Advice for today’s graduates


Insights & Joy

June 2014

Richard Morgan
Richard P. Morgan CMC, FIMC

 Helping leaders accelerate profitable growth by enhancing a team’s ability to create and deploy right actions, right now

Advice for today’s graduates

I am the mentor for a full-time MBA student enrolled at a major university in the D/FW Metroplex. My meetings with her allow us to exchange insights. I gain insights about her educational progress and her quest for a summer internship, so she can experience both academics and the real business world. 

During our discussions, I try to help her balance her formal education by supplying an ample dose of experience-based realism. It occurred to me that the advice might be helpful to other graduating students. I gave my mentee a few bullet points that I thought would serve as a summary of my thoughts. I then gave her the project of reviewing my list. She could add to the list, expand, or eliminate points. I encouraged her to seek opinions from other students and report back to me for this article.

The students who participated are as follows alphabetically: J. Christopher Chostner, Case Collett, Kyle Evans, Aaron Stayman, and Wannie Wang. My thanks to all for their participation and perspectives.

  • Lifelong learning: Graduation is the culmination of a formal educational program, but you should never stop learning. The half-life of specialized formal education today is measured in months or years, not decades. Students of all ages need to maintain their intellectual curiosity and be open to new ideas and advances. There is an on-going need to move outside one’s comfort zone. Degrees and certifications get your foot in the door, but continued learning and exceeding expectations get you promoted.


  • Education versus experience: Formal education provides you with a tool box. Experiences convert you into a craftsman. It is your ability to apply your tools and your knowledge for expected results that become meaningful after graduation. Honing both knowledge and experience creates greater success.

    Russell Ackoff, a professor emeritus at the Wharton School, offered a profound nugget a few years ago. He contrasted data, information, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. His concern involved the glut of data and information, and the dearth of real understanding and wisdom in our high velocity world.

    Graduates have had the benefit of the risk-free academic setting in which to learn. Experience comes from effectively applying those skills within a dynamic organization where individuals pursue very diverse goals. Education and experience are intertwined, requiring a continuous cycle of  learning and doing.

  • Enthusiasm and assertiveness: Enthusiasm is an essential ingredient for success. Enthusiasm is contagious. It generates action and a desire in others to follow and contribute. Why pursue something if you have no passion for it? Enthusiasm and assertiveness, often termed confidence, are vital during job interviews. Strong listening skills help keep you on topic during a give and take discussion. Leaders are particularly good at combining listening with assertiveness and enthusiasm.


  • Humility and teamwork: Lone wolves are driven from the pack. Consistently good performance as part of a team earns recognition without your having to take personal credit for the results. A healthy dose of humility pays dividends. Your team probably will have members with diverse educational and work backgrounds. Consider that other team members are there for a reason and may have more experience given the task at hand. Your formal education will be of value, of course, so pick your spots and voice your ideas appropriately.


  • Real world applications: In the real world, theoretical solutions have a tendency to become chaotic. Your knowledge of managerial theory is valuable, but expect complications when you apply theory to real issues within your organization. Recognize that there will be unintended consequences in many cases. Try to take a holistic view and consider the effects of your recommendation on other parts of the organization. It is best not to assume that because you received specialized knowledge as part of your education that you are now the premier expert. Keep an open mind and you will learn how best to apply your knowledge.
  • Value of mentors: Nobody is completely self-made. You are a product of your environment and your education. Mentors help you push the envelope and embrace ideas or actions you may not have otherwise considered.  Some universities have formal mentoring programs for students. Once you join an organization, it is wise to identify one or more mentors who will help guide you through the mine field of company politics. Mentors often spot new hires with high potential and help them make better career decisions. A mentor also makes a great sounding board for your ideas or concerns. At some point, you will want to “pay it forward,” and act as a mentor to others. The experience can be quite rewarding.


