12 Favorite Business Movies Of MBAs

It’s A Wonderful Life

Some additional movies cited by this year’s Best & Brightest MBAs:

Barbershop shows an African-American businessman and barber (Ice Cube) who is juggling the stresses of keeping his business above water while maintaining the morale and performance of his staff, solidifying his family’s financial security, and protecting his storefront from the waywardness of the inner-city. It also touches on social responsibility as he attempts to be a beacon of hope to his community.”

Christopher Staten, University of Pittsburgh (Katz)

Margin Call. While it is a highly dramatized version of the 2008 financial crisis, I think it is an interesting historical fiction that can remind us why personal responsibility is essential to the economy. Lack of responsibility, accountability, misaligned incentives and generally poor ethical behavior can have massive impacts on firms and our society as a whole.”

Francis Varrichio, New York University (Stern)

The Wizard of Lies, and not just because I am fascinated with Bernie Madoff, but because it dives into how the pyramid scheme began and how hard it was for Bernie to pivot out of it. As an accounting undergrad I learned about setting moral boundaries, but the Bernie Madoff story exemplifies everything we learned.”

Mohamed Hrezi, Michigan State (Broad)

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. I am not a native Houstonian. Before arriving at Rice, I had a vague idea about the Enron scandal. During my time here, I can’t help but notice the negative impact that the Enron scandal had on the personal lives and the energy industry in Houston. Ethical and sustainable practice in business is a real thing. Jeffrey Skilling may have been the smartest guy in the room, but his of lack a moral and ethical backbone had real consequences for real people.”

Stuart Crockford, Rice University (Jones)

Jobs: True success is staying true to your passions and persisting despite setbacks.”

Rachel Curtis, Arizona State (W. P. Carey)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. At one point in the film, Butch Cassidy’s gunslinger partner, the Sundance Kid, tells him, ‘You just keep thinkin’, Butch. That’s what you’re good at.’ Lesson: know what you’re good at and what you’re not, and surround yourself with people that complement your skills.”

David James, Babson College (Olin)

“I watch It’s A Wonderful Life each year around Christmas and am always reminded to focus on what’s important in life: family, friends, and being a good neighbor to those around you. George chooses to put everyone above himself, and at the point of appearing to lose everything, the entire town comes to his rescue because of how much he has done for them over the years.”

Clayton Cooper, Penn State (Smeal)

“In the spirit of work-life balance, I don’t watch movies about business. My favorite movie is Mrs. Doubtfire though. If I had to derive a business lesson from it, maybe it would be ‘Fake it ‘til you make it.’”

Ariana Almas, University of Michigan (Ross)

The King’s Speech. Lionel Logue didn’t pander to the whims of King George VI, and he didn’t compromise his methods to extract extra value from a wealthy client. He cared about actually helping the king, and that was more important than prestige, money, or glory. Logue is a noble example of how doing what’s right for our customers — be they a small boy with a lisp or the king of one of the most powerful nations on Earth — is the right decision for your business, and the moral thing to do.”

Hosanna Odhner, Yale SOM


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