Boost Your Business Know-How with Podcasts

Klariza Alvaran, Class of 2019

Klariza Alvaran, Class of 2019

During long days of cranking out report after report on Excel as an advertising analyst, I learned to love podcasts.

Fortunately for MBA candidates, the podcast world is also full of useful content for us business-minded people. In fact, Freakonomics Radio may already be a household name for many of you. However, in addition to that, there are plenty more podcasts and radio programming worth following from the comfort of your earbuds while sitting at your desk in the office:

Hidden Brain

Calling all Managerial and Organizational Behavior concentrators! If you’re not listening to Shankar Vedantam’s “Hidden Brain” podcast on NPR, you should. A Stanford-educated journalist, Vedantam’s program focuses on findings and issues emerging in the field of behavioral science.

Editor’s Pick:

In Praise Of Mess: Why Disorder May Be Good For Us - Vedantam talks to economist Tim Harford about how accepting, and not fighting, certain chaos in our lives may be a good thing.



I’m a proud Booth student, but I have to give it to Wharton to making a great podcast available online in the form of Knowledge@Wharton. Among the episodes I watch out for are interviews with authors of recently published (and yet-to-be published) books that relate to business.

Editor’s Pick:

The Elephant in the Room: Why Silly Corporate Buzzwords Catch On - Has your firm been working to boost its “thought leadership?” Are you being an ideal MBA and “disrupting” the status quo? These buzzwords and more occupy a large segment of our daily business vernacular, and author and former consultant, James Sudakow, discusses just how they emerge and stick.


Freakonomics Radio

After the success of their best-selling book, Stephen Dubner (and to a lesser extent, University of Chicago’s very own Steven Levitt) continue their work of exploring how economics works itself into our daily lives through the award-winning podcast Freakonomics Radio.

Editor’s Picks:

In Praise of Maintenance and In Praise of Incrementalism - Both of these podcasts challenge a widely held notion that society has about innovation: that we need to keep introducing a paradigm-shifting new thing to be truly innovative. However, the reality is that holding to such a mindset can lead to problems, such as neglecting existing infrastructure and failing to realize the value of marginal gains.


Revisionist History

Continuing on the theme of best-selling authors, Malcolm Gladwell was part of a podcast of his own in the form of Revisionist HIstory, where he revisited moments from the past and explained why things may have turned out the way they did and what prompted certain reactions to those moments in a way that only Gladwell could.

Editor’s Pick:

The Big Man Can’t Shoot - This episode was actually discussed in my Managing Service Operations class at Booth in the context of how social perceptions can impact adoption of a more effective business process. Here, Gladwell discusses why one basketball star who uncovered the secret to the optimal freethrow eventually abandoned his strategy.


Working by Slate

One major motivator for fellow Boothies to obtain an MBA is to make a career change. Informational conversations are extremely beneficial to that process, but during those long weeks when you don't have time to set up a coffee chat, Slate’s Working podcast can be a good substitute. This series goes in-depth with professionals doing all kinds of work from being a CIA analyst to a clown. What I like most about the show is that it goes into detail about the overall lifestyle associated with certain work and the path people took to take on those jobs.

Editor’s Pick:

How Does a Wine Portfolio Manager Work? - Ever wonder what it takes to bring your favorite imported wine to the U.S.? And how exactly should you be describing the flavor of wine at those tastings? Get answers to those and more in this episode of Working.


Klariza Alvaran in marketing at the healthcare tech startup Tempus. She enjoys writing science fiction stories, crocheting hats, and making music.