College and career advice: Most People Don’t

College and career advice: Most People Don’t

I am getting ready to attend an “Alumni in the Classroom” event at Penn State University in which 60 alumni come back to the hotel school to share life experiences and career advice with students in the program. My preparation thus far has involved reviewing the message that I gave to students back in 2008. Interestingly enough, the main message to students hasn’t changed, and is relevant for most anyone interested in finding success in the working world: “Most People Don’t.”

Five years ago I met with students at a reception being held for alumni and seniors in the hotel program. The students were clustering among themselves, and I approached them to introduce myself. All of the alumni were given pins to wear, so we were very easily identified, especially among a crowd of 20- and 21-year-olds. I challenged the students to introduce themselves to the alumni in attendance and collect as many business cards as possible. For anyone who collected at least 10 cards in an hour, I would arrange that they be given a prize. We all agreed to meet in a designated area 60 minutes later. After the allotted time had passed, no students showed up. The next day during a student interview, I asked one of the students who accepted the challenge the night prior why he did not show up. His response, “It was easier not to meet alumni.”

Most People Don’t.

I was looking for one student who accepted the challenge and accomplished the task. 

“I’ll send you the article that I found that I think you’ll appreciate.” Most People Don’t follow up and send that article.

“I’ll call you to see how the event was.” Most People Don’t follow up and make that phone call.

“I’ll have you over for dinner to thank you for the advice.” Most People Don’t ever extend the invitation.

You can distinguish yourself as a college student and as a sales professional simply by “doing”!

I’m looking forward to meeting some students that “do” this year!