Jack's 3 Rules to his students...

Tufts Entrepreneurship 2022 GraduationWith our final marketing and sales plans now being presented to our six host companies last week and this, the semester is rapidly coming to a close with all that is left to be done is this weekend's final grading. 

As in my sales, marketing and business planning consulting work at the firm, grading also comes down to a very formulaic process: 

  • 60% relates directly to the creation of a semester-long marketing plan
  • 40% of that 60% is graded by the senior management of the company 
  • 15% for the midterm presentation 
  • 10% for the HBS case study
  • 15% is an interpretation by the TAs and me as to the level of classroom engagement

The 3 Rules of Jack

Two weeks ago, on the last actual content day of the semester before these final presentations, I always deliver guidelines for my departing students, all of whom are leaving with solid sales and marketing skills. 65% are also leaving with jobs directly linked to this course since by now, many of my alums 5, 10 and 15 years later are returning to this course as lecturers and as mid and senior managers looking to hire young sales and marketing associates.   

1.  Cherish Your Connections

Life in terms of jobs, relationships and partnerships most often is enhanced as a result of the connections that we make in school, in our work, and in our personal interactions.  My motto for decades, which appears on the bottom of every email I send and is prevalent on our website, is simply "Please Stay Connected".   Having said that, those three words are fine for a quick marketing message or a bumper sticker, but that's not what I mean here.  I purposefully use the word "cherish", which asks my students, my business associates, and every day reminds me to reach out and activate a connection...or three...or ten.  That activation might come in an email, or a blog like this, an industry event, or simply through forwarding an interesting WSJ article on to a business associate with a "thought you might enjoy this".  Just keep connecting.  What I do know is that business and referral relationships always follow.

2.  Drive Consistent Education

Very few of my students go immediately on top graduate studies with the few exceptions being in the deep sciences or in healthcare.  Having said that, about 60% do go on to get business and law degrees of some type between the ages of 24 and 30, and I am very appreciative of the fact that they come to me to discuss the pros and cons...and the costs... and ask for recommendations. 

On one hand, I strongly recommend advanced degrees especially in business in general and specifically in finance.  Having said that, I am equally enthusiastic about specific education programs, and especially certificate programs from the better universities, which can be earned over a semester at a relatively low cost.

The key here is the word "CONSISTENT".  It will drive your own personal innovation, and it will keep you young and healthy! 

 3.  Break Some Rules

Coming out of BC decades ago, I had been accepted to the University of Chicago and was headed off to get a PhD in "the study of" English literature and specifically Elizabethan literature.  No real plan other than "I'll figure it out".   The very good news is that I broke the rule of continuing to collect degrees, and decided instead to go into the Peace Corps.  That experience changed my life forever, and returning to the U.S. two years, it enabled me to quickly enter into the world of semiconductor technology through connections I had made in the Peace Corps.  

One of my graduating seniors after hearing this rule two weeks ago sat down with her parents to explain why she was planning to go to an advanced two-year cooking program in London rather than take the rotational program job that she had been offered at one of The Big 5 consulting companies.  

So, break some rules...just not the big ones!


Jack Derby, Tufts Professor & Sales Coach

At any time, if you want to kick your answer around with me, just connect for some quick ideas and feedback. There's no cost to a call or two, plus I love listening and talking about the new world of sales and marketing.  

Enjoy the weekend!


Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts. 












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