The Ten-Day MBA – Steven Silbiger [Book Summary]

by Nick

This book has been published since 1993, has been translated into nine languages ​​of the world and has become a true bestseller among books on business topics.

The book “The Ten-Day MBA” provides all the basic information about the subjects of the MBA course in leading

American business schools. For a short period of time, the reader can familiarize himself with the MBA program in detail, master the basic terms and concepts.

Steven Silbiger is the marketing director of Plymouth Direct. His talent is the ability to clearly and clearly convey complex financial and business concepts. His book, MBA in 10 Days, has sold over 400,000 copies.

Stephen graduated from business school. The Darden University of Virginia. Today he lives with his family in Philadelphia.

This book is available as:

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Day 1. Marketing

Marketing is a special fusion of art and science. Studying audience marketing is very beneficial, but no training will endow you with the experience, intuition, and creativity that every truly outstanding marketer has. That is why those who have the spark of God are paid a lot.

Formal education will provide MBAs with basic concepts and a glossary of terms for solving marketing problems. This is the purpose of this chapter, as well as countless expensive seminars for managers organized by leading business schools.

The best business schools prepare their students for leadership positions in the field of marketing, not taking into account the fact that, quite possibly, at their first job these people were just secondary assistants in brand marketing in some large food company or soap.

Therefore, the basis of the training course is the development of a comprehensive marketing strategy, and not the formation of the applied knowledge necessary to work in entry-level positions that lie outside the circle of interests of business schools working under MBA programs.

When developing and evaluating strategy options, the marketer uses a variety of quantitative analysis methods or “scientific” methods.

The “art” of marketing is the ability to create and implement a marketing plan that will bring victory. Opportunities that can work to win, literally no number.


The process of developing a marketing strategy is a “looped” function.

The marketing plan undergoes numerous changes until all it components become internally consistent and provide mutually supportive goals. All components of any proposed plan should work in concert – only then does the plan make sense.

It is very easy to choose one component of the plan correctly, but a great achievement is the marketing plan, which is internally consistent and provides support for the goals set. The process of developing a marketing strategy has seven components:

  1. Consumer analysis.
  2. Market analysis.
  3. Consideration of the competitive situation and the place of your own company in it.
  4. The study and selection of distribution channels.
  5. Preliminary selection of marketing mix.
  6. Assessment of economic factors.
  7. Revision of steps 1-6 and returning to the beginning until an internally agreed plan is obtained.

Although there are seven stages, their sequence is not fixed once and for all. Depending on the circumstances and your personal style, the sequence of steps is permissible to change.

Marketing is a field of activity, especially saturated with special terms and concepts. Using the right terminology, even ordinary marketing ideas can shine like real diamonds. Oddly enough, it sounds, but that’s exactly what advertising agencies do when they sell their product, advertising.

Day 2. Business Ethics

Unlike the vast majority of those that have been almost invariably present in the MBA program for decades, business ethics appeared in it quite recently. What was initially a general education elective course has today become an institutionalized part of the basic MBA program at Harvard, Warton, and Darden business schools.

In any case, business ethics is a fertile topic for those who like to speak at various meetings, write scientific articles and dissertations. Often, ethical problems do not have a definite solution, so this area will be a fruitful source of academic work for many years to come.

The goal of an ethics course in an MBA program is not to teach students how to model companies as subjects of socially responsible behavior. Rather, they try to bring to the minds of listeners the idea of ​​the ethical consequences of business decisions. When analyzing cases from practice and participating in role-playing games, students are faced with ethical dilemmas typical of their actual activities.

The best business schools teach future leaders in the field of economic and commercial activity the ability to solve any ethical problems.


Talking about ethics is based on the following premise: enterprises are obliged to apply a socially responsible approach (social responsibility approach) to decision-making, which is equivalent to socially responsible behavior in business. Proponents of this approach believe that companies have social obligations that are above the goal of maximizing profits. It is argued that corporations are so powerful that they are simply obligated to assume social obligations. Any company should be managed to the benefit of those for whose benefit it exists (stakeholders): consumers, suppliers, employees, local communities, as well as its owners.


Proponents of relativism argue that we are not able to decide what is right or wrong, what is good or evil. In life, something unconditionally black or white is rarely found. Between them are various gradations of gray. According to relativism, ethics are “relative” and depend on the personal, social and cultural circumstances in which the person is. Relativists do not torment themselves with ethical dilemmas, for they do not believe that truth can be found in the darkness of the soul.

The social responsibility of business is a concept according to which enterprises are accountable not only to their owners.

