MBA Student Journaling Made Easier With Technology

I recently started using iDailyDiary to help me keep track of my miscellaneous notes and random thoughts. This application is one of several that belong to a class called journaling software. My introduction to this application came by way of Desiree Bryant a consultant and MBA student with whom I work. She suggested this as a tool for MBAs to use when they have a journaling requirement in their MBA program. My intent with this post is to introduce iDailyDairy and two other journaling software applications, The Journal and Penzu as well as highlight the benefits of their use.

Although journaling is commonplace in some MBA programs, opinions about the benefits of journaling are wide ranging, especially among MBA students. Sometimes the requirement is program wide and in other cases, it is for a course or for a specific assignment. Common titles include personal journals, learning journals, diaries, or in the case of a previous MyeEMBA post, a personal learning guide. Furthermore, the assignment may not specify how the MBA student is to keep the journal, only how to submit the entries for grading or feedback. No matter the source of the requirement or the title, keeping a journal is a challenge for many MBA students, if not most. Perhaps one way of reducing some of the challenge is with journaling software.

Why Journal – A Brief Review

I think you can best understand the benefits of using journaling software if we briefly review some of the reasons for keeping a journal, or in the case of MBA students why they may be required to keep a journal. Some of the reasons include:

  • Enhance your own learning and professional development
  • Act as a tool for executing the personal learning guide
  • Record events
  • Learn from experiences
  • Track progress toward a goal or behavioral change
  • Express and capture feelings and emotions
  • Reflection
  • Note taking

The Benefits of Journaling Software

To a certain extent, I think all of us journal. Look at your desk. How many sticky notes and pieces of paper do you find with something written on them? Are they organized? Can you easily access them? For those of you that are a bit more organized and use a notebook or something similar, are your entries organized and can you easily access them? Answering these questions gives rise to what I think are the primary reasons for using journaling software  – access and organization.

Paperbound journaling, while once commonplace, will likely suffer a decline because of technology. Why? Because journaling software provides additional capabilities such as word processing, search, printing, and entry sharing. Furthermore, you can use most electronic journals for note taking, calendaring, setting reminders, etc. Moreover, recent smart phone journaling applications are surfacing, which will likely accelerate the decline of paper journals.

Journaling Software Applications

You can use many applications for journaling, such as Microsoft’s OneNote, Evernote and a multitude of blogging applications. However, the following list includes only applications whose design was solely for the purpose of journaling.

  • The Journal – This is a window’s based desktop/laptop application first released in June of 1996 as a Freeware Application. A 45-day free trial is available with multiple purchase options available that combine add-on packages with the basic application. The add-ons seem to focus on improving journaling content and improving the journaling experience for the user, some of which could benefit MBA students that are starting to journal or have had limited journaling instruction. Currently there are no mobile applications available for The Journal. The Journal’s web site provides access to a wide range of resources for both purchasers and non-purchasers of the application.
  • iDailyDiary – This is a window’s based desktop/laptop application. Two versions are available, Free and Professional. I used the Free version for a brief period and then upgraded to the Professional version for $30. My primary reason for upgrading was to gain added word processing capabilities such as spell check. Both versions provide rudimentary journaling capabilities that are more than adequate for MBA students to use as a tool for their journaling assignments. Currently there are no mobile applications available for iDailyDiary. Furthermore, the iDailyDiary web site provides little information to help users with the journaling process.
  • Penzu – I recently discovered Penzu, which may well be the first of the next generation of journaling applications. Penzu’s beta release is an online journaling application that includes browser-based applications that work on iPhone, iPad, iPod, Blackberry, and Android devices. Two versions are available, Penzu Free and Penzu Pro. Currently Penzu Pro has an annual cost of $19 for a single user. Penzu Pro is an enhanced version of Penzu, with premium features such as tagging, entry encryption, rich text formatting, customizing, entry sharing, entry commenting, importing, and exporting to name a few. The Penzu web site provides basic product information and a FAQ section that helps you get started. Penzu Pro is perfect for the MBA student whose program requires them to keep and journal and to periodically share entries for comment by others.

Caution: If your MBA program, course, assignment, or faculty member requires that you keep a journal then you must comply with the requirements, including the use of a specific technology.

I am sure other journaling applications are available for MBA students to consider. However, the three described above provide a good base for comparison and a starting point for anyone wanting to convert from paper journals to electronic journals. If you know of other journaling applications please share them with us in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your MBA journaling experiences with us as well. I also keep a list of journaling references that you may want to review. Also, feel free to suggest additions to the reference list.


Rodney G. Alsup, D.B.A., CPA, CITP
Founder of

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