Top 10 things I learned #10 – Presentation is Everything

The Top Ten Things I Learned in Business School

Number 10: Presentation is Everything

Why do (non-MBA) people think stock brokers make so much money? When I was in 9th grade, we had a stock broker come to my economics class and everyone thought the guy was richer than god. The truth was it was a down year, and the guy was probably about to put a second mortgage on his house with a baby on the way. The guy had these fancy suspenders and shoes that looked like they were brand new and it gave him an edge. In a world where most jobs are now business casual, financial services is still cuff links and ties.

I had to get halfway through business school before I realized that the guy was just a salesman. Seriously, the Best Buy clerk and a car salesman aren’t any different. They just sell you something you can hold on to, which has its own qualities. Stockbrokers and consultants sell the intangible, which requires them to rely on their image.

Now that’s just one example, but I can give you more. When you’re delivering a final project in business school and you haven’t slept enough and your team members on three other group projects are breathing down your neck because you’re slacking, it pays to wear the pressed shirt and know the numbers for the Q&A. Because you’re selling your idea for a grade.

In the end, everyone who comes out of business school is a salesman. You sell yourself for the job. You sell yourself to your co-workers. God forbid you’re an entrepreneur…

Look sharp. Shave. Wear a smile. Think before you speak. Get a haircut before your interview. Don’t ever lose your cool. And above all, remember to laugh at yourself when you screw up. If you can remember that, trust me… you’ll destroy business school and get the killer job afterward.

Will Donaldson