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7 Things I Learned from Working at a Business School

Tuesday was my last day working at UT’s McCombs School of Business, as I’ve started a new job with UT’s central communications office.

I never imagined myself working at a business school. During my years as an undergraduate at UT, I’m not even sure if I ever set foot in the building. I just knew it was where all the “fancy” students went to class, and even 20-year-olds wore suits on a regular basis.

But after five-and-a-half years at McCombs, as managing editor of a print and online magazine and the primary voice behind the school’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, I can safely say it’s a place I know pretty well, and I picked up a few things along the way.

  1. How to spell “entrepreneur.” I don’t even have to use the dictionary.
  2. Business students hustle. There’s nothing like having a teenager make you feel like an under-achiever. Most business students, whether undergraduate or MBA, are incredibly hard workers who have sort of an obsession with opportunity–in a good way. They have seemingly unlimited energy and enthusiasm and are always on the lookout for new ways to work, contribute, create, and learn. For most it’s not just about making money, although that is certainly valued.
  3. Rankings rule all. While beautiful stories, fun photos, big headlines, and enlightening infographics always proved popular, the topic our readers cared about far more than anything else was rankings. Business students and alumni love to see those numbers. Thankfully at McCombs, we usually had pretty stellar ones to tout.
  4. “Business casual” just means a suit without the jacket and tie.
  5. Hermes is the god of commerce (and the McCombs mascot, sort of).
  6. There are more than 1,000 billionaires in the world. Three are McCombs alumni.
  7. Business is fascinating. Before I took this job, I didn’t have a particular interest in business. In fact, part of me was a little concerned the content might be a bit dry for my taste. But I didn’t have anything to worry about. In addition to intriguing finance and accounting research (really!), I had the opportunity to tell stories of discovery, ambition, love, loss, grief, unimaginable perseverance, terrifying risk, inspiration, community, nostalgia, secret hopes, lives changing, and so much more. It was a pleasure, and I left behind a long list of stories that still need to be told.

I’m excited to move to the university level and explore more of what’s going on around other corners of campus, but I’m grateful for my deeply educational and challenging experience in the world of business and for the “fancy” students letting this communications schlub sit in for awhile.

 

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I write what I know (and love). Mostly higher education, writing and public relations.