Return to Developing a Personal Manifesto

Personal MBA


Now that we are done with presenting at AERA, how amazing was that? Using your experience with taking lead in social and academic settings, we want to introduce the concept of Personal MBA as a part of your road to Personal Manifesto.

For this task, we are going to step out of educational settings and delve into the business world. When one thinks about leadership, inevitably the business world comes to mind. If you have been in a bookstore lately (we know they are a dying breed!) you will know that there are aisles upon aisles of books on leadership. (Or if you prefer Amazon, over 169,000 books that come up when you search for “leadership.”) In this unit, we are going to explore resources outside of the educational literature to see what insights we can gain from other disciplines.

We could spend countless hours watching great TED Talks on leadership, but let’s narrow our focus to this TED talk from Roselinde Torres.  Roselinde is a senior partner and managing director for the Boston Consulting Group.  The Boston Consulting Group is one of the largest private companies in the U.S.A.

Watch her talk here:


Roselinde leaves us with 3 questions in her talk:

  1.  Where are you looking to anticipate change?
  2.  What is the diversity measure of your network?
  3.  Are you courageous enough to abandon the past?


Keep these questions in mind as we explore this next resource, the Personal MBA. Moreover, we encourage you to consider and explore resources from the business world. How are lessons relevant to business also relevant to education – and at what point is leadership in educational settings simply different from the business world? In all, we encourage you to embrace resources relevant to leadership in the business world, while at the same time always considering what aspects are relevant to educational settings and which are not.

Josh Kaufman’s The Personal MBA

A few years ago, our MAET program director Dr. Leigh Graves Wolf came across an interesting resource at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference called “The Personal MBA” or PMBA for short.  The PMBA was developed by Josh Kaufman in 2005 and it has gone through several iterations over the past decade.

Kaufman writes that “The Personal MBA (PMBA) is a project designed to help you educate yourself about advanced business concepts. This manifesto will show you how to substantially increase your knowledge of business on your own time and with little cost, all without setting foot inside a classroom.” Take some time to browse through the current site, however, for the core of this lecture we would like you to focus on reading one of the original iterations of the PMBA which was published in September of 2005.

You can see the updated list of PMBA recommended readings by going to:  The original resource is clearly organized and has a bit different feel over the web version.  We ask you to read the original so you can get an idea of where this idea started, and where it is now. Before reading the manifesto, listen to this brief interview Leigh conducted with Kaufman in 2011:

Read: PersonalMBA.pdf

Before moving on to the next lecture, take a bit of time to search YouTube for some videos of Josh – use these videos to formulate your ideas and opinions of the PMBA as a resource for leadership in education.

Great leaders excel at identifying their own strengths and weaknesses, and that is just what you’re going to do this week. The PMBA manifesto is an interesting, valuable and well-organized resource, one that we will revisit as we begin to write our own Personal Manifesto and absorb its ideas into our own leadership traits. Therefore, read PMBA carefully to look for inspirations for your personal manifesto.