Fifty lessons from my five-year MBA

Graduation hat with city background.

For years, I considered business education as a second-tier pursuit, overshadowed by the “nobler” study of scientific fields such as math, physics, and biology. Growing up in a developing country, success was predefined: becoming a doctor, an engineer, or a lawyer. Anything different was seen as settling. The thought of exploring business seemed distasteful, mired by my skewed perception of wealth and its pursuit.

Yet, when I journeyed to the U.S. for advanced medical training, my understanding began to evolve. Business wasn’t just about money; it was the bridge turning scientific marvels into tangible benefits for humanity. The age-old debate of Tesla vs. Edison dawned on me in a new light—we needed both the visionary and the executor, the scientist and the entrepreneur.

During my surgical training, the importance of business acumen became clear. Witnessing physicians and nurses shape healthcare management and advocate for patients, I felt the urge to dive deeper into the business realm. Pursuing an MBA seemed a logical step, but with the constraints of time and finances, the conventional route was impractical. Thus, my innovative “5-year MBA plan” was conceived: one class at a time, balancing the requirements of my neurosurgical training with the academic needs of my MBA and also making the degree affordable. This journey led me to an MBA from the esteemed Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Was the MBA indispensable? Not exactly. However, it sharpened my edge as I personally thrive in a structured academic setting. But platforms like YouTube offered invaluable insights, often surpassing expensive textbooks and classes from world-class professors. Videos became instrumental in my learning, and I urge readers to harness this digital tool.

So, why pen this blog when the digital realm is replete with knowledge? Think of this as a compass—a guide to the vast expanse of business. Crafted from my experiences, it’s a tome I wish existed during my science-loving high school days. A primer for the uninitiated and a refresher for the acquainted, this blog touches on diverse business facets, underpinned by my unique perspective. It’s a collection I wish to pass on to my kids.

You might wonder, “Why 50 topics?” It’s a reflection of my learning mantra. I’ve always distilled complex lessons into core takeaways, striving not for grades, but for lasting comprehension. Each of the topics symbolizes my distilled understanding from a month at business school.

Embarking on this read, I hope to enrich your view of the business landscape. Dive in, and may you find value in every page. The links to the chapters will become available as the chapters are written. Each chapter will typically include the lesson learned along with a description of that lesson. They will also include a technical vignette to illustrate the concepts being discussed.

Part I: The Fundamentals

Part II: The Core Business Disciplines

  • Chapter 6: Making Sense of Financial Statements
  • Chapter 7: The Language of Numbers: Accounting Basics Made Easy
  • Chapter 8: Marketing: More Than Just Selling: Creating Customer Value
  • Chapter 9: Human Resources: People Make the Business
  • Chapter 10: Operations: The Engine Behind Success

Part III: Leadership & Ethics

  • Chapter 11: The Essence of Leadership: Inspiring and Influencing Others
  • Chapter 12: Ethical Business: Doing Well by Doing Good
  • Chapter 13: Effective Communication: A Leadership Essential

Part IV: Strategy & Competitive Advantage

  • Chapter 14: Crafting Business Strategy: From Vision to Execution
  • Chapter 15: Cultivating a Competitive Advantage
  • Chapter 16: Making Strategic Decisions: Analyzing Options for Success 

Part V: Innovation & Technology

  • Chapter 17: Embracing Innovation
  • Chapter 18: The Role of Technology in Modern Business
  • Chapter 19: Navigating Digital Transformation

Part VI: Global Business

  • Chapter 20: Understanding the Global Business Environment
  • Chapter 21: Entering Foreign Markets
  • Chapter 22: Managing Cultural Differences

Part VII: Entrepreneurship

  • Chapter 23: The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Nurturing the Spirit of Innovation
  • Chapter 24: Building a Business Model: Designing the Blueprint for Success
  • Chapter 25: Navigating the Startup Ecosystem

Part VIII: Business Law

  • Chapter 26: Business Law Essentials: Legal Framework for Business Operations
  • Chapter 27: The Legal Side of Entrepreneurship
  • Chapter 28: Navigating Corporate Governance

Part IX: Negotiation & Conflict Resolution

  • Chapter 29: The Art of Negotiation: Strategies for Win-win Outcomes
  • Chapter 30: Resolving Conflicts Building Stronger Relationships

Part X: Business Communication

  • Chapter 31: Effective Business Writing
  • Chapter 32: Perfecting the Art of Presentation
  • Chapter 33: Mastering Non-Verbal Communication

Part XI: Project Management

  • Chapter 34: Principles of Project Management
  • Chapter 35: Managing Project Risks
  • Chapter 36: Agile and Lean Project Management 

Part XII: Healthcare Business 

  • Chapter 37: The Business of Healthcare
  • Chapter 38: Navigating Healthcare Regulations
  • Chapter 39: Innovations in Healthcare

Part XIII: Synthesizing Lessons

  • Chapter 40: Building and Maintaining Professional Relationships
  • Chapter 41: Harnessing Emotional Intelligence
  • Chapter 42: The Importance of Continuous Learning
  • Chapter 43: Cultivating Resilience in Business
  • Chapter 44: Balancing Work and Personal Life
  • Chapter 45: Making Business Sustainable

Part XIV: Real-World Cases

  • Chapter 46: Learning from Successful Entrepreneurs
  • Chapter 47: Lessons from Business Failures

Part XV: Future of Business

  • Chapter 48: Predicting Future Business Trends
  • Chapter 49: The Role of AI and Robotics in Business
  • Chapter 50: Final Reflections: Business as a Force for Good