You had one too many…so you had four more. But you sure can’t hold your liquor like you could at 20. And your classmates will remember this as the night you spilled your guts (literally and figuratively).
You’re really not sure how you made it home. But the tweets and Facebook posts suggest you have some explainin’ to do. Apparently, you shared exactly what you thought of your classmates (and the dean’s spouse). On the plus side, you remember hooking up with that come-hither brunette from strategic management (Yeah, baby!). The downside? She’s texting you about going to brunch…with her parents (Uh-oh). Your head is throbbing and your shoes are missing. And you wonder if you can ever show (or feel) your face again.
Ah, the annual holiday party. It has sunk more careers than parenthood and insubordination…combined. And your business school parties are no different! That’s why Bloomberg Businessweek recently surveyed b-school administrators and staff on how you should conduct yourself at these critical thoughts. Here are some of their tips for MBA social events:
Show up: Woody Allen quips that ‘ninety percent of life is just showing up.’ The same is true of holiday parties. But you just don’t want to be seen. Business school isn’t just about reading case studies and formulating models. It’s also the place to build the network that’ll keep you fed and employed in the future. And there’s better time to forge relationships than over free food and liquor. Lord knows, you’re paying enough for it.
Practice Etiquette: Remember how employers survey everyone you interacted with during the interview process? You can be dinged by anyone from the receptionist to the driver. Well, parties are no different. You’re here to make an impression. So “make introductions, thank your hosts, and follow up the next day” counsels Georgetown Assistant Dean Patricia Buchek. You never know who’s watching.
Be Patient: Want to bring someone’s guard up? Start talking shop over cocktails. Tim Flood, Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business, warns that “Social events are for building relations, not for identifying opportunities.” So build rapport. Show off your wicked sense of humor. Get your peers curious and comfortable. Exchanging business cards can always come later.
Be Prudent With Social Media: What happens at your holiday party should probably stay there too. Sure, you’d love to post photos of your study buddy diving face first into the shrimp bowl. If you want to make friends, keep your digital camera in your pocket. Don’t post anything without their permission. In the words of Northwestern’s Karen Cates, “What’s the point of going to business school if you’re going to sabotage your job prospects—or those of your classmates?”
Own Your Behavior: “Oh my God! What did I just do?” Sound familiar? Whether you belched the alphabet or revealed a classmate’s secret, you’ll probably need to perform damage control (Hope you took that PR elective). According to Jacqueline Whitmore, author of Poised For Success, you need to act fast: If you know you’ve offended someone, go directly to the person and apologize.” If you’re not sure, say you’re sorry anyway. You’re going to do plenty of groveling in the real world. You may as well get some practice early on.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek