What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School Book Summary - What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School Book explained in key points

What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School summary

Mark H. McCormack

Notes From a Street-Smart Executive

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What is What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School about?

What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School (1984) is an introduction to everything your professors don’t and can’t teach you at business school. Learn tips and tricks that only people with real job-market experience have in their arsenal, like how to make a good impression and how to leverage the concept of fear when making sales.

About the Author

Mark H. McCormack (1930-2003) founded and for several years chaired the International Management Group (IMG), an international organization offering consulting, marketing and management services to prominent figures in sports, as well as other celebrities. McCormack was once an aspiring golfer himself, and later turned to the world of business. He was also a lawyer and writer, and penned several books, including The Terrible Truth About Lawyers.

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    Get insights from your business colleagues by listening to them closely.

    When it comes to business, it’s easy to buy into the misconception that it’s all about numbers and growth. But it’s not! It’s about people.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product or hiring someone; to get ahead in business, you have to know who exactly you’re doing business with. If you know their personality and what makes them tick, you’ll be able to predict their behavior.

    You’re probably used to the clichéd slick businessman facade. But remember, a businessman won’t fulfil that stereotype with everyone. He’ll talk to his boss, clients or employees in different ways.

    If you’re aware of these different fronts, you’ll know that there’s more to the “suit” than meets the eye. There will always be a lot going on beneath the surface.

    But how do you discover the richness of someone’s personality? You have to really listen.

    Listening isn’t a passive process – you have to actively take in what you’re hearing and make an effort to understand what people are telling you.

    Let’s take Pepsi as an example.

    For years, Pepsi tried unsuccessfully to court Burger King, urging them to sell their product alongside Coca-Cola and arguing that customers wanted options in their drink choices. But Burger King kept declining their proposal, claiming that they did offer a choice, as they had plenty of other types of soda on offer.

    It was only then Pepsi started listening to Burger King. They saw what was going on below the surface, so they changed tactics. In their next pitch, they took a novel approach.

    “Hey,” they said, “we’re both number twos.” After all, Burger King had long since played second fiddle to their rivals McDonald’s, just as Pepsi had to Coca-Cola. This convinced Burger King, and they switched to Pepsi in solidarity.

    Listening is one thing, but making a good impression is also important. Let’s look at that next.

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    Who should read What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School

    • Entrepreneurs and small-business owners
    • Managers and executives
    • Business school students and graduates

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