This week, Dealbreaker printed a pair of memos that Columbia Business School sent out to its students. The memos remind first-years, in reasonably gentle language, that the stress of recruiting events is no reason to ignore social etiquette or personal hygiene. The first memo addresses itself to students who "elbow their peers out of the circle around senior bankers and virtually attack the bankers with questions"; it warns that "acting in a socially undesirable way runs a strong risk of branding you as undesirable not just to your classmates but also to recruiters." So how can the hopeful B-school networker avoid creating this impression? Among other things...
§ Ask a couple of questions and then move on or remain silent and let your classmates interact as well
§ Do not overwhelm bankers with questions when they are taking a small break (i.e. chewing food) – remember they are also human beings and have had a very long day at work.
§ Do not get drunk or gobble down food in front of bankers no matter how hungry and tired you are
The second memo, "a friendly reminder on some dress code and personal hygiene basics," urges students not to forget about toothpaste and deodorant during the busy season. Excerpts:
§ Brush your teeth regularly, or have a mint/mouth refreshers before going to recruiting events (avoid chewing gums)
§ Carry anti-perspirant with you if you are worried about sweating. Don’t wear too much cologne/perfume
§ Men – no tacky cufflinks or watches (with no crazy patterns, silver is preferable to gold)
§ Women – if it rains, do not show up in rain boots, no matter how cute you think they are
From a public-relations perspective, the leak of these memos is probably not the best thing that's ever happened to Columbia. Gawker's Richard Lawson sums it up: "Dear Adults, you have not been wearing deodorant and your mouths smell like garbage. Your haircuts were clearly done by subway hobos and/or rats, and all the girls have been wearing big rain galoshes while asking for $200k/year salaries. Men, let's not even get into the cufflink situation. Sincerely, Other Adults."