2021 Dean’s Guide to Practical Business Workshop guides students through business etiquette

Written by Sydney Flora, Dean’s Communication’s Intern

Schmidthorst College of Business students recently discovered that a degree is not the only credential necessary to succeed in business.

The Dean’s Guide to Practical Business is a four-week workshop series sponsored by Schmidthorst College of Business Dean Raymond Braun and several faculty members which teaches students the basics of business professionalism. Participants ranged from freshmen to graduate students and included many international students interested in learning more about Western business practices.

Week 1

DGTPB Week 1Week one focused on dining etiquette. Marketing Professor Mearl Sutton and Dean Braun facilitated the discussion over a four-course business dinner.

Students learned when to use the various pieces of silverware, how to properly hold a fork and what to do if they did not enjoy a dish.

“I never knew there was a difference between the American and European style of holding a fork and knife!” said Jim Nguyen, a junior studying international business and supply chain management.

Another tip that seemed to particularly resonate with students was “Out to sea, back to me,” referring to the motion of properly eating a bowl of soup.

Week 2

DGTPB Week 2

Week two focused on networking skills. Dean Braun and Professor Sutton again led the discussion, this time in the context of a business reception.

Students were asked to meet as many people as possible in 30 minutes at the reception. Along the way, students learned key strategies for networking including how to leave a conversation and break into a new one.

Top Networking Tips:

“Having a business card and following up” said Meredith Post, a sophomore studying accounting.

“Maintain eye contact with the person you are talking to and don’t have wandering eyes. That will make you seem uninterested” said Kathryn Luzyski, a freshman studying international business.

“Don’t be afraid to move around” said Clayton Skulina, an undecided business freshman.

Week 3

dress for successWeek 3 focused on dressing for success. The session was led by Dr. Mariana Motiva, a teaching professor who instructs courses on fashion merchandising and product development. Dr. Motiva provided tips about dressing for business professional, business casual, and formal events.

Business professional outfits are outfits you would wear to an interview. Dr. Motiva advised that women stay away from the color brown, keep skirt length below the knee, and to accessorize with simple jewelry. For men, she advised a well-fitting suit and a short haircut.

For business casual outfits, quality is better than quantity. While it’s beneficial to build a basic wardrobe of pieces you can mix and match, you want the pieces to stand the test of time and trends.

For formal evening wear, women should avoid short and strapless dresses, while men are safe to stick with a classic tuxedo.

For a golf outing, Dr. Moriva advised inquiring with the golf club about any spcific dress codes.

For college students on a budget, Dr. Motiva said shopping at thrift stores and shops like TJ Maxx were the smartest options. She also recommended BGSU's free, on-campus professional clothing store Mr. Agne’s Career Collection, where students may get one free professional outfit every year.

“One important thing I learned from this session was that not having anything in your pockets is important,” said Kyle Van Houten, a senior majoring in Marketing and minoring in Information Systems. “Having clean pockets will eliminate any potential distractions.”

Week 4

dgtpb4 1Week 4 focused on professional etiquette. The session was led by Kristen Krebs and Donna Greenwald, both Teaching Professors in the Department of Marketing. They covered basic tips of business and communication etiquette that will be useful for interviews and future careers.

Krebs led the student through a discussion on what is proper and polite in business scenarios.

Top Business Etiquette Tips:

  • Learn and observe international customs.
  • When introducing yourself, put an intentional pause between your first and last name to give people a chance to clearly hear your name.
  • It is easiest to exit a conversation when you are the one talking

When asked for tips to help remember people’s names, Megan Demagall, a senior studying Sales and Services Marketing, said that it is useful to “repeat the person’s name right away and then multiple times throughout the conversation.”

Professor Greenwald then went over some basic rules of communication etiquette and covered emails, LinkedIn, social media professionalism, and resume building.

Top Communication Etiquette Tips:

  • Emails should be a maximum of four to five paragraphs and should include a signature block so the recipient can easily find contact information.
  • One should follow companies they want to work for on social media and have a professional profile photo.
  • Students should update their LinkedIn profile every few weeks to stay relevant.

Updated: 10/12/2021 08:42AM