Jack's 3 Rules to his Graduating Students

3 thingsNot sure how we got here so quickly, but here we are at the 12th week of a 13 week semester with all that's left being the end-of-semester final Marketing presentations of the student teams to their company managers over the period of the next two weeks. Those 90 minute presentations accompanied by detailed marketing plans account for 40% of the students' semester grade, and that 40% is determined by the company manager graded on the basis of how the student teams of five or six met their objectives.  All very exacting, all very real-world, all real-life detailing of Marketing strategies, tactics and accompanying expenses.  The reality of the hard work accomplished by the students is what's exciting for me and keeps me motivated.   

It's been a demanding, complex, fun and very exciting semester   The Science of Sales course has one more content week, and then their final presentations and detailed sales plans will unfold through the balance of the month into the first week of May.   

I always end each semester, as I did yesterday in our Marketing course, with my 3 Rules.   

1. Cherish Your Connections

I used to use the words "keep", "use" and "maintain" rather than "cherish", but none of those cold words got to the true essence of what I meant.  "Keep" seemed to me to merely mean "keep in a list", which is not the connotation I want.   "Cherish" on the other hand means "continuously reach out", and "don't lose" , "consistently communicate", even extend to "love to".  Maybe that use of connections occurs through social posts or a blog or a video or even a once-a-year holiday newsletter.  Perhaps, it's merely noting a friend's birthday or a promotion or a job change on Linked In. The very good news today is that there are 30 plus different ways to continue to connect.   


  • For the humanness, for the fun, and for the personality of you.
  • For the marketing of you, for your achievements and for the potential of new jobs.
  • For breaking through the degrees of separation which used to be 6 and are now 4.

2. Require Life Long Learning of Yourself

45% of my students will go on to get advanced degrees ranging from MBAs to Master's and PhDs covering a very wide range of fields including a noticeable sprinkling of medical doctors and lawyers.  I know this since I'm very close to many of my graduates, and, as a result, I write 30ish recommendations every spring.  

But, what I am expressing here in Rule #2 is not just about advanced degrees.  It's a requirement to learn both in and out of the classroom and consistently push yourself to learn and not necessarily for the degree or the certification.  It's a requirement to stretch beyond the day-to-day and perhaps take just one course every year or every two years in something that you love and want to personally discover and hold yourself accountable for.  Perhaps it's some facet of collecting art or actually learning to paint, maybe it's fly fishing or wood working or achieving online certifications in marketing and sales.  Whatever it is there needs to be something that stimulates you to get to your personal "next level" whatever that means to you.


  • Mostly to be happy in what you do both in and out of your work.
  • The data clearly shows that consistent learning will extend your life.
  • And...of course...for the marketing of you and your job promotions.

3. Break Some Rules...just not the big ones. 

I strongly encourage my juniors, seniors and grad students, who by now have spent their entire life studying, to do something very different and possibly break the rule of moving directly from college into "the job", "the lab", or the advanced degree.  Clearly, I realize that in this last of my three rules, it is directly counter to what I teach in my "The Marketing of You" symposiums plus the fact that I open hundreds of corporate doors for my students for associate-level jobs every year. 

This is the rule that prompts a percentage my students to question their career direction or maybe even tear up their prescribed playbook and ask me "if I don't do this now, when will I do it?"   As a result, a small, but meaningful, percentage of my students will take a year immediately following Tufts to work for Boston City Year or volunteer in an inner-city food bank or teach in a remote fishing village in Alaska: all real life examples from my 2023 graduating alums.  In my own case, this thought process of breaking rules led me to turn down the graduate degree acceptance at the University of Chicago and head off to the Peace Corps for a few years.

Just a few thoughts on a rainy Friday while you're making sales calls and perhaps o kick around this weekend.

BTW to put the reality of "the 3 Rules" into perspective,
is why I teach:

"What an incredible semester it has been with Jack Derby leading the way in Entrepreneurial Marketing. Seriously, Jack is not just a professor; he's a mentor who's all about giving each student a real sense of purpose in life. From uncovering our strengths to guiding us towards our life goals, he's been there every step of the journey this past semester. Every student matters in his class. And let me tell you, his parting words during our last class hit home: Build connections, be a lifelong learner, and don't be afraid to break a few rules along the way.   Massive shoutout to the Derby Entrepreneurship Center for fostering this amazing growth environment! Thank you for a great semester and looking forward to working alongside you in the future. 

Just a few ideas for all of us to think about today as we look out for another great day of selling and marketing


Sales Funnel 2023-3For a few ideas on Sales and improving the productivity of your own team, you can click here for this brand new  "Writing the Winning Sales Plan in 2024", for a few ideas on structure, sales models, process funnels and a number of productivity tools and how to recruit and hire the best.  

BTW, I always have tens of the best associate-level juniors and seniors available for a Sales or Marketing internship this summer or a full-time job in June.  Give me a call to discuss at 617-504-4222 or jack@derbymanagement.com. 

Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts.


Tags: Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Business Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning