Snapshots from Hell – The Making of an MBA

Author : Peter Robinson

Genre : Management, Non – Fiction, Self-Help

MBA is not just a course, it is an experience. Even after 20 years in a corporate career, I would have used hardly 20% of the actual content I was taught as part of the syllabus. But the behavioural and experiential learning: the vast network with colleagues and faculty, the late night outs and the ethos of diligence, the deep friendships that separates the genuine from the superficial, the co curricular contests and exposure, the case study preparation and class participation, the research needed to submit papers, the concept of ‘relative’ assessment, the whole attitude shifting from class-room study to all round and self directed development… these have indeed stayed me me even after two decades.

Arpita Phatak from Wellingkar business school in Mumbai, India joins us as guest contributor towards this book review and summary.


Snapshots from Hell is a book based on Peter M. Robinson’s MBA journey at Stanford Business School, one of the top 3 in the world. His day to day impressions and experiences written in his personal journal evolved into this book. Peter, before he joined the MBA program, was a Presidential Speechwriter at White House. Seeking a more lucrative career path, he applied for and was selected at Stanford. Having a major in English and expertise in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, he came to this course with no experience in Quantitative studies, technically ‘a Poet’, as Students with no business background are known at many business schools. “If some people are color blind, others, like me, must be number blind.”

One term at Business school had begun to make me a different person.”

Every year, especially in India, millions of students apply for an MBA degree, all looking to make something of themselves and to make money. All looking for an answer to the question, what is business school like? Peter attempts to answer this question with the help of his experience at one of the best business schools in the world.

Background, Status – none of this mattered; at business school, we would remake ourselves.”

You thought you were here to study? Wrong – You’re here to get a job.”

The initial days are interesting. To go to a pre – term Math Camp and Computer Camp, just to catch up with your classmates whom you haven’t even met yet. On the orientation day, Peter gets to see his entire 333-member batch for the first time. Where the school assures them that they are in the best hands and also warns them that if they want to get the best out of these two years, they should not waste even ten minutes.