*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Why is so much of the world managed by arseholes? When workaholic business school hot shot Ben Stillman is fired, he has the chance to find out. Not a guy to sit still, Ben jumps head first into turning his former business school into world-class madrassa of capitalism.
Ben has ten days to rescue the launch of its spectacular glass tower, and his own career – ten days during which he will have to confront terrorist plots, undercover police, the extravagant demands of the super-rich, and the only woman who can save him from this madness.
A satirical thriller, a love story, and a wry look at modern management ideology all rolled into one – MBA is a piercing yet hopeful enquiry into the meaning of success.
From the very beginning we are plunged into the ulcer-enducing world of the executive assistant, Ben, as he makes a rapid transition from business to campus, and from the frying pan into the fire.
The pace just doesn’t let up and I buzzed with adrenaline throughout the story, which is some achievement as the main bulk of the action involves the planning of a social event and investigation of some financial irregularities! But of course, there is more to it than that. The story is really about corruption, manipulation, lies and truth.
There is some romance and humour, some mystery and action, and a whole load of social commentary all tied into one explosively entertaining package. Ben is an eminently likeable main character despite/because of his flaws, and you also find yourself rooting for a number of side-characters as the story unfolds – not because they are getting it right, but because in the moral swamp of finance, politics and business they are at least trying to.
In contrast to the realism of the majority of the story, the climax was a little far-fetched, but I could forgive that because of the glorious rightness of it in every respect. I had no idea what was going to happen and really enjoyed the show when it did.
Different from his political satire, yet still piercingly perceptive, you will enjoy this if you are partial to a behind-the-scenes peek at another kind of Establishment, garnished with humour and truth. If you have an anxious disposition, maybe stock up on antacids first!
A meaningless question from Alex about whether it was now too late (when had that ever mattered in the Bakhtin empire?) led to a request. Could Ben ‘be Alex’ one more time that evening? This would be a very important time – much more important than three million pounds and some kilos of glass. Staff reductions were tricky, and this one especially so. It was not news that would keep well. Would Ben do it? Would he promise? Did he understand? Or would he rather wait until Alex was back in three days to do it personally?
When Ben did grasp what Alex intended, having for two long minutes mustered every atom of reflex and memory accumulated over the past year to help him decode his boss’s messages, he replied slowly that, yes, he would do it, that he did promise, that he understood, and that he would rather not wait.
Bakhtin had asked Ben to downsize himself.
– Douglas Board, MBA
MBA is available on Amazon right now!