1. The Humble Brag
They say America runs on Dunkin, but I say otherwise. This pristine country runs on the humble brag. What exactly is this nuanced art? Well, somewhere down the line, it became socially unacceptable to run around flaunting your job offers, Rolex watches, 4.3 GPAs, high school accomplishments, Yeezies, and social standing. Yet, paradoxically, it is socially acceptable in every single way. You just need to do it right to succeed. Let’s see an example:
Happy College Student: Yo Mike, help me out real quick.
Goldman Sachs Intern Last Summer (Mike): Definitely, what’s up?
Happy College Student: Which sandwich should I get at Mac’s?
Goldman Sachs Intern Last Summer (Mike): Ah, simple! When I worked at Goldman Sachs as an intern last summer, I always got the ham sandwich with some mustard. The mustard really got me through the long hours as I worked on a #deal for a #multi-billiondollarcompany. Also definitely get a water bottle. I drank a lot of water when I worked at, again, Goldman Sachs as an investment banking intern last summer.
Happy College Student: Uh… thanks?
Goldman Sachs Intern Last Summer (Mike): No problem. When I worked at Goldman Sachs, there was no need to thank anyone, especially not me. After all, I could probably buy your family!
This subtle brag, as demonstrated by Mike, effectively got his point across. He not only elegantly assisted his friend with a difficult sandwich selection (achievable by only the most intelligent investment bankers), but also established his high-performing credentials as a former Goldman Sachs summer intern. When I worked at Deloitte Consulting LLP in their top technology service line, I definitely noticed that subtle bragging was a huge problem amongst not only interns, but also full-time hires.
2. Identity Valuation
If you think America strips your identity by forcing you into several social constructs and identifying you by race, gender and ethnicity, then you’re in for a treat. When people are born into this world, they are assigned names: first names, middle names and last names. Once you step into the business student world, this no longer matters. Here, we are ruthless and pragmatic. We assign VALUES to people. Henceforth, the only way to refer to your peers is by their internships and their club participation. Let’s say you pass your friend Jim in Warren Hall. NO! You already made an error. You shouldn’t even think that you passed “Jim.” You should be thinking: oh, I just passed Accenture.
3. Seasonal Friendships
Let’s say you’ve built a huge network here. People know your name, you think you’re a celebrity of sorts, and you feel like you’re just killing it. How on Earth do you keep up with everyone you’ve met? How do you cultivate your public image? Well, there are two simple steps to follow. The first step is what I refer to as the food mirage. Every time you see someone that you haven’t really spent time with in a while, smile very warmly and excitedly say “Wow, haven’t seen you in forever! Let’s catch up soon!” Then, say that you would like to grab coffee or lunch sometime. Usually, the other person will say yes. As soon as you pass them and are out of vocal range, forget that the encounter ever happened. In the best case scenario, the other person will not actually follow up because they are either just as busy, forgetful, or think you’re too busy for them. They’ll also think you’re really friendly and cool because you so amicably offered to meet. In the worst case scenario, you must stand them up constantly. They want to grab coffee after class on a Tuesday? Oops, you now have an “e-board” meeting for one of your many clubs. What about Wednesday? Oh! That might work… wait… no… I have a “phone call” then. Now, I’m not promoting lies — the e-board meeting in this case would be a sick rager that many of your e-board compatriots also happen to be at. The phone call? Ordering a bagel from CTB. Remember: the key here is to think that your schedule is infinitely more important than everyone else’s. Be entitled!
4. The Intellectual Ruse (Disclaimer: I got rejected from Stern)
No one likes the graduate from NYU Stern any more than they like Dwight Schrute from the Office; both are empty human shells that attempt to unsuccessfully integrate with the rest of society. How do you avoid this image of a diehard business person? Your life can’t only be about assets equalling the sum of liabilities plus stockholders equity. No one else except your business school friends will care about the fact that you trade stocks and that you read equity research reports. It’s just not cool anymore like it was in high school because everyone does this shit. You have to seem interesting. Take classes outside the business discipline: want everyone to think you’re cultured? Take one class in art history and then run around screaming that you’re an art history minor (currently doing this with limited to moderate success). Take CS 1100, tell people you want to transition into STEM and then quietly drop the class a few weeks later when the first assignment takes you over 7 hours to complete and you feel your GPA start to tank. Don’t tell anyone: you can then cultivate this image that you’re so capable that you’re even engineerering! Bonus points include listening to podcasts and reading Malcolm Gladwell so you can throw around buzzwords and ideas that you did not come up with. Become a #intellectual.
5. Be a Snake
You love your friends, but you love yourself more. Because everyone gets over a 3.5 in business, let’s focus on job recruitment. How do you be a snake? Psychological warfare. Let’s say you’re applying to the top three consulting firms. You don’t want a lot of competition, so whenever you talk to your classmates and friends about consulting, always mention the second tier companies and say they’re fantastic. See below for an example:
My Friend: So Charlie, how’s recruitment going? You’re applying to what companies?
Charlie: Oh I’m applying to a few consulting firms.
My Friend: Oh which ones? I was wondering where I should apply too! You’re applying to Bain and BCG right?
Charlie: Oh no uh… those aren’t worth it… you should apply to the Baltimore Consulting Group. They are all really up and coming.
Obviously, this isn’t enough. What other things can you do? Well, be sketchy. Someone asks you about who you’ve talked to from a firm? Look them in the eye and don’t say a word — make the situation as uncomfortable as possible and turn it confrontational even though it was an innocent question. When is the application due? Say you forgot but you probably won’t apply (even though you so will). If none of the above tactics have worked, either poison your friends’ food or send their drunk snaps to the firm recruiters.
6. Never Fold Your Laundry
This one is pretty self explanatory. What’s the point of folding your laundry when you have to wear your clothes and unfold them again anyway? This logic extends to just about everything else. Why eat when you have to eat again? Why shower when you have to shower again? Discontinuing all of these habits ingrained in you by the proles of the world will bring you to the next level of efficiency and cost savings. Stop living by social norms and dedicate your life to information sessions, interviews and pseudo-intellectualism.