Ten Books every student must read before Graduating

1. How will you measure your life? by Clayton M. Christensen

If the decisions you make about where you invest your blood, sweat, and tears are not consistent with the person you aspire to be, you’ll never become that person.

Especially if you are ambitious by nature, your vision can be clouded by the biased definition of success prevalent in our society. So much so that you might completely lose track of what is important and what is not for being happy. A good book, simply written with good case studies. The fact that it is written by HBS Professor shows how badly MBAs need a reality check.

2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you

I wish I read this earlier. We think we can change the world by ourselves, in our isolated identities. But later you realize, life is about people and relationships. Even professional success is determined more by your ability to connect than pre talent. Everybody must know how to make friends and how to be agreeable. Period.

3. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.

Either you understand money because your Dad was good at it and taught you or you will struggle rest of your life trying to find it. Our education trains us to be good employees, not successful. Money comes from a different mindset and Kiyosaki does a good job at setting the stage. What this book does well is piquing your curiosity in personal finance.

4. Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest & Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics by Henry Hazlitt

Everything we get, outside of the free gifts of nature, must in some way be paid for. The world is full of so- called economists who in turn are full of schemes for getting something for nothing. They tell us that the government can spend and spend without taxing at all; that it can continue to pile up debt without ever paying it off, because “we owe it to ourselves.”

It debunks some of the most widespread economics beliefs. Whether you intend to work in a related field or not, I feel you must possess a working understanding of money, finance and economy.

5. Exponential Organizations by Salim Ismail

Today, if you’re not disrupting yourself, someone else is; your fate is to be either the disrupter or the disrupted. There is no middle ground.

Highly relevant in the world of fast moving tech startups that you cannot ignore.

6. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.

Because everything cannot be rationalized. Do not lose touch with magic as you move into the world of adults.

7. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body. The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?

Because everyone craves for love and struggles with keeping it. It is a sublime novel on humans and love and how things are anything but simple. And language is decadent. My writing improved after reading this, I swear.

8. Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That’s what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul — would you understand why that’s much harder?

Because there is a time to think irrationally and be driven by your inner fire. As you grow and mature up, you will realize how impractical this book is. Nonetheless, when you are touching your twenties, you want to change the world. And you should read what Howard Roark did.

9. A book from your geography

Then I would recommend reading a good book that talks about the economy and current state of your the society wherever you hail from. Know what is happening and why. It is good to know your roots well.

10. HBR articles and booklets

HBR gives you wisdom in nuggets, easily digestible format. Pick your topic and dig in. I loved their series on Communication.

A good starting point could be — https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-must-read-Harvard-Business-Review-posts-articles

High School, College, Grad School — these are the best times of your life. These books can make it all the more rich and worth cherishing. Enjoy!

How to create resume for internships in Grad School?

There is plenty of advice out there about resumes. And, some of it contradicts. Some people recommend creating a visual resume that stands out. Some say that your resume should be primarily text.

It all matters in different situations.

Let us focus on grad school internships for now. If you are applying for grad school, then look at my earlier post (includes a free template to download). Ok, so internships are about relevant projects and primarily your work experience. That is what you need to highlight.

Instead of generic gyaan, I am critiquing three real resumes to better understand what kind of mistakes to avoid. You will have to watch the video for that, don’t worry its pretty short.

Key things to remember

  1. Most of the space should be used on relevant professional experience.
  2. Don’t forget to mention the projects and coursework you are currently taking in school.
  3. Don’t forget to mention your LinkedIn profile (and make sure its up to date).
  4. Use the keywords mentioned in the job description.
  5. Keep the formatting (font sizes and spacing) readable.

There you go, I will do few more videos on resume soon. Stay tuned and don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel.

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Average MBA salary in USA, Europe and India?

As per the 2018 QS TopMBA report, 2017 reported a 13% increase in MBA hiring with USA paying average MBA salary of $102,100 (a dip from last year) and Europe offering $85,500 (up from last year). In other continents, Australia remains a lucrative employer almost matching USA with a package of $98,400. India remains behind with packages of $66,500.

How much does an average MBA earn in USA, Europe and India?

Let us see the compensation trends by functions and industry (src: QS TopMBA.com).

