If you’re like most people, you don’t understand your doctor and your lawyer when they started babbling in professional jargon. The same is true for most non-MBAs. Bschool grads talk about “deliverables” and “best practices,” they “think outside the box” and “take 30,000-ft. views”--but do you really have any idea what they mean? Even some words that are recognizable take on completely different meaning, such as “lean” or “leverage.” Then there are the words, such as “actionable” and “monetize,” that could make a lexicographer’s toes curl. But if you never went to business school and want to know what the heck people in your next meeting are speaking about, this handy glossary will fill you in faster than you can say “Six Sigma”!

Click here to learn how to speak like a MBA.

Have any other MBA terms you’d like to define? Send an email to vwong70@bloomberg.net

Photographer: Justin Lewis/Getty Images

If you’re like most people, you don’t understand your doctor and your lawyer when they started babbling in professional jargon. The same is true for most non-MBAs. Bschool grads talk about “deliverables” and “best practices,” they “think outside the box” and “take 30,000-ft. views”--but do you really have any idea what they mean? Even some words that are recognizable take on completely different meaning, such as “lean” or “leverage.” Then there are the words, such as “actionable” and “monetize,” that could make a lexicographer’s toes curl. But if you never went to business school and want to know what the heck people in your next meeting are speaking about, this handy glossary will fill you in faster than you can say “Six Sigma”!

Click here to learn how to speak like a MBA.

Have any other MBA terms you’d like to define? Send an email to vwong70@bloomberg.net

Photographer: Justin Lewis/Getty Images

How to Speak Like a Business School Grad

MBA Glossary
MBA Glossary

If you’re like most people, you don’t understand your doctor and your lawyer when they started babbling in professional jargon. The same is true for most non-MBAs. Bschool grads talk about “deliverables” and “best practices,” they “think outside the box” and “take 30,000-ft. views”--but do you really have any idea what they mean? Even some words that are recognizable take on completely different meaning, such as “lean” or “leverage.” Then there are the words, such as “actionable” and “monetize,” that could make a lexicographer’s toes curl. But if you never went to business school and want to know what the heck people in your next meeting are speaking about, this handy glossary will fill you in faster than you can say “Six Sigma”!

Click here to learn how to speak like a MBA.

Have any other MBA terms you’d like to define? Send an email to vwong70@bloomberg.net

Photographer: Justin Lewis/Getty Images

360-degree view
360-degree view

1. (n.) Why you tell yourself the penthouse is worth it. 2. Complicated way of saying a thorough analysis, usually of customers.

Photographer: Michael S. Yamashita/Getty Images

30,000-ft. view
30,000-ft. view

1. (n.) What you see skydiving. 2. Taking a broad perspective on a problem without going into details—the people on the ground look like ants anyhow.

Photographer: Joe McBride/Getty

Actionable
Actionable

1. (adj.) An offense that could get you sued. 2. Ready. “Are those deliverables actionable?” (See “Deliverable”.)

Photographer: Michael Kelley/Getty

Bandwidth
Bandwidth

1. (n.) Amount of information that can be downloaded in a certain amount of time, and something we need to increase to watch more cute kitten clips on YouTube. 2. Resources necessary to complete a project.

Photographer: Martin Poole/Getty

Best practice
Best practice

1. (n.) That time during rehearsal when the band sounded AWESOME. 2. Technique or method considered superior for consistently achieving the desired result.

Photographer: Alex Telfer/Gallerystock

Blue ocean
Blue ocean

1. (n.) The view from your house in the Hamptons or Malibu. 2. Uncontested market with new business opportunities.

Photographer: Getty Images

Caveat
Caveat

1. (v.) A Latin verb, usually used before the word “emptor.” 2. A way to warn against bad news. “I want to caveat our deliverables.” (See “Deliverable” below.)

Photograph: Getty Images

C-level
C-level

1. (adj.) In school, C is barely passing, below a grade of A or B. 2. In business, C describes a company’s “chief” managers.

Photographer: Ken Schles/Gallery stock

Cannibalize
Cannibalize

1. (v.) Missionary. It’s what’s for dinner. 2. To decrease demand for an existing product by introducing a similar new product.

Photograph: Getty Images

Core competency
Core competency

1. (n.) The one thing you don’t screw up. 2. Area in which a company excels (screwing up does NOT count) that cannot be easily mimicked.

Photographer: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

Decision tree
Decision tree

1. (n.) Worst holiday decoration. Ever. 2. Business owners’ version of Chose Your Own Adventure that maps out the outcome of different decisions.

Photographer: Gozooma/Gallerystock

Deliverable
Deliverable

1. (adj.) Capable of being sent by FedEx. 2. (n.) Task that must be completed under the terms of an agreement.

Photographer: Peter Poulides/Getty Images

Delta
Delta

1. (n.) Major U.S. airline that scored second-to-last in recent customer satisfaction survey. 2. Problem with more than two sides.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Exit strategy
Exit strategy

1. (n.) Verifying location of the fire doors in a theater before the show starts. 2. How a business owner and entrepreneur gets out of an investment.

