Check out these 10 movies and television shows that offer insights for MBA students.

I believe that some movies and shows give us a window to look out at the world in new ways. Peering through these windows, I see the diversity of ideas and culture in the world. I understand why ever-expanding my horizons with an open mind is so critical for personal and professional growth.

And I know that I’ve spent my time wisely. I learned something that can make my life better. As an entrepreneur working on my MBA, it also shows me how I can better others’ lives through business. And, sorry, Hulu and other streaming services, I didn’t have to look much further than Netflix to find an abundance of mind-expanding, life-affirming, growth mentality content. (But I left no stone unturned and threw in a few inspirational shows that aren’t on Netflix.) I recommend you check out these 10 movies and shows:

1.    Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What It’s About:

Did you ever wonder what makes an innovator and business leader like Bill Gates tick? The Decoding Bill Gates docu-series illuminates the mind of the genius. It shows how he combines passion with planning and execution to get results. On top of that, the series explores Bill’s enthusiasm for taking-on a seemingly impossible foe—climate change and his vision for more sustainable business practices now and into the future.

How it Helped Me with my MBA:

It’s enthralling to see how uber-creative people think. I enjoyed seeing how he takes an abstract idea and turns it into something real that millions of people need and love. After watching this, I felt motivated to get focused, learn everything I could about my industry, and not to settle for just good enough, to always aim for greatness.

He also re-affirmed my commitment to sustainable business practices as the way into the future.

2.    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What It’s About:

In The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, a kid named William Kamkwamba saves his town from famine through his passion, innovation, and determination. When his quest begins, he knows the problems: drought, famine, deforestation, and destructive floods. He doesn’t know what the answer is, but he’s determined to find it. Through this one boy’s hard work, he delivers prosperity to his village.

How it Helped Me with my MBA:

This inspiring story is about creative problem-solving and never giving up. William takes risks along the way, and some things don’t work out, but he learns from it and keeps moving forward. This speaks to me as an entrepreneur in so many ways. Risk is just part of business. We need to learn from those who came before us and find new, better ways to apply that knowledge to solve the world’s problems.

3.    The Founder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What It’s About:

Spoiler Alert. It’s about McDonald’s. In it, the charismatic and often ruthless Ray Kroc forges his empire on the premise that standardization, innovation, and determination are the keys to cutting cost, maximizing ROI (Return on Investment), scaling quickly, and building a brand people love.

How it Helped Me with my MBA:

Regardless of how you feel about this company specifically, The Founder is a business and life lesson. It forced me to think about what kind of leader I want to be and to what extent I would go to make it happen. Am I hungry enough for success?

4.    Jiro Dreams of Sushi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What It’s About:

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is about commitment to perfection and expecting nothing less from those around you. Jiro creates food art worthy of museum placement, but it’s temporary. It will be eaten in less than an hour. He never stops perfecting his technique, which has allowed him to deliver a sushi experience that the average diner pays $300 to enjoy.

How it Helped Me with my MBA:

People will pay an outrageous premium for the perfect product, especially if you make it an experience. The film also puts on display the relationship between a father and a son who he is training to inherit his legacy, which makes me think about building a legacy for future children someday and how I would respond if their passion lies elsewhere.

5.    The Office

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What It’s About:

The Office is an office-life mockumentary that follows the work and personal lives of people at a paper company. This hilarious and often irreverent multi-season show puts on display the personality conflicts, connections, and struggles found in many businesses. It tackles real issues like succession planning, failed leadership, harassment, race relations, business failure, nepotism, and digital transformation. But it does so in a fun, binge-worthy way. What are streaming services like Hulu and Netflix for if not to binge watch great shows like this?

How it Helped Me with my MBA:

I can’t believe it’s finally on Netflix. There are so many lessons to learn here, including what doesn’t work in the business. The shtick in the early seasons is the boss, Michael Scott. He’s an anti-hero who shouldn’t be anyone’s boss. He tries to be everyone’s friend, makes fun of HR, is inappropriate in the workplace, and is constantly sabotaging productivity.

He’s got a good heart, which is vital for leadership. But he also shows the dangers of being the charismatic one who fails to lead by example.

6.    Bob’s Burgers

 

 

 

 

 

 

What It’s About:

The animated comedy Bob’s Burger’s is about a small business-owning couple and their three children navigating the running of a hamburger restaurant and family life. It’s entering its 11th season and has been rated one of the 60 best TV cartoons of all time.

 

How it Helped Me with my MBA:

This shows the importance of sticking together as a family through thick and thin, supporting each other and working together toward your goals. Those are all important values for those working on their MBA and in life.

7.    The Social Network

 

 

 

What It’s About:

The Social Network is about “The Facebook,” a website that revolutionized how people worldwide stay connected, share life events, and follow influencers to find out what to buy and when to buy it.

How it Helped Me with my MBA:

Facebook, and social media in general, are crucial for business. But this movie is about more than Facebook. It’s about ambition and creativity. It’s about business alliances, betrayals, and lawsuits. The Social Network is about taking a completely new idea to market and overcoming the challenges along the way to succeed.

8.    Steve Jobs

 

 

 

 

What It’s About:

Steve Jobs focuses on a man that made the digital revolution possible. iPhone anyone? But his story isn’t what you might expect. It’s an intimate look at a very controversial, and by many accounts, brutally ambitious businessman.

How it Helped Me with my MBA:

Steve Jobs shows the importance of building a team that is strong where you may have weaknesses. From it, you’ll see how he inspired those around him to think bigger to do things no one thought possible.

9.    Hidden Figures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What It’s About:

Hidden Figures is the inspiring true story of three Black women breaking down racial and gender barriers in 1961 in mathematics and spaceflight to successfully send a man into outer space for the first time.

How it Helped Me with my MBA:

Hidden Figures has so many gems of knowledge. There’s a theme throughout of not being afraid to be the first person to do something. Just because things have always been done a certain way, doesn’t make that the best way. Innovation requires someone to be the first.

Who would have thought that you could get your MBA 100% online? Someone had to be the first to say, why do we need to sit in a classroom and attend scheduled lessons? Why can’t someone create a flexible MBA program you can on your own time to further your education and career?

10.  Shark Tank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What It’s About:

Entrepreneurs with big ideas pitch their products, services and businesses to seek an investment from the Sharks, entrepreneurs who built their own brands and companies from nothing and are now multi-million or billionaires.

How it Helped Me with my MBA:

The show, Shark Tank, consistently reinforces essential business principles that any MBA needs to know. For example: Know when to stop selling and close the deal. Indecisiveness can lead to lost deals. Know your numbers. Research your audience. Know what your product is worth.

Every episode is filled with business lessons playing out in “real” life, so I remember them and remember to apply them.

Getting Your MBA

If you’ve been on the fence about getting your MBA, these movies and shows on Netflix (and a few other streaming services) will inspire you to go for it. If you’ve already started, they’ll reinforce what you’re learning in class and expose you to different definitions and methods for success. I encourage you to check them out. And after you do, consider enrolling in the Flexible or 100% Online MBA with The University of Tennessee Chattanooga.

 

 

 

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