“He sets the scene brilliantly, capturing an essence of HBS that is part cult, part psychological morass, part hothouse… For anyone planning to attend this remarkable institution, Delves Broughton’s book is invaluable… A quite brilliant book” – The Literary Review (UK)
I began reading this book this past August, in the thick of my GMAT studying, to inspire me to stick to my study plan, and to gain some insight on what business school is actually like from an insider’s perspective. Although it took me almost five months to finish the book, this had nothing to do with Broughton or his writing. I usually read up to 10 books at one time because I like a variety of topics and tend to indulge them randomly and sporadically depending on my mood.
Broughton’s HBS experience is interesting and his writing engaging. As a thirty plus year old, he was not the typical HBS student. He left a prestigious job in Paris with his wife and young son in tow to attend HBS. He writes from the perspective of a level-headed foreigner who resists the all-consuming selfish, money-hungry b-school mentality for most of the book. Although he stumbles, he eventually makes his way out of HBS without losing himself in the process. Broughton’s perspective on business school is truly unique, and terribly enlightening. It gives a warning to those applying or attending not to lose sight of their true values and desires chasing someone else’s dream.
While sharing his own story, he also details those of a few of his classmates’ to round out the narrative, and spends a good amount of time detailing some of the HBS courses and material which had an impact on him. One minute Broughton is describes a leisurely walk on the campus, and the next he discusses in detail Porter’s Five Forces. He also gives interesting tidbits about Harvard, its policies, values and expectations, as well as the types of students it enrolls, albeit out of date by now since Broughton graduated in 2006. I found the balance enjoyable and educational, all the while having flashbacks to my undergraduate business courses, making for a great easy read.
I recommend this book to anyone who is considering attending business school, anyone who has a spouse or close family member who has or will attend, or anyone who is curious what the typical B-school curriculum and lifestyle entails. While I’ll still be applying to business school this year, Broughton has definitely made me privy to the pitfalls which to avoid, and the path that lies ahead.