Photographer: Getty Images

First mover
First mover

1. (n.) Very forward person on a date. 2. First company to enter a market or industry.

Photographer: Getty Images

Free rider
Free rider

1. (n.) Rapper Flo Rida’s cheap cousin. 2. Those who enjoy resources paid for by others.

Jeff Fusco/Getty Images

Game changer
Game changer

1. (n.) To sports fans, a TV remote control. 2. Visionary person, company, or product that revolutionizes the way business is done.

Photographer: Pete Gardner/Getty

Home run
Home run

1. (n.) What your favorite baseball team needs more of. 2. Great success.

Photographer: Rich Pilling/Getty Images

Invisible hand
Invisible hand

1. (n.) Forensic labs’ worst nightmare. 2. Force guiding the free market.

Photographer: Thomas Jackson/Getty Images

Lean
Lean

1. (adj.) Least-fattening kind of bacon. 2. Business management strategy that emphasizes customer value while minimizing waste. (See “Six Sigma.”)

Photographer: Andrea Bricco/Getty Images

Leverage
Leverage

1. (n.) Something the Democratic Party recently has none of. 2. (v.) To take advantage of--especially proper English grammar.

Photographer: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

Low hanging fruit
Low hanging fruit

1. (n.) What to pick in an apple orchard. 2. Easiest work or opportunity that can be undertaken quickly.

Photogographer: James P. Blair/Getty Images

Market penetration
Market penetration

1. (n) Act of fighting your way into Whole Foods the day before Thanksgiving. 2. Share of total potential customers reached.

Photographer: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Mindshare
Mindshare

1. (n.) Telepathic alternative to stock share. 2. Consumer awareness of a brand or product.

Photographer: Andrew Rich/Getty Images

Monetize
Monetize

1. (v.) To reinterpret from the perspective of a French Impressionist. 2. To turn something into a money-making asset.

Photographer: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Offline
Offline

1. (adj.) For Twitter addicts, a state of torture. 2. (adv.) In private.

Photographer: Darren Robb/Getty Images

Paradigm shift
Paradigm shift

1. (n.) Update on The Electric Slide. 2. Dramatic change in how things are done or thought of.

Photographer: Chev Wilkinson/Getty Images

Perfect Storm
Perfect Storm

1. (n.) George Clooney movie released in 2000. 2. Disastrous event caused by combination of several factors.

Photograph: Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

ROI
ROI

1. (n.) The French word for “king.” 2. Abbr. for return on investment, a way to measure the benefit of an investment.

Photographer: Adam Frans van der Meulen/Getty Images

Scope creep
Scope creep

(n) 1. Pervert with a telescope. 2. When the limits of a project expand without changing the schedule or budget.

Photographer: Getty Images

Silo
Silo

1. (n.) Place to store corn. 2. Reason no one in the company ever knows what’s going on.

Photographer: Richard Price/Getty Images

Six Sigma
Six Sigma

1. (n.) Loser fraternity that couldn’t get even seven members. 2. A business management strategy developed by Motorola in 1986.

Photogrpaher: Philip Habib/Gallery Stock

Stakeholder
Stakeholder

(n) 1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 2. Umbrella term referring to anyone with an interest in a company or project including investors, employees, customers, suppliers, government, and the community.

Photograph: 20th Century Fox Film Corp

STP
STP

1. (n.) Popular motor oil. 2. Abbr. for Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning, a process used to develop marketing strategy.

Photographer: Jim Clark/Getty Images

Synergy
Synergy

1. (n.) Clergy members who are sinners. 2. Benefit or value achieved by bringing together parties that would not be possible individually.

Photographer: Driendl Group/Getty Images

Triple bottom line
Triple bottom line

1. (n.) Pants size at Big & Tall stores. 2. Way of measuring organizational performance that includes people, planet, and profit.

Photographer: Paul Damien/Getty Images

Take-away
Take-away

1. (n.) Food delivered to a home or office in the U.K. 2. The few things you needed to learn during that torturous three-hour meeting.

Photographer: Malcolm park/Getty Images

Take a deep dive
Take a deep dive

1. (n.) Something not to do in the kiddie pool. 2. (v.) To review extensively.

Photographer: Andy Ryan/Getty Images

Transparency
Transparency

1. (n.) Quality describing most of Lady Gaga’s wardrobe. 2. What most companies’ financial disclosures lack.

leon Neal/Getty Images

Value add
Value add

1. (n.) Providing a benefit. 2. ...unintentionally.

Value proposition
Value proposition

1. (n.) What the Hollywood agent made to the ingénue. 2. Statement of why a consumer will benefit more from a company’s product or service than from similar offerings.

Photographer: Paul Taylor/Getty Images

Vertical
Vertical

1. (n.) How rock climbers see the world. 2. Referring to a specific business area or market.

Photographer: Tim McGuire/Getty Images

Win-win-win
Win-win-win

1. (n.) Chant used by uncreative sports fans. 2. When three parties benefit from a situation.

Photographer: Getty Images