Relativism and its four varieties are grounds for refusing ethical decision-making.

An analysis of individuals for whose good an organization exists is a scheme that allows you to take into account the interests of individuals affected by a business decision.

Day 3. Accounting

Accounting is the language of business. Companies need to inform the world about their performance. The users of accounting information include employees, investors, creditors, consumers, suppliers and professional societies (organizations).

Inside the company, accounting information is a means of monitoring, evaluating and planning operations. Regardless of audience or function, accounting deals with numbers. Accountants (accountants) have access to all information about the activities of the enterprise, which allows you to register operations, take stock and analyze the activities of enterprises. The profession of an accountant has existed since ancient times.

Accounting is able to answer the following fundamental questions about the business:

– What does the company own?

– How much does the company owe to others?

– How effective are the company’s operations?

– How does the company earn money to finance its own activities?

All activities of the company should ultimately be presented in monetary terms, and it is here that accounting comes into effect, like it or not. Although this area may seem boring, you must have a working knowledge of accounting in order to ensure the functioning of your company in the business world. It is known that knowledge is power, therefore, an MBA must have certain knowledge in order to understand the function of accounting. However, even something else is more important – he must be able to request and use the accounting information necessary for making decisions.

However, the purpose of the MBA is not to comprehend complex accounting rules at the expert level. Any business function, including finance, operations, and marketing, is based on digital data provided by accountants, so it is very important to understand the basics of accounting.


There are a lot of rules in accounting. You should not so much remember them as just familiarize yourself with them to the extent that you can communicate with a certified public accountant. Accounting rules serve as a kind of standard, which allows you to compare among themselves the financial statements of companies.

The rules governing accounting are called the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). These rules have been developed for many years and are similar to the precedents in jurisprudence.

As soon as new areas of business activity appear, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) develops

additional rules related to such areas.


The seven principles described below and the vocabulary used to describe them are not a set of laws, but rather useful recommendations on accounting policies that determine all accounting and accounting rules.

  • – Independent business unit;
  • – Cash method and accrual method;
  • – Objectivity;
  • – Conservatism;
  • – Continuity of activity of the accounting object;
  • – The invariability of accounting policies;
  • – Independent business unit.


  • Assets = Liabilities + Equity
  • There are three main and interdependent financial statements: balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement.
  • Accounting records and reports are always balanced.
  • Financial statements can be interpreted using analytical ratios.
  • Performance can be analyzed and managed using the notion of deviations.

This is the essence of accounting in a few words. At a business school, accounting shocked the hearts of free-thinking newcomers with a liberal arts education.

Day 4. Organizational Behavior

In classes on the subject of education, this “sensitive-sensory” topic, applicants for an MBA degree often appear in their true light. Sexism (discrimination based on sex), prejudice and greed raise their disgusting heads in the classroom when seemingly unbiased listeners are accepted for analyzing cases from practice.

What is taught in the classes in the field of study, with good mastery of the material, are skills that can be of the most important in an MBA career?

The inability to interact with people makes the MBA look like a person who has a power tool but no power cord.

Similar to the development of a marketing strategy that involves seven consecutive steps, in the future, a three-stage method for solving organizational problems is proposed.

  1. Definition of the problem.
  2. Analysis
  3. Drawing up an action plan


The MBA program quite logically starts with theories and aspects related to finding an individual in an organization then proceeds to serious organizational problems, which become more complicated the more people they affect.

At the same time, students are offered to practice using the acquired skills of analyzing problems and drawing up plans for solving them for increasingly complicated cases.

In an effort to help students understand why people work at work in one way or another, the MBA program offers for consideration one of the varieties of the UHF model (APCFB model). In this model, an attempt is made on a cognitive basis to link external events with employee behavior. Value assumptions affect the perceptions of people. Conclusions depend on perception.

Conclusions awaken certain feelings. And ultimately, the behavior determines the behavior that managers observe. In an effort to understand this process, an MBA can find the opportunity to initiate its positive behavior and the behavior of its colleagues.


Business schools instill business skills in young women and men and at the same time try to ensure that students have a motivation to maximize their own potential.

In other words, MBAs are taught to be leaders of a new type.

The best MBA business schools call themselves incubators of future business leaders.

It is in this spirit that the EP course approaches leadership problems and the responsibilities of the leader. A leader defines goals. The leader offers new ideas. The leader captivates people on an emotional level. On the contrary, the manager responds to events. The manager solves the problems, and the leader accepts the challenge.

