editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Kissinger: A Biography, and co-author of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made.

Our guest writer is Brandon, an MC intern who is focused on building out the MC Job Hub program.

If you want to submit a review on a book you’ve been reading, we’d love to hear from you! Follow the format below, target 800+ words and send it over by email!

Enjoy!

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Why read it? 

This is not just your typical biography about a man. In fact, it is more than just that: it is a story into a man’s life that has changed our very culture, the way we do life, a man who revolutionized 6 industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

This book will train you to think differently and see business from a different perspective. You will find yourself at times wondering, “Why didn’t I ever think of that?” or “Why didn’t I ever think that way?” By reading this book, you accept an invitation to learn from the life a man who became arguably the greatest business executive of our era.

Quick overview 

This book will challenge you and encourage you as you go on a journey with the author through the life of Steve Jobs. You will learn about his life and journey – from being abandoned as a child, to building an enduring name brand company that has had a monumental impact on so many facets of how we live life.

Your mind will be renewed on many different business topics as you read this book, topics ranging from marketing, public relations, how to interact and not interact with employees, and how to make and not make sound business decisions. You will both learn from Steve’s successes and from his failures.

3 Interesting Book Insights 

Some companies say, “Give the customers what they want.” But that was never Steve’s approach. In his words: “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do…people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. Our task is to read things that are not yet on page.”

Steve learned from Mike Markkula, Apple’s early Angel investor and second CEO, to always impute his values into everything that he did. That impacted everything he did from that point on, from product demonstrations to how he dressed to how his products were packaged and released. To impute your values is to make sure that everything that is yours echoes your values, from the way your car looks and appears to how you dress and present yourself. Steve would always make sure that everything inside the computer was done with excellence, down to the very smallest of details – so much so that when employees told him that it did not matter because no one would ever see the inside of the computer, he insisted and made sure that everything was done with excellence and looked great even if someone would never see it.

Steve’s passion and attitude toward the work that he did was amazing. He absolutely loved and enjoyed every minute of it. He had this to say about work: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

Overall summary/conclusion 

All in all, this book is amazing, both easy and fun to read. Walter Isaacson did a phenomenal job of telling the life story of one of the most amazing men of our time. This book provides a stark contrast to what many executives think is the right way to run a company, and to do business.

Steve’s life demonstrated that there is a better way to do things than what the traditional business mindset has told us. His life challenges you to step outside the box and think differently.

I challenge you to pick up this book and learn from the life of a man that, as he always wished, put a ding in the universe.

*****

To grab a copy of Steve Jobs, click here

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Our first-ever Black Belt Supreme course launched in June, and we had an overwhelming response. Sadly, a number of you procrastinators missed out.

Never fear! With the crazy recruiting cycle, we know the pressure that you are under and we are here to help you out!

Today, we’re introducing Black Belt Supreme round TWO!

Note: Number of available spaces remaining are updated daily below (paragraph 13).

What do you get?

Black Belt Supreme  includes 6 live webinars (recorded for later viewing if you’re doing something important – like snowboarding), 30 days of focused interview homework, and access to 1:1 Black Belt Supreme case partners – all of this IN ADDITION to the already-awesome content of Black Belt Deluxe (10 hours of 1:1 coaching, a full resume/cover letter edit, and our complete MC Book Bundle).

With only 30 available spots and 12 already filled, there are only 18 slots left. Time is running short, so you better get in quick as we’re filling slots on a first-come, first-served basis. Our counter below is updated as spots are snatched up, so you’ll know if you still have a shot at joining our Black Black Supreme course.

Sign-ups for the new Black Belt Supreme course close October 31st – no exceptions.

Sign me up already!

How do you lock in your spot?

All you have to do is sign up for Black Belt Deluxe by October 31, 2014, and email us that you want in on Black Belt Supreme.

Easy, right? Not only that, but you receive the following extras:

  • 6 live webinars (recorded in case you’re doing something important – like working or snowboarding)
  • 30 days of focused interview homework
  • Access to fellow Black Belt Supreme case partners for 1:1 peer practice

Don’t forget – Black Belt Supreme registration closes October 31!

Finally, a few answers to some FAQs we’ve been getting…

Do you have to use all of my 1:1 coaching hours in November?

Nope – you can use the hours at any time, and as always with our hours, they never expire.

However, the webinars happen in November and December, and we’d recommend that you do at least 3-4 sessions during that time frame so you can put what you’re learning into practice. 

Do you have to complete my resume/cover letter edit right away?

No way. You can start the editing process at any time – again, our editing services never expire.

However, after starting the process, you have only 14 days to complete the editing with us – that keeps everyone sane.

You have lots of case practice. Will this help?

Definitely. One thing Black Belts – who are already overachievers – know is that it’s not about lots of practice – it’s about top-notch quality practice.

We walk through both fit and case interviews in detail, answer tons of story and strategy questions, and then pick apart your personal performance.

Although some have been close to ready for Interview Day, we’ve only met a handful of people – out of thousands of clients – who didn’t need our help.

What makes Black Belt Supreme special?

We’ve been running our bootcamps for years now. Many attendees come back to us and ask for more assistance – one day is AWESOME, and they get most of the way there, but it’s just not enough.

For Black Belt Supreme, we break up our 8-hour bootcamp day into the 6 webinar sessions, inviting Q&A and offering recordings. We include a full resume/cover letter edit so you get personal attention for your story. We offer 10 1:1 sessions to practice what we preach. You connect with your peers and keep the practice going.

It’s the trifecta – learning from us, learning from each other, and learning by doing.

How did the June BBS class fare in the Consulting Jungle?