  • Results versus process: A process is useful for solving problems and reproducing good results. You will be asked to make recommendations and also describe your reasoning or the process you used to arrive at your recommendations. A sound process can help you see issues before they arise, or possibly highlight the need to put effort toward a more desirable outcome. Processes normally contain milestones and intermediate checkpoints that help keep a project on track. In the end, you will be judged by the results you deliver, not the elegance of the process.


“Effective marketing doesn’t take millions. It takes imagination, enthusiasm, and the willingness to experiment and change.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                     Richard P. Morgan CMC, FIMC 

$ Million Marketing Tips

Tip: Trying to communicate too much is ineffective. One good reason to buy is better than four reasons forgotten. Effective communication is effective marketing.

Tip: Marketing is not just a function or department…it involves your entire firm. Help everyone act and feel like a marketer!

Marketing Facets

The Market-focused Guide to Company Analysis by Richard P. Morgan CMC, FIMC

Marketing Facets is a practical resource for those involved in determining the current health of a company and gauging its future prospects. Designed to be a supplement to other due diligence or business evaluation work, the 103-page guidebook takes a holistic approach. The guidebook assembles facts about twenty-five marketing functions along with management assumptions in key areas to help analysts form and support conclusions about the enterprise.

Marketing Facets is a valuable resource for private equity fund managers, individual investors, investment banks, and valuation specialists. C-level executives will find Marketing Facets a helpful guide for internal analysis, as part of normal business planning, or in advance of efforts to refinance or divest.

Marketing Facets is available in electronic form via the Internet, on CD/ROM, or in print with a ring binder.

> Electronic in MS Word or Adobe .pdf format via the Internet @ $80.00

> CD/ROM format @ $90.00 including U.S. shipping and handling

> Ring binder print version with CD/ROM combo @ 100.00 including U.S. shipping and handling

Consulting is also available. Please contact Morgan Marketing Solutions, Inc. for additional information. 972.931.7993 * email

Smiles make the day!
Bumper stickers

  • All generalizations are false.

  • I’m not as think as you drunk I am. 

  • Forget world peace. Visualize using your turn signal.

  • We have enough youth. How about a fountain of smart? 

  • It is as bad as you think, and they are out to get you!

  • Out of my mind. Back in 10 minutes.

  • Born free. Taxed to death.

  • I get enough exercise just pushing my luck!


A client speaks: 

“The experience at Garrett Creek Ranch was an unbelievably positive experience. Every person attending has followed up with enthusiasm and a lot of thanks for the entire weekend. Then, the added benefits of our update with the rest of our team today completed the circle of energy that is flowing through this store today. Thank you so much for sharing just a bit of your knowledge with us all, but especially Paul and myself. We appreciate all that you have begun so far and I’m sure the future holds great things for everyone involved.” Dianne Tacker, CFO, The Tacker Company, Inc., Grapevine, TX

 Our ideal client: is a business owner or CEO, 30 to 60+ years of age. Usually with a financial, engineering, or production background. Our client is often impatient, and interested in improving company performance. Comes alive when you ask, “How’s business?” He, or she is practical but also enjoys the finer things in life. So, you may see my client driving a Lexus or SUV to Neiman Marcus…and to Sam’s Club. Who do you know that fits this description?

P.S. Ninety-three percent of our engagements originate as a referral from helpful people like you. Please don’t keep me a secret!

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Copyright 2014, Morgan Marketing Solutions, Inc.

Richard P. Morgan CMC, FIMC

Morgan Marketing Solutions, Inc.

Two Galleria Tower, Suite 1000
13455 Noel Rd, Dallas, TX 75240-6620

Telephone 972.931.7993

Author, Marketing Facets – The Market-focused Guide to Company Analysis


CMC (Certified Management Consultant) is a mark awarded by the Institute of Management Consultants USA, and represents evidence of the highest standards of consulting and adherence to the ethical canons of the profession. Less than 1% of all consultants have achieved this level of performance and dedication. The CMC process is now recognized as an ISO17024 process. For more information go to