Business etiquette tips to get ahead

MBA business school etiquette
Just because you’re a student doesn’t mean you’ll get a pass on etiquette. / Provided

Don’t look sloppy, be nice to your fellow students and greet people with a firm handshake. These simple rules might seem obvious but they’re certainly not on the syllabus. In her book “The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat and Tweet Your Way to Success,” Barbara Pachter will guide you through your studies without looking ignorant or unprofessional.

When is it appropriate to tweet your professor?

Usually professors let their students know the best way to reach them, including whether sending a direct message is appropriate. If a professor doesn’t say anything, you can always ask.

Is it ever appropriate to friend request your professor on Facebook?

Before you send a request, ask yourself: “Do I really want my professor to read my posts?” Plus, professors will often express their opinions about connecting with their students on social media. One professor tells her students that she will only connect with them on LinkedIn, and only after the semester has ended. My students can like my business Facebook page.

What is the proper way of greeting someone at a business meeting?

The handshake is the proper business greeting. Both men and women should stand when they shake hands.

When you are having lunch with a business associate what is the ideal thing to order?

Remember that the purpose of a business meal is business, not food. Order what you know how to eat, what is easy to eat, and what you like to eat. A business meal is not the time to experiment. Also order something in the mid-price range. If you order the most expensive item, it will look like you are taking advantage.

When applying to MBA programs, what is the best way to reach out to professors you’re interested in working with?

I would send an email to the professor. Use a descriptive subject line to catch the professor’s attention. Make sure the message is clear about what you want. Use polite language and eliminate any typos. Include your contact information—including full name and phone number.

How many emails is it appropriate to send if you don’t receive a response?

Emails do get lost so I would wait a week or so and then send one more.

Barbara Patcher’s three best tips for future MBA students:

Have a professional demeanor. You want to convey a confident and credible image. Be aware of your verbal and nonverbal communication. Are you speaking too softly or loudly? Dress appropriately. Do you use filler words (“ok,” “alright,” “like”) that take away from your comments?

Show initiative and convey enthusiasm. Go above and beyond. Offer to help others. Be proactive. Try new or better ways to accomplish your studies/work. Give sincere compliments.

Be friendly and upbeat. People don’t like to be around others that ignore them. Smile. Make an effort to greet people. Say “hello” or “good morning” to people that you know and don’t know. Speak well of others, avoid downbeat topics and stop complaining. Don’t criticize your professors, employer, boss or co-workers on your social media sites.


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