Average MBA Salary Levels by Region for 2016-17 period

RegionAvg SalaryAvg Total Compensation
Africa & Middle East$78,200$90,700
Eastern Europe & Central Asia$57,000$69,100
Latin America$62,500$75,900
US & Canada$98,900$116,300
Western Europe$85,500$101,300

Average MBA Salary Levels by Countries of interest for 2016-17 period

CountryMBA SalaryTotal Compensation
United States$102,100$120,900

Next, let us look at MBA Hiring by Industries

Industry%MBAs HiredAvg MBA Salary

What does it mean?

The growth in ‘Other’ sector points to Millenials opting for diverse roles after MBA including Entrepreneurship in non traditional industries.

Studying the older reports of MBA salaries, I see overall a flat or even dip in average salaries in last 3-4 years. The higher salaries in North America and Western Europe and Australia hover just around the six-figure mark (variation pointing out to the volatile bonuses). Bonuses form almost 20% of the compensations and come in form of signing and performance-related bonuses.

MBA hiring in traditional sectors such as Finance and Consulting, unsurprisingly, sees slower growth but packages remain high. While USA and Western Europe saw the highest (35%) hiring in Technology sector, Asia Pacific saw 25% hiring in Others and 16% in Consulting. Finance has been big in Latin America (20%).

Among other worth-noting trends:

  • Employers want more from MBA hires in terms of leadership and interpersonal skills.
  • Greatest proportion of employers look for 3-5 or 1-3 years’ experience level.


To summarize, MBAs continue to command six figure average salaries for traditional roles in Finance, and Consulting. Technology hiring is on a rise in mature markets but the overall employment and salary growth that was expected 3-4 years ago has not delivered. While MBA will remain a solid career option, don’t expect the frenzy seen in early part of this century.

What do you think? Has this encouraged you or discouraged from your MBA plans?

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How you can get into Research after MS and contact Professors for PhD?


Asha Shibu (LinkedIn profile) pursued MS Energy at TAMU but managed to head to Oak Ridge National Lab as a research intern/engineer. Now, she is applying for PhD with promising responses from Professors. Her review of MS Energy program is available on https://scholarstrategy.github.io/ssreview

She tells her story of getting into a research lab directly after MS. In this interview with her, we cover:

  1. How to explore research options from MS?
  2. Do you have to decide about PhD right away?
  3. What matters when choosing a PhD program to apply to?
  4. Commentary on job prospects in Power and Energy field in USA

How to contact Professors if you are applying for a PhD position?

As a bonus, Asha talks about how she has successfully been contacting targeted Professors in her area. She gracefully shares the email that she used herself to get responses.

Subject: Research on Building Energy Efficiency – Prospective Student

Dear Dr. ____,

My name is Asha Shibu and I’m an Energy graduate from Texas A&M University, currently working as Research Assistant at Oak Ridge National Lab. I’m writing to express my interest in your research on Energy efficient buildings at University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

My master’s coursework provided me with an interdisciplinary understanding of multiple aspects of the field, ranging from an overview of energy technologies; to multi-scale energy systems engineering methods; to energy economics, law, security, policy, and societal impact. During my coursework, I also worked at the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) at Texas A&M University, a Department of Energy (DOE) funded program. In this position, I was trained to assess manufacturing plants and to identify measures that would save energy, reduce waste, enhance productivity, and reduce operating costs. As an Energy Engineer at IAC, I conducted ASHRAE Level I-II energy audits that resulted in $730,000 in recommended savings to date, and I developed practical skills in thermal systems, electrical power systems, building envelopes, HVAC, combustion systems, and lighting. The training I received at the IAC, along with courses such as “Energy Efficiency in Buildings,” sparked my interest in energy efficiency and sustainable energy resources utilized in commercial and residential buildings, and my desire to be involved in the field’s ongoing research led me to work for the Oak Ridge National Lab after graduation. As a researcher, I realize the importance of collaborating with others in the field, and at the same time, of an ability to work independently. Currently, I’m working on two DOE projects, and my interaction with the Energy Efficiency Research and Analysis Group at ORNL has sharpened my appetite for further knowledge in Building Technologies field and this is one area I could see myself exploring further in research as a graduate student.

I will be applying to Ph.D. program in Building Systems offered by University of Massachusetts-Amherst and would very much like the opportunity to join your group. Will you be accepting applications for new graduate students for entry in Fall 2018?

Thank you very much for your time. I hope we have the chance to speak about research in the near future.

Asha Shibu
ASTRO Student
Energy Efficiency Research and Analysis Group (EERA)

For more info on how to contact Professors, please check out MS Book.

So, without further ado, here is the interview with Asha Shibu.

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