RSS Feeds – Is There A Benefit for MBA Students

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MBA students, how well are you managing repetitive web searches? Are you searching for updated information on web sites and blogs by returning to them periodically or, are you receiving automatic updates as changes occur? Are you having updates pushed to you or are you pulling the new information to you when you are ready for it?

MBA students manage a barrage of information from faculty members, program administrators, classmates, and teammates while at the same time they are searching for new information on their own to complete class assignments. All of which is in addition to the non-MBA information flows they must cope with as well.

Information management for MBA students can be challenging. Fortunately, there are technology solutions and tools that can help MBA students meet this challenge. I introduced one tool in a previous post, Google Scholar. In this post, I want to suggest that RSS feeds and readers are tools MBA students can use to manage information as well as simplify their MBA life.

Overview

MBA students can automate their web surfing, create virtual custom news sources, and stay current in MBA course topics or individual areas of expertise or interest by using RSS feeds and readers. RSS feed files containing new and regularly updated information from websites and blogs reside on internet-connected servers. Using any one of a number of RSS readers, MBA students can subscribe to these feeds and have discipline/topical information delivered to their desktop, laptop, tablet, or smart phone almost instantaneously when the feed file is updated.

  • RSS feeds can automate web surfing for your MBA course assignments
  • RSS feeds can create custom MBA news sources on your laptop, desktop, tablet, or other mobile device
  • RSS feeds can deliver targeted and timely MBA program, course, and assignment information you select

Automate web surfing/monitoring

MBA class assignments, research, and personal interest often involve web surfing and searching for new information. More often than not, MBA students find themselves revisiting web sites to see if there have been any content changes. This repetitive process lends itself to automation. RSS readers and feeds provide the means by which automation of web surfing occurs. The result is that you only need to look at your RSS reader periodically to see the updated information displayed.

  • Your MBA team assignment is to monitor a specific company during the semester. Your company is HP, so you subscribe to the HP RSS feeds that you think will keep you current such as HP Investor News or SEC Filings.
  • You are an avid fan and follower of UK basketball. You could visit the UK web site to keep up, however your MBA program is keeping you busy so you are not able to follow the team as much as you would like. So, you subscribe to the UK RSS feed that provides you news about Kentucky men’s basketball.

Create custom MBA news sources

Imagine if you will, each time you turn on your laptop or smart phone, you have immediate access to current articles from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Financial Times (FT), Associated Press and other news sources you select. By opening your RSS Reader, you can read summaries of these articles or you can click on the article and read it in its entirety. Effectively, you are reading a virtual newspaper or magazine that you designed.

Further, imagine you designed you custom MBA news source before the first day of class and that you plan to modify it as you progress through your MBA program. Moreover, you can share articles with your teammates, classmates, and faculty members during the program. Not only are you keeping current, you are helping others keep current and teaching them the importance of knowledge and information sharing.

  • Many business-oriented newspapers such as the WSJ and FT provide an extensive list of RSS feed options. You can subscribe to specific pages, columnist, topics, podcasts, videos and much more.
  • Other business publications, such as BusinessWeek, create feeds that are topic oriented such as technology, Europe, hybrids, etc.

Receive targeted information

Targeted information needs change over time which means you may keep an RSS feed active for a defined period, for example when a class assignment is complete or when a trip is complete. RSS feed readers make it easy to change feed subscriptions so you can add when you want and you can delete when you want.

  • Are you preparing to leave on your international residency? Subscribe to US State Department RSS feeds of Travel Alerts about short-term conditions that pose imminent risks to the security of U.S. citizens
  • Do you know what the weather conditions are for the locations you are traveling to on your international residency? Weather Forecast Map provides RSS Feeds with weather forecasts for locations around the world
  • Do you want to know when a reference site publishes something new on your MBA research project? For example, you could subscribe to CIO’s (A web site serving chief information officers and other IT leaders) RSS Feed on outsourcing

RSS Subscriptions and Readers

RSS feeds enable web sites and blog owners/administrators to tell subscribers something new, usually an article, is available. Therefore, owners/administrators must add the RSS feed capability to their web site or blog. Not all web sites and blogs provide this capability.

RSS readers allow you to subscribe to these feeds. The advantage of using RSS readers to subscribe to updates is the sites you subscribe to know nothing about you since you did not personally register and provide personal information. Although there are a number of readers and news aggregators available for you to use, one easy to use reader is Google Reader. You access Google Reader through you Google Accounts home page.

Setup and subscribing is somewhat intuitive. After logging in to your Google Account, surf to any web site exhibiting the familiar RSS feed icon (), click on the icon and respond to the selections presented. Other options are available for subscribing; however, this approach will get you started.

RSS Information Sources

  • WebBizGeek provides an analysis and comparison of four common feed readers
  • Semiologic provides help in understanding the differences between the two common types of feeds
  • About.com provides a review of what they describe as the “Top 9 Windows RSS Feed Readers and News Aggregators”

Add your comments or questions below.

Rodney

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

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