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5 of the best TED Talks for students of the MBA

5 of the best TED Talks for students of the MBA

Your MBA experience is a time of great personal development, learning, inspiration, questioning and opportunity. To help you navigate this challenging yet exciting time, we share our top 5 TED Talks for students which we believe will inspire, challenge and develop you as current or future MBA students in your personal and professional lives. We hear from psychologists Amy Cuddy on how to use power posing body language to achieve success and Meg Jay on how to use your twenties as your defining decade to shape the life you want. We hear from iconic leader and lifelong entrepreneur Steve Jobs on why we must all do the work we love, as well as leadership author Simon Senek on how history’s greatest leaders were able to inspire people to believe in them. Finally Facebook COO’s Sheryl Sandberg shares her compelling advice to inspire women to reach senior management positions.

TED Talks are short, powerful presentations that last no longer than 18 minutes with the objective of spreading inspiring ideas on a range of topics covering entertainment, science, business, entrepreneurship, design, innovation and more. Launched in 1984, there are now almost 2,000 Ted Talks available.

The best « Self-confidence » TED Talk for students:

Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

Viewed over 24 million times, one of the popular TED Talks for students is by Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist who demonstrates how we can change our confidence and approach to any stressful situation in just 2 minutes, simply by changing our body language. ‘Power posing’, Cuddy argues has been proven to help overcome feelings of inadequacy, and could even increase a person’s chance of success.

Cuddy shares her own experience of feeling like an imposter at Princeton and almost quit, but was inspired by her investor to ‘fake it until she became it’. Upon seeing a lack of confidence amongst female MBA participants compared to their male counterparts, Cuddy set about proving her theory that students would participate more in class and therefore improve their grades if they practiced the art of ‘faking it’ through body language exercises.

The best TED Talk for students on creating the life you want:

Meg Jay: 30 Is Not The New 20

Clinical psychologist Meg Jay has a compelling message for all twenty-somethings in their defining decade; to make those important life choices today, not later, to commit to opportunities that will help you get to where you want to go and most importantly, create the life you want today; in your relationships, career and family. Meg says now is the time to take that new job or internship or launch that startup you want to try in order to develop your identity capital.

Her lasting message of the TED Talk for students is: “30 is not the new 20, so claim your adulthood. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do. You’re deciding your life right now.”

The best TED Talk for students on finding work you love:

Steve Jobs: How To Live Before You Die (& Not Spend Your Life Hating What You Do)

Not originally a TED Talk but now one of the site’s most viewed videos ever, Jobs gives impassioned advice to recent graduates of Stanford University about following their heart and pursuing a career that they love. He gives an example about following a calligraphy course at college without knowing how it would benefit his future career just because it fascinated him. 10 years later, the Apple Mac became the first personal computer focused on beautiful typography and design. He says “you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking back, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” He reflects on being fired from Apple as the best thing that could have ever happened to him, because it was a time when we could be the most creative.

One of the most inspiring TED talks for students from one of the world’s most iconic entrepreneur, Jobs teaches you to find work that you truly love, be free to fail and to never lose faith.
Best « Leadership » TED Talk for students:
Simon Senek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

In the third most viewed TED Talk on TED.com, leadership author Senek argues that successful leaders, whether it be CEOs, entrepreneurs or politicians are able to inspire people to believe in them because they start with why they do what they do. ”Inspiring leaders all think, act and communicate from the inside out. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it and what you do simply serves as the proof of why you do it. The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”

Senek explains how the art of successful leadership comes down to simple biology: the limbic part of our brains drives behaviour and decision making, so appealing to somone’s emotions and feelings is much more powerful than appealing to their rational thought. He argues that great leaders like Martin Luther King were able to gather crowds of up to 250,000 people because he inspired people with a dream, not a plan. “We follow those who lead not for them, but for ourselves.”
The best « Female Leadership » TED Talk for students:
Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders

Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook, the first woman to serve on Facebook’s board and author of best-seller ‘Lean In’, encouraging women to take leadership roles in order to break down societal and personal barriers. She gives 3 great pieces of advice to women wanting to reach senior management roles:

  • Sit at the table: Sandberg: “No-one gets the corner office if they sit at the side not at the table and no-one get the promotion if they don’t think they deserve their success.” Sandberg also implores managers to recognise in their own teams if more men are reaching for opportunities than women.
  • Make your partner a real partner:  Sandberg talks of the inequality is the home as well as the boardroom, referring to data that shows if a man and a woman both work full-time, the woman does twice as much housework and three times as much childcare. She encourages people to respect stay at home dads who support women to reach senior roles.
  • Don’t leave before you leave: Sandberg addresses the challenges that many women face when deciding to have children and encourages them to always keep their foot on the gas pedal when balancing their personal and professional lives, in order to not miss out on opportunities.

What do you think of our selection of TED Talks for students of an MBA? Which TED Talks have you been most inspired by? Share your comments with us here!

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