Along with developing a broader array of knowledge and skills, outside-the-B-school education provides a selling point in the job quest, McAuley says. With young people’s interest in startups skyrocketing in recent years, recruiters at promising new companies can take their pick of brilliant job seekers. An applicant for a full-time position or internship who has broken from B-school convention and gained knowledge applicable to a specific position shows intellectual curiosity as well as good sense, McAuley says. “You’ll show them that you’re the kind of person that realizes that there’s more to learn about the world than what you’re being taught within these walls,” he says. “A lot of things go into convincing them that you are that very specific person for that very specific role, and part of that is going to be taking these classes and using those other resources that other people aren’t doing.”
For MBA-program applicants, McAuley recommends research into target universities’ non-business programs in areas that would bolster knowledge in an applicant’s target career field. Admissions committees, he notes, hear endlessly from would-be MBAs bubbling over with enthusiasm to learn from celebrity B-school profs. Adcoms are bound to be impressed by an applicant with a concrete plan to access non-MBA educational resources relevant to the field they say they plan to enter, McAuley proposes. “It’s got to help you stand out,” he says.
‘SEVEN BOOKS EVERY MBA STUDENT NEEDS TO READ’
More work remains for building up a useful and impressive knowledge base, and again, McAuley advocates embracing additional self-education supplemental to B-school, in books by thought leaders and tech-sector experts. In a publication history that includes “Is US Insider Trading Still Relevant? A Quantitative Portfolio Approach” in the Journal of Investment Management, and a number of white papers and trend reports for Verus, Thomson Reuters, and Penton Media, McAuley has recently published a startup-specific reading list on Medium.com, the publishing platform started by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams. “Seven Books Every MBA Student Needs to Read” includes selections McAuley read or listened to before, during, and after his summer work. One of the publications is not a book, but a recommended collection of blog posts.
In the Medium piece, McAuley writes by way of an introduction, “I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have spent my summer in Palo Alto, California, interning on the data science team at Wealthfront, a startup innovating in the financial services sector. I learned an incredible amount over those 12 weeks, not only about the job I was doing but about the many other areas of our business that are crucial to building a world class company.
WHAT AN MBA PROGRAM WON’T TEACH YOU
“And while I had fantastic resources and opportunities to learn about startups and hypergrowth companies during my first year through Wharton and Wharton FinTech, living and working in Silicon Valley showed me that there is so much that goes into making a successful technology company that my peers and I don’t get exposure to as MBA students.”
Here’s McAuley’s list, with excerpts from his explanations of their value to the startup-inclined:
• The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz, co-founder and partner at VC titan Andreessen Horowitz