Friday, January 21, 2005


MBA lingo?

For those of you aspiring to talk business, here is a taste of what you might encounter in the B-School:

Air Hogs: students who monopolize classroom discussion and love to hear
themselves speak.

Air Time: a precious opportunity -- speaking or making comments in class.

Analysis Paralysis: not being able to make a decision because you've gotten lost
in the thicket of your own analysis.

At the end of the day: the end result when all things are considered.

B2B: "Business to Business". A company that sells not to retail consumers, but
to other enterprises. With the renewed focus on more traditional industries in the
wake of the dot-com bust, many business students joke that this now stands for
"Back to Banking".

B2C: "Business to Consumer". A company that sells primarily to individual retail
consumers. As with the above joke about B2B, business students occasionally
say this really means "Back to Consulting".

Back of the Envelope: a quick analysis of numbers, as if scribbled on the back
of an envelope.

Barriers to Entry: conditions that prevent entry into a particular market.

Benchmarking: comparing a company to others in the industry.

Beta of a Stock: the volatility of a single stock, compared to the overall market.

Bottleneck: the point in a plant or process that determines or blocks the pace.

Burn Rate: amount of cash a money losing company consumes during a period
of time.

Case Study Method: popular teaching method that uses real-life business cases
for analysis.

Cold Call: unexpected, often dreaded request by the professor to open a case

Commoditize: when a good or service ceases to be a value added product
produced by a limited number of firms, and is instead common and easy to
replicate (e.g., web portals).

Core Courses: courses in the basic disciplines of business, usually mandatory.

Corner Office: office location that all MBAs aspire to and the exclusive province
of partners, managing directors, and senior executives.

Cost Benefit Analysis: calculating whether something is worth doing on the basis
of the real-dollar cost vs. real-dollar benefit. Often used as a shortcut in analyzing the numbers.

Cycle Time: how fast you can turn something around.

Deliverable: what your end product is.

Economies of Scale: savings in per unit costs that come from producing a great
number of units.

Economies of Scope: when the cost of producing multiple goods is less than the
total cost of producing each item separately.

Four Ps: elements of a marketing strategy: Price, Promotion, Place, Product.

Fume Date: date the company will run out of cash reserves.

Functional Areas: the basic disciplines of business (e.g., finance, marketing,

Globalization: trend of the 1980s and 1990s; expanding the definition of your
market to include the challenges of operating in a multi-country, multi-consumer

HP12-C: a calculator that works nothing like a regular one, used by finance types
when they don't have Excel handy.

I-Bankers: those coming from or destined for investment banks.

IM: "Instant Messaging". A necessity for communicating with other students in
real time, and for passing time in boring classes. Also used as a verb: "I was
IM-ing when he cold called me."

Leverage: debt used in financing a company.

Lever Up: increasing the portion of debt used to finance a company.

Low Hanging Fruit: tasks or goals that are most easy to achieve (consultant

Net Net: end result.

Network effect: when a good or service becomes more valuable as more people
have or use the product (e.g., fax machines are useful only if lots of other people
have them).

Opportunity Costs: the cost of pursuing an opportunity (i.e., for B-school, tuition,
and loss of income for two years).

Poets: students with little quantitative skills or experience (numerically

Power Naps: quick, intense in-class recharge for the continually sleep deprived.

Power Tool: someone who does all the work and sits in the front row of the class
with his or her hand up.

Pre-enrollment Courses: commonly known as MBA summer camp: quantitative
courses, generally offered in the summer before the first year to get the
numerically challenged up to speed.

Pro Forma: financial presentation of hypothetical events, such as projected

Quant Jock: a numerical athlete who is happiest crunching numbers.

Quick and Dirty: an abbreviated analysis, often involving numbers.

Rule of Three: you should not talk more than three times in any given class, but
you should participate at least once over the course of three classes.

Run the Numbers: analyze quantitatively.

Skill Set: the talents possessed by a person or company.

Soft Courses: touchy-feely courses such as human resources and organizational

Soft Skills: conflict resolution, teamwork, negotiation, oral and written

Slice and Dice: running all kinds of quantitative analysis on a set of numbers.

Synergy: when the value of the whole is greater than the sum of the values of the
individual parts (e.g., 2+2=5).

Take-aways: the key points of a lecture or meeting that participants should

The Five Forces: Michael Porter's model for analyzing the strategic
attractiveness of an industry.

Three Cs: the primary forces considered in marketing: Customer, Competition,

Total Quality Management: the Edward Demming method of management that
caught on with the Japanese and is now "hot" in American business: managing
the quality of products, service, work, process, people, and objectives.

Valuation: deriving the value of a company or project, typically by discounting
future cash flows.

Value Added: what it is a company does to specifically improve a product or
service prior to its consumption.

Value-Based Decision Making: values and ethics as part of the practice of

VC: venture capitalist.

Value Proposition: the punch line of a business proposition; the specific value to
consumers being created, from which revenue will be derived.

Core competency
Cut losses
Juggling work and school application
Stretch of imagination
Good social fit
Great Match
Ad infinitum
Run the Office
Co-ordinate efforts

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