A few years ago, I wrote a post on my personal blog about MBA courses. I have a great deal of respect for the top-flight MBA courses based, in part, on how difficult I found the business-school courses I took during my graduate degree. I'm well aware of the stereotypes prevalent in the startup and online worlds, but I believe there is a lot of benefit to marketers having a strong understanding of how businesses function.
Recently, I've been thinking about how to build this into our training and development at Distilled; I think that our consultative approach needs this kind of awareness even more than most.
This post is designed to give you the building blocks needed to grow your capabilities in this area. Think of it as a cross between a recommended reading list and a home study guide.Personal development: a personal responsibility
I've written before about the difference between learning and training, and how I believe that individuals should take a high degree of ownership over their own development. In an area like this, where it's unlikely to be a core functional responsibility, it's even more likely that you will need to dedicate your own time and effort to building your capabilities.Start with financial basics
I may well be biased by my own experiences, but I believe that, by starting with the financial fundamentals, you gain a deeper understanding of everything that comes afterwards. My own financial education started before high school:My dad used to give me simple arithmetic tasks based around the financials of his own business before I was old enough to be allowed to answer the phone (when my voice broke!)At college, I took some informal entrepreneurial courses as well as elected to study a few hardcore mathematical finance subjects during grad schoolAfter college, I worked as a "consultant" (really, a developer) for a financial software company and got my first real introduction to P&Ls, general ledgers, balance sheets, and so forthBefore starting Distilled, I worked as a management consultant and learnt to build financial models and business cases (though the most memorable lesson of this era is that big businesses just have more zeros in the model