Arment Dietrich

Three Things They Don’t Teach You in Business School

By: Arment Dietrich | March 2, 2011 | 

I’ve been at Arment Dietrich for almost five years, and as any longer-term employee at a company can tell you, I’ve learned much more than I ever did in business school.

Yes, I’ve learned about marketing, HR and management theories, a dibble-dabble in finance, but there are three main ideas that have been presenting themselves to me as I reach my half-a-decade-mark that I would like to share with you.

Following are three valuable points they don’t teach you in business school.

Patience.  It might be an unruly boss, an unforgiving subordinate, or a vendor that just won’t give, but there will be a time in everyone’s career that your patience is tested.

The better you are now at being tolerant and composed, the farther you will go in your career and in life, in general.  You learn the word negotiation in school, but mainly as it applies to one’s interviewing skills.

Compromise, on the other hand, is a hard thing to learn in business.  I guess this is where the phrase “the customer is always right” came into play – someone simply gave up and didn’t want to try anymore.

Persuasion.  I am learning that everything we do is sales.  No matter what type of job you have, sales is sales is sales is sales.  On a daily basis, I persuade my boss why my marketing strategy for client A is the way we should go.  I sell new innovation ideas to clients who have trouble looking outside of the box.  And I am constantly trying to influence different audiences enough to listen and maybe retain some of the information I’m relaying.

Persuasion is a great skill to work on and becomes easier with the more passion that lies behind it.

Passion.  There are going to come times in everyone’s life that we do things we don’t want to do.  If you practice the idea of finding passion in every task, these jobs will become more enjoyable and easier “sell.”

For example, in my first job I had to gather donations in forms of merchandise and gift cards for a big charity auction event.  To anyone, this sounds like a daunting task that got passed down until it could no longer be handed off.  By looking at it from the angle of getting to explore the city and going to businesses I’ve never been to before made the task more exciting, therefore I was more passionate about the job I did.

I’m still learning.  And I hope in five years from now I am writing a follow-up post of three more things I wish I learned in school.  But for now, I will continue to practice my patients, my persuasion skills, and try to find the passion in everything I do.

What skills or theories do you wish you would have learned at a younger age?

  • I think the most difficult disparity to overcome between business school theory and real world experience is coping with failure and understanding how to make it benefit you and/or your business. Sure, if you flunk an exam, you will learn to study more thoroughly and ask more questions in class leading up to the next one, but little more comes from it.

  • MySandyDa

    When I finished university and started working my first thought was “What have I been doing for 4 years? I know nothing!”. I had to l learn everything myself as if from the beginning. I got so much practical knowledge that should say that apart from three points mentioned by your shools lack practical knowledge and communication aspect – how to deliver messages.

  • Molli, I love what you said about being passionate about the work you do or finding ways to become passionate about it. I completely agree! The energy and the ideas that come from something you are passionate about cannot compare to those that stem from having a lackluster attitude about a task. I think that is why recent graduates struggle so much, they are so ready to do what they feel they are gifted in, but often there is a journey that comes before all that! ( I am learning this currently). : )

  • MaureenB2B

    Bravo, Molli!! #righton

  • dino_dogan

    Well… hope you DONT wait 5 years to grace with another excelent post 🙂

  • TheFriendlyBlogger

    Hi Molli:

    I sure wish someone would have taught me whether the TP roll goes over or under!! 🙂

    Actually,. I wish patience and “respectfully disagreeing” were taught to me. Unfortunately, no books can give you that. Hard knocks and the “streets” LOL teach us that

  • ginidietrich

    @TheFriendlyBlogger Um. Over.

  • I wish professional work ethic could be taught in school. Because school is based on a grading system, I think it would take an incredible professor or a new school structure to teach this. After working on editing a TV show and going through standards & practices at a major network, I learned how much care really needs to be put into the work.

    Incredible work ethic leads right into your point about passion — Which I couldn’t agree with more! When passion consumes your work, one hardly needs to think about their work ethic; you always do your best and pay attention to all the details.

    Thanks Molli!

  • HowieSPM

    Great post Molli

    Business School doesn’t often teach reality for most subjects. They have lots of case studies and math but often it misses the big picture. You are very observant of the big picture which not every one is.

  • HowieSPM

    @ginidietrich @TheFriendlyBlogger unless you live around the equator then I heard under works better due to a different gravity to wind ratio.

  • KyleAkerman

    Hi Molli,

    Traditional marketing theory teaches the 4 P’s. I like your teachings of the 3 P’s here. And the skills you mention are also good tools for navigating your life outside of the business world.

  • NourishedFit

    As a relatively recent MBA grad.. I couldn’t agree more!