Books for MBA students in every specialization that should not be missed

Unstop
6 min readNov 1, 2021

A decision to do an MBA is always followed by a detailed discussion to select the specialization. There are so many fields like marketing, finance, operations, HR, and many more from which you get to pick and choose. Every field is interesting in its own way and an MBA aspirant should pay due attention to his area of interest before selecting a specialization. Make sure that you choose your specialization wisely as it will help you in creating a career that you have always dreamt of. To give you a sneak peek of various specializations, we are sharing with you 5 books for MBA students under every specialization that you can read to understand these fields better.These books for MBA students will give you insight into each field. Read further to know what these books have in store for you.

Marketing

  1. Marketing Management by Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller — This is one of those books for MBA students which is the holy grail for marketing. It is the first book recommended in every Marketing course as it contains all the basic principles and concepts like 4 P’s of Marketing, Consumer behaviour, STP strategy, and many more.
  2. Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim — The most interesting concept of marketing strategy which talks about how a company should work towards creating brand offerings in the unexplored, untapped market called the blue ocean rather than the already existing competitive market referred to as the red ocean.
  3. Purple Cow by Seth Godin — This book talks about the concept of 4 P’s of Marketing in greater detail by taking examples of famous brands and adding innovation as the 5th P. It gives you an idea about how you can make something exceptional.
  4. Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy — This book is by one of the Kings of Advertising who has created some really successful campaigns for companies over the years. In this book, he talks about the thinking of an advertising executive and how one can work towards making a brand sell more.
  5. Positioning: The battle for your mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout — Positioning of a product is the most important concept taught in Marketing. This book contains lots of topics related to the branding of products and the creation of a perception about the product in the market and among consumers.

Finance

  1. Fault Lines by Raghuram Rajan — Rajan in his book has explained the reasons behind the 2008 financial crisis. This book will give you a piece of in-depth knowledge about what exactly happened and what are the various economic flaws that exist in the world.
  2. Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd — This book is considered a classic in the field of fundamental equity investing. Everything from the techniques of value investing to approach followed by Warren Buffet can be found in this book.
  3. The Intelligent Investor: The definitive book on value investing by Benjamin Graham and Jason Zweig — First published in the year 1949, the book is being constantly updated since then. It contains details about long term investment approaches and the information is still considered very relevant by the readers.
  4. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki — The book is further followed by two more books as it became really popular among readers. It changed the perception of money and investing among people. Robert is an active advocate of Financial Education and wishes to make more and more people aware of it.
  5. Common Sense on Mutual Funds by John Bogle — This book is written to make people understand the mutual funds in simpler ways. It talks about the ways a portfolio should be created keeping the current market scenarios in mind.

Information Technology (IT)

  1. The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross — The evolution of the industry due to constant change in technologies is the focus of this book. Every topic from robotics and artificial intelligence to cybercrime are discussed in this book with a number of questions answered.
  2. Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age by Brad Smith and Carol Ann Browne — The book talks about how technology has empowered us and even discusses the disadvances and the threats that have come with it. From cyberattacks to loss of privacy, everything is discussed in this book.
  3. The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly — This book creates an image of the future wherein a list of technologies is shared and explained that will become a part of everyone’s lives in the future.
  4. Innovation and Its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies by Calestous Juma — In this book, all the debates that we have heard over the years the rise of artificial intelligence leading to loss of jobs or other concerns for mankind are being noted. They try to address concerns related to technology and give an unbiased opinion about the same.
  5. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel — PayPal founder, Peter Thiel, through his book, tries to explain his journey. He talks about his learnings and experiences and even sheds light on various business philosophies and strategies that he used to become a successful entrepreneur.

Operations

  1. Toyota Production System: Beyond Large Scale Production by Taiichi Ohno — Toyota is a case study in almost every operations books of MBA students and in this book too the relevance of lean production is explained that is said to improve production. The concepts of just in time and lean manufacturing are discussed.
  2. Avoiding a Supply Chain Apocalypse: The Best of Dr. Tom’s Advice by Tom DePaoli — In this book, the experiences of the author and the strategies and tactics used by him in managing supply chain and purchasing processes during his career are discussed. Every advice given by the author is relevant and should be understood properly.
  3. The Goal by Eliyahu M Goldratt — This is a novel that has an amazing storyline where the protagonist is a plant manager. The story highlights how he along with his mentor tries to break the conventional ways of thinking to save his plant.
  4. My Years With General Motors by Alfred P. Sloan Jr. — This book has created an impact like no other. It gives an insight into the creative business management and events that have occurred at General Motors and the way they were managed.
  5. Total Value Optimization: Transforming your Global Supply Chain into a Competitive Weapon by Steven J Bowen — The author discusses the value-based supply chain in his book which can become a competitive advantage for a company when compared to the competitors.

Human Resource (HR)

  1. Human Resource Management by Gary Dessler — This is one of those books for MBA students that form part of the curriculum as well as it explains each and every concept of Human Resource Management in great detail. This book covers every key aspect of HR.
  2. Investing in People: Financial Impact of Human Resource Initiatives by Wayne Cascio and John Boudreau — Since Human Resource is considered the most important resource by any organization, this book consists of various case studies to explain concepts like employee behaviour, employee well being, absenteeism, etc. It has a technical angle to everything as well which makes the concepts more relevant.
  3. Work Rules by Laszlo Bock — A number of examples are discussed in this book from all across the industry with due emphasis on Google and the reasons why Google is among the top places to work is discussed. The book talks about a balance between creativity and structure in an organization.
  4. Predictive HR Analytics: Mastering the HR Metric by Kirsten & Martin Edwards — This book focuses on metrics and analytics. Various case studies are discussed to explain metrics and analytics related to employee turnover, absenteeism, etc. This book is the reading material for HR analytics classes.
  5. The HR Scorecard by Brian Becker, Mark Huselid and Dave Ulrich — One of the oldest books in line, it focuses on ways through which strategy, people, and performance can be linked and quantified. It explains that quantification of activities by HR will help in increasing credibility.

There are various MBA resources that you can access to complete your projects and assignments but reading these listed books for MBA students will increase your knowledge base and help you in understanding each specialization a lot better. So pick up one book from each category and give it a read to determine whether your interest actually lies in the field in which you wish to do your specialization or not. The quarantine is the best time to do something productive and what can be more productive than a good book.

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Unstop

Unstop (formerly Dare2Compete) enables companies to engage with candidates in the most interactive way to discover, assess, and hire the best talent.