Business etiquette is something that has always been influenced by technology. Handwritten notes following interviews are a rarity – now, it is more commonplace to send a well-crafted email instead. While for many corporations, video conferencing is standard practice, it is a completely new experience for high school students.
What better place to learn video conferencing etiquette than during business class? When De Smet Jesuit made the switch to remote learning in March, Business teacher Andy Lange ’02 saw an opportunity to make the most of the technology he used for daily classes to schedule an impressive lineup of guest speakers, including three De Smet Jesuit alumni. “It’s actually easier to host speakers virtually because no one has to travel,” he said. Students have enjoyed the speakers so much that they are taking the initiative to arrange a couple of the speakers themselves. In just one month’s time, the following executives have shared their expertise with students:
- Lindsay Auer – Marketing Strategist, Standing Partnership
- Pedro Lozado ’16 -- Supply Chain Intern, Millipore Sigma
- Taylor Mason – Principal, David Mason and Associates, meeting arranged by Luke Rimsky '20
- Joe Muich ’94 – Finance Leader, Expenditure Management, Edward Jones
- Kevin Pavlacic ’15 – Investment Banking Analyst, Baird
- Paul Solman – Business and Economics Correspondent, PBS NewsHour - economic consequences of the pandemic
- Stuart Strauss – CEO, Compass Health Brands - meeting arranged by Ryan Moore '20
Because video conferencing technology is so accessible, the physical location of the invited speakers has not been a barrier. For example, Paul Solman, PBS NewsHour, joined the class live from his home office in Boston. Many professionals also have more flexibility in their schedules because they are working from home.
In addition to specifics about their areas of expertise, the speakers offer timely advice for high school students. “Every speaker I invite to class offers consistent messaging around the need for high school students to be doing certain things right now,” said Mr. Lange.
These things include:
- Networking/building relationships in order to find new work/internships
- Getting involved in college, specifically in a club or extracurricular that allows you to practice what you’ll be doing (e.g. run the social media for your fraternity if you want to work in marketing after college)
- Trying something new and not being afraid to switch into something different if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing
- Companies are looking for people that know how to think and solve problems
According to Luke Rimsky, these regular guest speakers have also added a fun and interesting dynamic to remote learning classes. “It has been great to have so many people willing to take time and meet with us. I definitely look forward to these conversations and really focus on staying engaged and learning something from these experts,” he said.