The funny thing about my undergraduate training at the Carlson School of Management (CSOM) is that it manifests itself at the oddest (ironically most appropriate) times.
Today I had a job interview. In true CSOM fashion, I did a little company research, took notes, planned out a few answers to questions, etc. It's what they ground into my head. It's now what I do.
A routine, if you will.
In preparation I also scoured my closet for a business suit last week, and wasn't impressed with what I found. Though my suit will do in a pinch, I much prefer something a little stylish. Understated, yes. But stylish too.
So instead, when I woke up today I put on what I thought was a professional, understated, yet stylish outfit instead of suit. It was only later that I realized how well it fits into the "rules" CSOM gave us business students.
Neutral colored basics - check, with a black shell dress (bonus points for being more traditional than pants)
Neutral colored accents - check, with the light blue button down shirt
No bare legs - check, because dang if it's cold out today
Minimal jewelry - check, with the stud earrings and watch
Minimal makeup - check, because it's me
Black pumps - check, with a small diversion of ankle straps
See? I didn't even think about it, but automatically dressed by the job interview guidelines CSOM pounded into my head. The rule of thumb, of course, being don't let them remember you for anything else but your mad skillz and experience. Not your distractingly dangly earrings or fire engine-red shoes...both of which I have and sport on a regular basis. Instead, keep it simple and understated, in a word: generic.
I even brought a small portfolio briefcase with copies of my resume and references. Because that's what we Carlson kids do.
So to all of the U of M folks who used to call us CSOM students nerds, I'd just like to say that yes, we are nerds, but being a nerd is great sometimes.
PS - And yes, I'm sending hand-written thank you notes...