30 November 2022

Three TV Series that reflect My MBA Journey so far 

Author: Davide Ritorto - International Part Time MBA alumnus 
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Just kidding, there will be no spoilers in this “nerdy” article.

After a long day of work, study, and sport (what else?!), I often turn to some Netflix to chill a bit before going to bed. Recently, on one of these occasions I asked myself: “Which are the TV series that would best recall my MBA experience?”.

I know, it seems I can’t think of anything else other than my MBA journey during this period. Maybe it’s true.

So, without further ado, let’s list the three TV series that best reflect my MBA experience. I will try to find parallels with some of the courses I’ve already attended.
Disclaimer: please don’t take this literally 🙂

The Office (US, 2005, 9 Seasons)

The first time you watch The Office, you love it.
The second time you watch The Office, you fall in love with it.
The third time you watch The Office, it grows on you.

The Office is an American (actually inspired by the original British series) mockumentary sitcom that depicts the everyday working lives of office employees at the Scranton branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. The Office is so wholesome and refreshing. Each character is as unique as it can get. The setting, the situations, the developments… all are quite ordinary. Yet, they are so relatable and engaging that you can’t help shedding a tear or breaking into laughter each time.

Everyone I know who has watched it ended up subconsciously memorizing and repeating the dialogue, up to the point of finding the show’s references in everyday situations (even in MBA ones).
The Office especially reminds me of the People Management course, during which we gained the tools to recognize basic dynamics about individual and team behaviors within organizations, which are recognizable also in the development of this fantastic TV show’s plot. Actually, I have even found an article by inc.com named “10 Things ‘The Office’ Taught Us About Managing People”.
Indeed, what makes The Office special are the different personalities of the characters and how they interact with each other.

Ultimately, it reminds me of the common goal of MBA students: to become the “World’s Best Boss” and hopefully not only the “Assistant to the Regional Manager” (like Dwight Schrute).

Sherlock(UK, 2010, 4 Seasons)

I think everyone knows Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock is a British mystery crime drama television series based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Smart, unpredictable, and terrifically written, Sherlock puts a contemporary spin on the legendary detective, thanks in part to a commanding lead performance from Benedict Cumberbatch.
Sherlock reminds me of the Innovation Leadership Course. Specifically, it reminds me of the light bulbs analogy by Professor Roberto Verganti in his TEDx Talk, when he says that we live in a world overcrowded by ideas: “Nowadays, most of the times the big idea is in front of us, but we cannot see it. Not because it’s too dark (as it was in the past), but because there is too much light (ideas).”

The right ideas are difficult to spot without a true inside-out meaning and the right dose of criticism.

This is exactly what makes Sherlock successful as a detective. He solves intricate cases not with an outside-in approach, but with an inside-out one. Starting from his vision, he then also has a perfect “sparring partner” like Watson, who often challenges Sherlock’s intuitions, making him find the right direction.

Ozark (US, 2017, 4 Seasons)

Probably one of the best shows I’ve seen so far, this drama series stars Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde, a financial planner who relocates his family from Chicago to a summer resort community in the Ozarks. With wife Wendy and their two kids in town, Marty is on the move after a money-laundering scheme goes wrong, forcing him to pay off a substantial debt to a Mexican drug lord in order to keep his family safe. While the Byrdes’ fate hangs in the balance, the critical circumstances force the fractured family to reconnect. Marty’s “diversified business” grows along with his ambitions as he gets creative in eliminating the competition, forging alliances to stay ahead of the curve, and protecting his partners through the storm.

Ozark reminds me of a lot of courses, but in particular the Strategy and Corporate Finance ones.

“I think most people just have a fundamentally flawed view of money,”… “Patience, frugality, sacrifice. When you boil it down, what do these things have in common? … Money is, at its essence, that measure of a man’s choices.” – Marty Byrde

During the Strategy course we gained useful insights into how to create, choose and implement strategic decisions, starting from the fundamental purpose of a company. These patterns are also recognizable in Byrde’s Family Business, where strategic and tactical decisions (especially those taken by Wendy) will allow them to gain the respect of Navarro’s Cartel, something which will be crucial in the development of the story.

On the other hand, with Professor Franco Quillico we discussed Financial Projections, Projects and Company Valuation methods with a focus on M&A Deals.
These reminded me of Ozark, where, in order to diversify his money laundering business, Marty Byrde goes through a lot of merger and acquisition deals, choosing his partners wisely, and also going through some “hostile deals”.


30 November 2022

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