Last Updated on September 15, 2022
I recently completed the Quantic Executive MBA program. Here’s all my thoughts in a mini review as well as supplemental resources which make the program even better.
About MBAs in general
There’s a bit of hating out there of the MBA these days. I’ve heard it suggested that an MBA kills your creativity. I don’t think this is true.
For a while I was doing the read your way to an MBA autodidactic approach. (This is just what it sounds like, you simply read a tonne of business books).
Also I read The Personal MBA a while back and it was a great overview of principles.
On top of that I’ve started businesses in both Australia and the USA, which has been quite educational!
Even so, after all that, I’ve still gone on to do a more formal Executive MBA.
About the Quantic Executive MBA (EMBA)
You can find out general information about The Quantic Executive MBA program here.
I was drawn to Quantic predominately for practical reasons. The online, mobile first, asynchronous delivery convenience was very appealing to me because of a bit of pandemic displacement, not to mention life with a newborn.
However as I have progressed through the program, I’ve noticed other benefits. One thing I really like about the Quantic EMBA program is that it focuses on one subject at a time, which allows you to deep dive into an area — instead of running a few subjects in parallel like some programs do.
The lesson content is for the most part excellent in its simplicity and accessibility — if you are new to any of the subject areas it breaks down concepts really well. However, I’ve found it really useful to supplement the coursework with some additional book and video content. This helps to consolidate the ideas, but also to get out of the shallows and go a bit deeper.
Quantic Companion Resource List
All the extra stuff that I consumed to enhance my Quantic Executive MBA
I thought I’d pull together all the extra resources I used in this one place, and update it over time. Enjoy! And get in touch if you have something I should add. (Julia Clavien on LinkedIn is a good place.)
Markets & Economies
This subject matter wasn’t entirely new, so it was a good chance to consolidate and deepen my understanding.
🎥 Capital in the 21st Century. I’ve been trying to read this book for years… It’s been a bit of a struggle for me. I generally prefer to read the book before watching the movie — but in this case it was the reverse, the lighter format of the documentary paved the way!
Watch the Capital in the 21st Century documentary on Netflix first if you’re like me, nope it’s not on Netflix anymore, but you can find it on Amazon Prime video here.
📖 Also if you’re ever going to read The Wealth of Nations, now’s a great time.
I’ve studied accounting, as well as looked after the bookkeeping and accounting for my own businesses over the years, and I still found debits and credits tricky! 😵
The additional resources below helped me through.
📖 The Lemonade Stand is a truly excellent book. I think it’s aimed at children, but don’t let that dissuade you if you want a good primer on accounting concepts! It takes you back to super basics — it really simplifies things and is surprisingly quite an enjoyable read.
Data and Decisions
I didn’t expect to find this so challenging given I’ve got a reasonable background in probability and stats! I had to refresh on a few things.
🎥 If you need more on the basic’s Dr Nic on YouTube is one of the best. I watched a bunch of her videos as a fun refresher.
📖 Nassim Taleb’s books are full of fascinating probability education. I first came across his writing when I read The Black Swan a while ago, and it blew my mind — I was an instant fan. His other books are also excellent. The author puts them in this order as a set:
You might not read them all this month, but they should be high on your list.
🔖 The Stat Trek calculators are handy to bookmark for this module. Via Atul Pradhan.
🔖 This is a handy Queueing Theory Calculator.
📖 The Goal. If you haven’t already read this book, it’s a perfect time. I saw a hilarious 1 star review for it that described it as “subpar fan-fiction for operations enthusiasts”. This is hilarious because that’s the reason the book is so excellent — it weaves dry concepts through a story. The story is admittedly a bit overly enthusiastic at times, but a great way to learn.
📖 Thinking in Systems: A Primer. This is a heavier read, but a classic in Systems Thinking, so if it’s on your list, it’s a great time to read it.
📖 For leadership I immediately thought of one of my other favorite business fiction reads, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. (Yes if you haven’t caught a theme here, I am a sucker for the easy-reading educational business-fiction genre.)
📖 The Innovators Dilemma is a must read, although I must admit I’ve always found it hard-going.
🎥 I liked this video on Blue Ocean strategy for a quick explainer.
Marketing & Pricing
I found this module hard-going. The content just doesn’t pique my curiosity like the other modules do.
I did revisit a couple of good book that do get me excited about this subject matter though!
📖 If you are in a startup phase, you will probably also like Crossing the Chasm.
📖 I also revisited my highlights for The Challenger Sale. I found this a useful read to crystallize some of the intuitive parts of the sales process a few years ago when I found myself spending a lot of time on enterprise tech sales. I highly recommended it for enterprise sales in particular.
A CHALLENGER IS defined by the ability to do three things—teach, tailor, and take control—and to do all of this through the use of constructive tension.
Teaching for DifferentiationThe Challenger Sale
The thing that really sets Challenger reps apart is their ability to teach customers something new and valuable about how to compete in their market.
🎥 I decided to do a little video refresher on Finance terminology and concepts before starting the coursework, which can be quite dry until you warm up a bit.
I watched this (admittedly half-watched, while multitasking on other things.)
📖 I have also started reading this one. (I’ve downloaded it, haven’t got very far yet.)
🔖 Investopedia is also an amazing resource. Here’s their NPV page.
Handy Finance Calculators
For the exam, I did use a couple of calculators to check my mental calcs/intuitions.
🔖 Time Value of Money Calculator – there’s a present value and future value calculator
I was already fairly familiar with blockchain because I work in data and hold some cryptocurrency, however I found this to be a really good primer.
For supplementary stuff:
🎥 This documentary Cryptopia is pretty easy to watch and does a good job explaining the tech and a bit about the politics, here’s the Amazon link if you have Prime it’s free.
Advanced Statistical Inference
🔖 The Stat Trek calculators are handy to bookmark for this module. Via Atul Pradhan.
I found this module ok. I’m not sure if it will make you an entrepreneur, but it does teach some useful language and concepts.
📖 The Lean Startup is probably still the best thing to read.
US Business Law
I really liked this module, as an expat in the US it’s been tricky to navigate business formation, employment law, and intellectual property protection – patenting. This course helped me crystallize my understanding of the business entity types available, considerations when hiring, and how patenting works.
📖 The Tax and Legal Playbook is an excellent read – it really helped me understand why an SCorp is so good, amongst other things.
I found this quite academic, but interesting. The game theory stuff is super cool.
📖 The Innovators Dilemma is the classic innovation tome.
🔖 If you can’t get through them whole book, read this article What Is Disruptive Innovation?
Quantic Capstone Project
I have submitted the capstone. It wasn’t as tough as I expected. Here are my three tips.
1. Forget a big group, do it in a pair
My big tip is to go with a small group, ideally a pair or three people max.
I did the capstone in a pair with someone in my timezone and it made it sooo much more enjoyable that juggling a bunch of different people in different timezones.
I don’t know about you but I would be unlikely to launch any kind of business with 6 founders, treat this similarly.
We tackled a real problem that I may prototype next year sometime.
2. Research multiple ideas/angles
I really enjoyed doing the early research with my capstone partner into a bunch of different ideas. We had a list of about 5 ideas and after spending a little time on a few of them it became clear which one we should work on.
3. Pitch it live
We did a live pitch which I highly recommend -it is much more fun that recording and emailing to some faceless person. Also good for setting a deadline, read more about how I manage my procrastination in my productivity post.