Most importantly, an MBA is required to think before acting. When an MBA needs to act, in order to create a coordinated and effective plan of action, he must carefully analyze the situation, first from the point of view of the individual, and then – in the long term of winning for the organization. MBAs do not in any way teach the profession of an “expert in organizational matters,” but acquaintance with some theories and fundamentals increases his chances of effective action.

Day 5. Quantitative Methods of Business Analysis

The course “Quantitative Methods of Business Analysis” (KMA) is perhaps the most complex and important in the MBA program. He introduces the main tools used primarily in the areas of finance, accounting, marketing, and operations management.

Knowledge of quantitative analysis methods distinguishes MBA from colleagues who did not study in the MBA program. MBA can make a lasting impression on the boss with his sophisticated schemes, diagrams, and expressive language. It is good when the conclusions of the MBA meet the same warm welcome.

The use of quantitative methods of analysis to solve business problems is the main advantage of the MBA. These methods help the MBA to maintain objectivity when working on complex tasks. The theories underlying KMA are not well-formed logical constructions. However, what matters is that they can be used to solve business problems.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that no matter how accurate KMA’s mathematical tools, they will never replace a well-thought-out MVA judgment.

This chapter describes the quantitative methods of business analysis, the functions of which are as follows:

  • – Analysis of complex problems by the method of constructing a decision tree;
  • – Determining the value of cash that is due to be received in the future – analysis using the cash flow method and the method of determining the net present value;
  • – Quantification of uncertainty using probability theory;
  • – Determination of dependencies between variables and forecasting by means of regression analysis and using other forecasting methods.

This is the practical toolkit that MBA uses to solve business problems. The described tools give the MBA the opportunity to show themselves in work and make decisions based on reliable information.

Day 6. Business Finances

Despite the fact that financial business is no longer framed with its former splendor, MBAs are taking root pretty well in this area of ​​activity.

MBAs from leading business schools quickly make a career and get much more than their peers who have not graduated from prestigious business schools.

If you are interested in the financial business, a one-sided perception of this discipline can be detrimental to the health of your business.

Financial business is as important for marketing as marketing is for financial business. The marketer is responsible for the financial results of his activities. The financier spares no effort to offer himself to new customers and sell new shares to old ones.

To put it extremely simply: the financial world performs two main functions, which are to buy and sell. Enterprises need money to work, so they sell either share in their equity (stocks) or securities with a fixed interest (bonds). The investment community evaluates such securities, buys and sells them.

The theoretical basis of financial analysis is the equation that connects risk and reward and shows that the higher the risks, the higher the profitability. Profitability is determined by the size and distribution over time of cash inflows.

The main principle of financial management is to maximize the value of the company by financing its need for cash at the lowest possible cost at the level of risk that management is able to put up with.

Day 7. Operations Management

“Operations Management” is the only course in the MBA program that is directly related to the production of goods and the provision of services, the ultimate goal of the business.

It is with these words that professors specializing in operational production management address newcomers to business schools. But these words must be addressed to deaf ears, because the vast majority of MBAs go into finance, marketing and consulting. Perhaps the recruits of business schools feel insufficiently prepared to receive high salaries at the enterprises and factories from which they came. Perhaps they also think that the MBA looks better in the office at the computer, with a cigar in the mouth and a Waterman fountain pen on the table.

Based on the results of my interviewing newcomers and students, I can argue that the lack of interest in managing operations for both is the main reason for the small number of MBAs associated with direct economic activity.


If someone intends to produce a product or provide a service, he should start by answering five questions that indicate the following problems.

Production Capacity – How Much Can I Produce?

Planning – How am I going to do this?

Stocks – How large are my stocks and how can I reduce them?

Standards – What do I mean by efficient production and quality products?

Control – Is the production process efficient?

Day 8. Economy

The economy is not able to offer you a clear picture of what is happening, but it is able to help you understand the “invisible forces” that underlie the business whirlwind of the world. As in the situation with other topics on the MBA program, a certain level of familiarity with this subject gives a chance to show our colleagues at the office how smart we are!

The economy boasts just a few fundamental concepts. How, in this connection, to explain the emergence of an immense amount of complex scientific literature that attempts to explain periods of ups and downs in business cycles?

Like the Holy Grail, an ideal economic model is an eternally elusive goal that seduces many zealous professors and thousands of private economics doctors. Over the past 100 years, foam from thousands of magical formulas, graphs, and diagrams has remained from their turbulent activity.

The economy is studying how society aligns the limited earthly resources and the limitless appetites of people.

