The Portable MBA

The Portable MBA

The Portable MBA

The Portable MBA


A totally revised new edition of the bestselling guide to business school basics

The bestselling book that invented the "MBA in a book" category, The Portable MBA Fifth Edition is a reliable and information-packed guide to the business school curriculum and experience. For years, professionals who need MBA-level information and insight-but don't need the hassle of business school-have turned to the Portable MBA series for the very best, most up-to-date coverage of the business basics.

This new revised and expanded edition continues that long tradition with practical, real-world business insight from faculty members from the prestigious Darden School at the University of Virginia. With 50 percent new material, including new chapters on such topics as emerging economies, enterprise risk management, consumer behavior, managing teams, and up-to-date career advice, this is the best Portable MBA ever.

  • Covers all the core topics you'd learn in business school, including finance, accounting, marketing, economics, ethics, operations management, management and leadership, and strategy.
  • Every chapter is totally updated and seven new chapters have been added on vital business topics
  • Includes case studies and interactive web-based examples

Whether you own your own small business or work in a major corporate office, The Portable MBA gives you the comprehensive information and rich understanding of the business world that you need.


The first edition of The Portable MBA was published January 1, 1990. Many changes have occurred across the business landscape over the ensuing two decades, and we have updated our readers about the more salient events with each new edition of this book. In fact, much has happened since 2004 when the fourth edition was published, and we will put those extraordinary events in perspective in the second section of this Preface. Before discussing the past five years of business history, however, there are a number of improvements in this revision that you should know about.

The Fifth Edition

Whether you already have a master of business administration (MBA) degree and are looking for a refresher or you are thinking about entering an MBA program in the near future, you will find this book to be a highly useful resource. To start with, The Portable MBA allows you walk the walk of learning the concepts of business. Reading through these chapters and working through the examples provided is the best way for you to get a sneak preview of the feature-length production. Many of the chapters include examples that are available for you to use live on John Wiley & Sons’ web site. Simply go to the web site ( and click the example of interest to see how the numbers were created. Change an assumption for the problem and see how it affects the final answer. True learning comes from the doing, not the watching, and these live examples allow you to experience some of the analytical work required of MBA students. The more you can reinforce concepts by putting them into action, the better you will be able to use those concepts to improve your decision-making skills and to become a more effective leader in the world of business.

While you are on the web site, you will have the opportunity to meet the author team by observing us teach in our classrooms. Our hope is that these videos will serve to give a personal touch to the words we have written in the chapters that follow. Also, you will gain an appreciation for the classroom experience for an MBA program. We will have more to say about the experience of earning an MBA in the next chapter.

As part of our desire to put you in the MBA experience, many of the chapters show how the materials presented relate to specific courses in top-rated programs. For example, Chapter 5, Financial Management, presents the content of a core course in corporate finance, which is part of all MBA programs, albeit under different titles. At the University of Chicago there are two courses, Introductory Finance and Corporation Finance, that cover the theory and practice of finance. At Harvard the courses are called Finance I

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