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"Ahead of the curve - Two years at HBS"

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"Ahead of the curve - Two years at HBS" [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2010, 19:35
Has anyone else read this book ? I am halfway through it and am getting put off reading about HBS.

HBS is attacked for being elitist and sometimes disconnected from reality. The author describes an entitlement attitude prevalent in the campus and the activities. Some hazing like behaviour from 'skydecks' and regression to frat parties are also pointed out. As cases constitute 50% of the grade, the fight for air time is highlighted...

On the other hand I guess that the author coming from a 'non traditional background' and really not clear on his goals must have adversely affected his experience....
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Re: "Ahead of the curve - Two years at HBS" [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2010, 21:00
I read this book myself a few months ago. I thought it was very interesting. I can understand why some HBS staff and alumni were upset with the book. To me, the author did preface his work by stating it was only his opinion and only his personal experience. As you mentioned, he also said that he likely had a different take on things, given his background. I was quite entertained by the book.
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Re: "Ahead of the curve - Two years at HBS" [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2010, 13:36
I just read this book last weekend. Once I started I couldn't seem to put it down. I found it to be a fascinating read. I had always dreamt of going to HBS, and I have to be honest this book made me want to go there more. I don't really know why, because I am one of the furthest from an "elitist mentality" (growing up in a low-income suburban detroit family doesn't harbor those thoughts).

Regardless, the only thing that would worry me is that the grades are determined by the cases. The fight and "sharking" that goes on turns me off a bit to the school, but I know that can happen in the real business world too, so I suppose it's good to get used to it now.
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Re: "Ahead of the curve - Two years at HBS" [#permalink] New post 18 Oct 2010, 07:27
NACMaverick wrote:
I just read this book last weekend. Once I started I couldn't seem to put it down. I found it to be a fascinating read. I had always dreamt of going to HBS, and I have to be honest this book made me want to go there more. I don't really know why, because I am one of the furthest from an "elitist mentality" (growing up in a low-income suburban detroit family doesn't harbor those thoughts).

Regardless, the only thing that would worry me is that the grades are determined by the cases. The fight and "sharking" that goes on turns me off a bit to the school, but I know that can happen in the real business world too, so I suppose it's good to get used to it now.


The book is definitely a page turner. Philip did not mention extracurricular activities or case competitions in the campus or atleast not in a way that they played a big role. Is it that HBS course work is so strenous and comprehensive that these activities are considered unimportant ? Say compared to Kellogg and HAAS which seem to showcase their student driven activities ?

I hate the elitist attitude described in the book - "we are the future leaders by just being at HBS" (paraphrasing liberally) and am finding that I have to convince myself to apply there now.
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Re: "Ahead of the curve - Two years at HBS" [#permalink] New post 04 Nov 2010, 11:51
sanlitun wrote:
The book is definitely a page turner. Philip did not mention extracurricular activities or case competitions in the campus or atleast not in a way that they played a big role. Is it that HBS course work is so strenous and comprehensive that these activities are considered unimportant ? Say compared to Kellogg and HAAS which seem to showcase their student driven activities ?

I hate the elitist attitude described in the book - "we are the future leaders by just being at HBS" (paraphrasing liberally) and am finding that I have to convince myself to apply there now.


I read this book a few weeks ago, in preparation for my interview at HBS. I think that Philip did not mention extracurricular activities because he did not want to join in on them. He had a family and was older than most of the student body. He didn't feel the need to travel with them, I assume, because he already had traveled so much of the world in his job as a journalist (not to mention he was not going to leave his wife and kid behind).

To me, it sounded like HBS did a WHOLE lot for him. An experience that generated a best-selling book. A strong knowledge of the business world. And the ability to only work a few months out of the year doing random consulting jobs now (at least from what I could gather out of his current life). I enjoyed reading the book, but felt a natural dislike towards Philip as he seemed to judge almost everyone he met. People were not people but jobs and career plans. Even the people he did like were rarely talked about. Anyone going into a Finance profession was stereotyped as someone who couldn't balance work and family life. Things just aren't that simple.

I did thoroughly enjoy the discussions on case studies, though. Any more thoughts on this?
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Re: "Ahead of the curve - Two years at HBS" [#permalink] New post 09 May 2011, 10:29
I have to admit I loved reading this book. Once I picked it up, I had a difficult time putting it down.

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Re: "Ahead of the curve - Two years at HBS" [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2011, 11:27
Yes, definitely a good (and fast) read.

Last edited by adamtn on 22 Dec 2011, 10:19, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Ahead of the curve - Two years at HBS" [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2011, 13:51
This book, to me, was exactly like the Supersize Me movie - while I understood why some people might agree with it, as soon as I finished it I was immediately craving more McDonald's... err, HBS...
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Re: "Ahead of the curve - Two years at HBS" [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2011, 10:22
As they say, any publicity is good publicity.

I read it over a year ago and my impression of the book is probably as vague as the author's impression of his two years at HBS. He definitely did not immerse himself.

For example, his description of a job interview sounded like it might as well have occurred before he enrolled. IIRC, the interviewer shifted gears early on and chatted with him for the remainder of the time slot about his previous work experience, which was admittedly extensive and interesting.

Being a journalist, I guess you could say he treated his time there as an article/book assignment, this time for himself. (Apologies to GMAT studiers who might be jarred by this sentence but let's treat this more like spoken conversation please :))

The lesson is probably to think beyond graduation before matriculating.
Re: "Ahead of the curve - Two years at HBS"   [#permalink] 11 Sep 2011, 10:22
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"Ahead of the curve - Two years at HBS"

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