The driving forces in this activity are supply and demand.

At the equilibrium point (E), the market price provides quantitative equality of supply and demand. Suppliers want to sell, and consumers want to buy. Supply becomes equal to demand at a certain price. Such, in a nutshell, is the essence of all economic theory.

Microeconomics is the science of the economic behavior of an individual, family, company and industry.

Macroeconomics is the science of the behavior of the economy as a whole.

Elasticity – a change in demand from buyers due to changes in prices.

Market structure – a competitive environment in the industry, determined by the number of

sellers and product characteristics.

Gross national product – the total number of final goods and services produced by the economy over a certain period of time.

Day 9. Strategy

The “Strategy” course is the most exciting in the MBA program, as it

provides you with a chance to try out acquired knowledge and skills in practice. As a rule, professors insist that the problems of the strategy should be studied after all the basic courses, since their understanding requires basic knowledge in all the disciplines taught by MBA. In the classrooms where the classes on strategy are held, all students are seated in the chair of the chairman of the board of directors, and future MBAs like the new feelings they experience.

Strategic thinking means, among other things, an exhaustive analysis of the enterprise in relation to the industry, competitors and the economic situation in the short and long term. Ultimately, the strategy is the company’s plan to achieve its goals.

Company executives often do not have a clear idea of ​​exactly what they want or how to achieve what they want.

Two independent stages characterize strategic planning: development (formation) and implementation (implementation) of the strategy. Strategy developers always draw up their plans with an eye to their implementation. Thomas J. Peter, who became famous thanks to his book In Search of Excellence, created the Seven S model, which shows that strategy should be woven into the fabric of the organizational structure.

The model is a structure that allows us to consider the company as a whole, diagnose organizational problems, develop and implement a strategy.

If the strategy provides for a radical reorganization, it is called the company’s reengineering strategy; if not foreseen, the organizational tinkering strategy. Seven S (with the letter “S” begins all seven components of the model in English), or model factors, are as follows:

  • Structure
  • Systems
  • Professional capabilities (Skills)
  • Style
  • Staff
  • Higher goals / Common Values ​​(Superordinate Goals / Shared Values)
  • Strategy


The strategy is a very broad concept. Usually, the results of any thoughts that look like a kind of “panorama” are determined as a strategy. In life, everything is more complicated. Three levels of strategy must be taken into account:

  1. Functional strategy – the activity of creating value in which the company participates.
  2. Business strategy – how to deal with competitors, which tactics to choose?
  3. Corporate strategy – what activities should we engage in?

Stuffing a hat of strategy on your head, you must ask yourself: at what level do I intend to think? At the level of a functional, corporate or business strategy?


Signaling is an important strategic tool. It allows you to bring to your competitors what is on your mind. The competing parties to the market signal what they plan to do or what steps to take in response to the actions of a competitor.

Of course, any company can bluff. Signaling is practiced to avoid catastrophic (and costly) price wars. Direct contact with competitors to negotiate prices or distribute markets is against the law!

The legislation prohibits this kind of action. But by applying the method of delivering the necessary signals with their heads, companies are able to achieve the desired result without having to lose time in the courtroom.

Consider the six most common varieties of legal signals.

  1. Price change – a signal of intent and the threat of punishment for unacceptable behavior.
  2. Advance statements are a threat signal, a test of competitors’ resolve and the desire to avoid surprises. In retail, a statement by a strong company that it “will accept any prices of competitors and even lower its own” is tantamount to a powerful signal of the company’s determination to defend its interests. Smaller and stronger competitors should most likely not be drawn into a price competition alone.
  3. Discussions in the media – communication of your arguments in support of the actions taken and informing competitors about what you think.
  4. Counterattack – striking the domestic market of your competitor by lowering prices or conducting a campaign to promote your goods to the market in revenge for the competitor’s attempt to squeeze you out of his market.
  5. Reporting the results – a clear message to competitors about the results of the actions taken to avoid costly misunderstandings. In a market testing situation, a manufacturer could notify of an undoubted failure in the hope of keeping competitors from counterattacking on its other products with stable sales. During price wars, a competitor could report that it is undertaking price reductions only for a limited period of time so that its actions are not interpreted as a signal of its intention to keep low prices for a long time.
  6. Litigation – the intention to have a competitor bogged down in a quagmire of litigation.


The world is becoming increasingly economically interdependent. The West is trying to integrate the former Soviet empire; Europe is attempting a certain unification. For this reason, strategic planning at the global level is on the agenda.

