• Savannah Hobbs

Listen to These 5 Business Podcasts Instead of Getting an MBA

To grad school or not to grad school, that is the question. At least that’s the question for many of us.

I personally struggled with this decision for years. Having always seen myself as someone with a Master’s degree, I felt compelled to go back to school and level up my education. On the other hand, math is hard. I would stare at the quantitative sections of my study manual for hours, sitting in my own dread for those pesky multiple choice questions.

Whether you’re on the fence or have decided that the tuition bill isn’t worth it, check out these five podcasts that will give you a taste, if not an entire meal, of business-y jargon and case studies that you can bring back to the office.

1. After Hours

Hosted by Youngme Moon, Mihir Desai and Felix Oberholzer-Gee

Brought to you by Harvard Business Review, this podcast acts as a roundtable discussion between three Harvard Business School professors who just can’t get enough of the business world. You’ll find a discussion that ranges from trendy companies looking to IPO to weeds-y analyses of China’s Social Credit system.

The friendly banter between these good friends will soothe your need for real talk about the biggest business trends happening week to week. It’s an oddly heartwarming podcast that will put you in the right mood on the way to work.

2. How I Built This

Hosted by Guy Raz

Any fan of TED Talks knows the voice of Guy Raz. After being the host of NPR’s TED podcast for years, Guy started another venture with NPR where he enthusiastically interviews founders and CEOs who made it big. You can hear Guy’s wide-eyed wonder come through the speakers as he asks fairly softball questions to the founders of companies like Airbnb, Shopify and Dyson.

The best thing about this podcast is Guy’s focus on hurdles entrepreneurs had to overcome in order to get their business where it is today. It’s refreshing and inspiring to hear these leaders trudge through their most difficult times and come out on the other end with millions in the bank. Plus, it’ll give you great tidbits of information you can use to impress your colleagues at the next brainstorming meeting.

3. Masters of Scale

Hosted by Reid Hoffman

You likely recognize Reid’s name from the elite “PayPal Mafia,” the group of six who started PayPal and then took their winnings to start a slew of other enormously profitable companies such as Tesla, LinkedIn, YouTube and others. Reid himself went from PayPal to founding LinkedIn and now sits back in his cushy $1.9-billion-net-worth chair and interviews the biggest names in tech to see what they’re up to.

This podcast is all about scale, so expect to see leaders from Netflix, Google, Facebook, Nike and more on the roster. It’s great to hear some of these executives get star struck talking to Reid, reminding us that millionaires are still just people too. Reid’s easy interview style with each guest makes this podcast a must-subscribe for any business aficionado.

4. WorkParty

Hosted by Jaclyn Johnson

Do you have the entrepreneurial spirit? Then this is the podcast for you. This podcast is the brainchild of Jaclyn Johnson, the founder of Create & Cultivate, a digital and in-person community for boss babes across the country.

On this podcast, Jaclyn shares her stories as well as interviews with other women who have made it big or are still hustling their way up to the top. This is a great podcast for inspirational stories mixed with practical advice for taking the world by storm. Plus you get to hear how other women have overcome obstacles and brought their business ideas to life.

5. Masters in Business

Hosted by Barry Ritholtz

Hosted by Bloomberg Opinion columnist Barry Ritholtz, this podcast presents an interview format designed for the business enthusiast. Contrary to the easier-to-swallow podcasts like “How I Built This” that pretty much anyone can enjoy, this one is for the nerds.

Barry gets deep with guests about everything from portfolio management to fixed income to monetary policy. Don’t expect to see as many flashy names as you do on the other podcasts, but do prepare for a deeper discussion about a wide variety of topics that will titillate any true business obsessive.

This list is not even the tip of the iceberg for business podcasts. After giving these broader programs a listen, try looking for ones that suit your area of expertise. There are a number of podcasts that dive deep into everything from finance to marketing to retail.

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