We’re glad you asked! Multiple full-time offers at Bain, BCG and McKinsey for one. Additional offers at Deloitte S&O and both advisory and consulting practices of the Big 4. A shout out to Oliver Wyman.

In short, the class did REALLY well.

Who does BBS?

Your mom. Okay, not really, but we have a wide mix of people. In June’s class, we had 6 countries, a range of ages (from 19-40+), lots of different backgrounds and many different experience levels. It was a rich learning experience.

We open up a Google Doc on the day of the first webinar and you put in just a few specifics about you to make it easier to match you up.

If you want specific insights or connections with good partners, let us know – we’re happy to help.

We don’t normally coordinate dating amongst BBS members, but maybe we should put a “single and ready to mingle” column on there too…

When does BBS actually start?

Right away! Here is our tentative schedule for the webinars (if everyone is in Singapore, for example, we’ll change that up):

  • Nov. 3, 2PM PDT
  • Nov. 8, 9AM PDT
  • Nov. 12, 5PM PDT
  • Nov. 22, 12PM PDT
  • Dec. 5, 9AM PDT
  • Dec. 10, 1PM PDT

Sign up for Black Belt Supreme now!

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Today we bring to you some key ways that you can increase your business understanding and, therefore, your effectiveness in consulting.

As a consultant, you have to look at things in ways that most people would not. You are valued for your ability to review/cut/analyze data and use the results to come up with solutions and strategies to your clients’ dilemmas. In order to do so, you have to stay up to date, continually honing and sharpening business understanding and skills.

We have been working behind the scenes to compile resources to aid you in business understanding. There are other options  -  including our “Consultant for a Day” exercise or the MC Consulting Bootcamps.

However, for some quick understanding, check out these 5 free online courses provided by some of the top universities and graduate programs in the U.S that will enable you to sharpen your business understanding for consulting.

An Introduction to Operations Management

University of Pennsylvania Wharton School

Taught by University of Pennsylvania Wharton School Professor Christian Terwiesch, this course will teach you how to analyze and improve business processes, be it in services or in manufacturing. You will learn how to improve productivity, how to provide more choice to customers, how to reduce response times, and how to improve quality.

Be aware that after this course you will look at the world with different eyes – you will start to detect bottlenecks, identify productivity wastes, and come up with ideas to improve business processes. A known side effect of these skills is that you might drive friends, family, or co-workers crazy when you point out their improvement opportunities!

An Introduction to Marketing

University of Pennsylvania Wharton School

Broken into three modules of three weeks each, this course is taught by David Bell, Peter Fadell, and Barbara E. Khan; three of Wharton’s top faculty in the marketing department, which is consistently ranked as the #1 marketing department in the world. This course will teach you the fundamentals of marketing by getting to the root of customer decision making. It focuses on branding strategies, customer centricity and new market entry.

Check out this video to hear Karl Ulrich, Vice Dean of Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School talk more in depth about the free courses that they offer.

Scaling Up Your Venture Without Screwing Up

Stanford Graduate School of Business

This is a 5-week course taught by two Stanford Graduate School of Business Professors Huggy Rao and Bob Sutton, who have devoted 7 years to understanding the differences between organizations that scale well and those that scale badly. Through this course you will learn the principles that will help you scale up a venture without screwing up.

Consultants are often asked to help businesses grow. This, however, is an age-old question – how do you grow without destroying the success you already have?

At the end of the course, you will be able to answer questions that cut to the heart of the scaling challenge:

  1. How can you avoid the illusion, impatience, and incompetence that are hallmarks for botched scaling efforts?
  2. What should your strategy be? Should you be more structured and replicate one model as you grow? Or should you take a more open approach and encourage local customization as your footprint expands?
  3. How can you avoid cognitive overload on yourself and those you lead, while at the same time, add necessary complexity as your team and organization?

Corporate Finance Essentials

IESE Business School

We regularly get questions on what key skills consultants are looking for, and what classes make sense. Well, here is our common suggestion: acquire hard skills, and study corporate finance to do so.

This course, taught by IESE Business School Professor Javier Estrada, consists of 6 sessions broken up into 6 weeks. Each session is self-contained, requiring no previous knowledge or preparation. Each session consists of video lectures totaling 45-60 minutes.

After finishing this course, you will be able to understand key financial issues related to companies, investors, and the interaction between them in the capital markets. In addition, you should also be able to understand most of what you read in the financial press and use the essential financial vocabulary of companies and finance professionals.

Interviews with Entrepreneurs

Khan Academy

Consultants are story tellers, and the best way to understand how business people communicate is to listen to them speak. Have you heard of mirroring in interviews? If you model your speech and posture off of the one who you are speaking with, you are subconsciously saying – “I’m like you. I can hang with you. We are not equals, but someday, we could be.”

This is a self-paced course provided by the Khan Academy; you can take it at anytime you like. You will learn invaluable management advice from some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, like Elon Musk CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Group, Mark Ecko Founder of Ecko Unlimited, and many more.

*****

If you have other suggestions of ways to grow in business understanding for consulting, we always love to hear them! Pop a comment below or send us an email!

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A Commercial Pilot’s 2-Year Plan to Break into Consulting

Beau approached us a few months ago to ask about breaking into consulting. He had the epiphany that consulting was his calling in life, and went searching for details – finding MC in the process. Beau’s questions are probably similar to your questions – “Is now the right time? I have a crappy undergrad GPA […]

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Fall 2014 East Coast Tour Recap

Over the last month, we kicked off our Fall Consulting Bootcamp tour and have trekked up and down the East Coast to several universities – after visits to Columbia, McGill, Duke, Georgia Tech, Yale, Harvard, and Wharton (UPenn), we finally hosted a private bootcamp in New York. We have a number of other bootcamps coming […]

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