MBAs launched the word globalization. This is a rather vague term, but it refers to a “hot” topic, so efforts are being made to introduce the word “global” in all MBA courses and texts.

The possibility of globalization depends on the classification of the industry in which the enterprise operates. If the industry is national in nature, then you can successfully work without fear of encountering large multinational corporations (MNCs), which can suddenly attack and either try to carry out a hostile takeover or, in a sense, start a competitive struggle.

Forces contributing to globalization:

  • – Improving communications and transport – fax, cable networks, satellites,
  • supersonic aircraft.
  • – Easing restrictions on trade – reducing tariffs, duties, introducing uniform rules.
  • – Consumer needs merging – people around the world are starting to acquire similar tastes.
  • – The complexity and change of technology – the emergence of high-tech industries are associated with huge investments and global efforts to keep pace with rapid progress.

Forces opposing globalization:

  • – Coordination costs – an increase in the number of managers, communication costs.
  • – Geographic restrictions – transport and logistics difficulties associated with activities in large regions.
  • – National differences – taste preferences, differences in use, media, language, distribution channels.
  • – Protectionism – the adoption of protective tariffs and rules, the provision of
  • state subsidies to national enterprises.


As I pointed out at the beginning of this chapter, to develop a strategy without thinking about its

implementation is to waste time. MBAs like to talk about strategic changes, but implementing them is far from easy.

A smart quote will not help. Unlike what some pundits would like to make you believe, only tactics or a deft move do not form a strategy; strategy is what determines how the company as a “total whole” works to achieve its goals.

Managers do not come up with or implement a strategy in one day.

Managers are required to establish which factors are under their control and over which they are not in control. Controlled MBA factors are called action levers. Strategists must also consider reality – people resist change.

They should choose real goals, draw up a plan of action and plan activities in case things go wrong as intended.

The strategy is dynamic. Managers are required to constantly analyze their strategy so that it always reflects changes in the business world and in the company, as well as a change in goals.

The source of competitive advantage is the implementation of a flexible strategy that competitors cannot easily replicate.

Day 10. Mini-courses in the MBA program

As they say, information is power. That is why in business schools operating under the MBA program, students are taught research skills.

The research will be effective and productive if you know where to look for

information. Having put a little more effort in your work, you, a newly minted MBA in 10 days, may suddenly be visited by a brilliant conjecture, or you will suddenly discover a fact that eludes the attention of your less diligent colleagues.

If you need facts, for example, about a competitor, a certain person or industry, you should look for them as described below.

  1. The Internet. What previously could only be obtained in the university library is now available to everyone who has Internet access.
  2. Books. Standard & Poor * s Industry Surveys – This two-volume volume is a brilliant, modern and in-depth analysis of twenty leading industries.
  3. Encyclopedias are probably the most actively avoided source of quickly found and compact information. It’s never too late to make a rule to drop by Encarta or Encyclopedia Britannica.
  4. Interview. Information can always be obtained by talking to people. The biggest mistake – ending the conversation, do not ask who else you can turn for help. After talking with insiders from different companies or industries, you can inadvertently mention a name, it is easier to untie the language of your next interlocutors. Calling the one they already know, you make the conversation more relaxed, and your interlocutors will generously share information with you.
  5. Trade fairs. If you really want to know the industry, visit its annual trade fairs. In one place you will see all the major players and the latest products.

Keep your finger on the pulse of time!

The Final Words

Everyone who would like to attend one of the ten best business schools preparing the Masters of Business Administration (MBA) today has a worthy alternative – Silbiger’s book “MBA in 10 Days”. It outlines the basics of the Master of Business Administration program. The book is interesting, informative, and as a means of

mastering the necessary qualifications and knowledge is definitely cheaper.


Like the case study method used in almost all the best business schools, the book “MBA in 10 days” helps the reader to learn topic by topic, using educational material to solve real business problems. The book is required as a preparatory guide for the business school or as an independent mini-source of information needed by the Master of Business Administration.

Everyone who would like to attend one of the ten best business schools preparing the Masters of Business Administration (MBA) today has a worthy alternative – Silbiger’s book “The Ten-Day MBA”. It outlines the basics of the Master of Business Administration program. The book is interesting, informative, and as a means mastering the necessary qualifications and knowledge is definitely cheaper.

Why You Should Read “The Ten-Day MBA”

  • To become a successful  executive and manager
  • To get a complete picture of the standards of modern business education
  • To save tons of time and money and applying it after reading

This book is available as:

AudiobookeBook | Print