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Casey Gough’s “Do’s and Don’ts of Networking” or “Don’t Let Your Classwork Get in The Way of Your Education”

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 10, 2012 11:09 AM |

I strongly believe the key to successfully navigating our economic landscape is education.

Given that I am passionate about mentoring, I try to impress upon all those whom I mentor the need to constantly expand their base of knowledge. I encourage them to read and learn from a wide array of resources including this blog and and also to utilize my Sense on Cents Career Planning link.

I also strongly encourage those whom I mentor that they “don’t let their classwork get in the way of their education.” How so? Developing street smarts, personal relationships, and business instincts are critical to long term success. How do we make this happen? Networking!

I count myself lucky that I had many formal and informal mentors. Twenty-five and thirty years later, many of those individuals remain great friends. In an attempt to continue to ‘pay it forward’ I mentor and love it. I take great pride in seeing young men and women put themselves out there, take risks, learn from their mistakes, and launch their careers.

Aside from mentoring, another great passion of mine is Holy Cross Football led by the best coach in the country, Tom Gilmore. Tomorrow I have the good fortune of mixing my two passions: observing Casey Gough, a man whom I mentored and is now an executive at Morgan Stanley, deliver a presentation to the Holy Cross football team on the “Do’s and Don’ts of Networking.”

I am enormously proud of Casey and consider his presentation so worthwhile that with his permission I share it here in the hope that others may benefit. On that note, I am quite pleased to highlight:

Casey Gough’s DO’s and DON’Ts of Networking

“Best meetings and interviews I ever had were the ones I talked the least” – people love to hear themselves talk – my default question became – how did you get to where you are from Holy Cross or what steps did you take to have such success etc – point is to get them to open up about themselves!!

• READ – Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Financial Times, BusinessWeek and more

• Ask the people you meet what they are reading – and read that.

• Have a direct and concise purpose (esp when reaching out to a ‘cold’ alum).

• Research the company beforehand.

• Be honest from the get go.

• Look the part.

• Look them in the eye and shake their hand.

• Emails are fine, phone calls are better, meetings are best.

• Use the internet – find out everything you can about people before reaching out – Linkedin, Google etc – may find out you have something in common.

• Extreme diligence in follow-ups.

• Have a purpose for a follow-up.

• Stay fresh in their minds without being annoying.

• Meet decision makers.

• ASK for a meeting, interview, job, raise, promotion etc…

• Send prompt personal thank you notes!!

• D1 Varsity Football is an asset – talk about how lessons in teamwork, reliability, time management etc all make you a desirable candidate for any firm.

* Have a very thick skin. Do not take rejection personally.

• Assume alums follow the football program close enough to know who you are.

• Assume that one meeting = a lifetime bond.

• Email a stranger with your resume attached saying “here is my resume let me know if there are any openings at your firm”.

• Pretend to be interested in something you know nothing about.

• Read the newspaper the morning of the meeting and fake your knowledge of current events.

• Be late.

• Use someone else’s name to get in the door without asking for their blessing before.

• Get complacent – networking never ends!!!

* Start e-mails with “Hey…” Those to whom you reach out are NOT your pals.

• Send the same thank you to 3 people who work at the same firm.


• If you don’t have the courage to open the door you will never know what is behind it.

• No meeting is too small.

• No meeting is too important.

• Pain of Preparation or Pain of Defeat

Thank you Casey!! With education, both inside the classroom and out, the key to successfully navigating our economic landscape, these points highlighted by Casey Gough are the equivalent of a doctorate in street smarts. Putting them into practice is where the fun really begins.

Additionally, a core principle of Sense on Cents is the knowledge that lives touched without knowing their identity remains the greatest return on human capital.

Navigate accordingly!

Larry Doyle

Isn’t it time to subscribe to all my work via e-mailRSS feed, on Twitter or Facebook?

Do your friends, family, and colleagues a favor and get them to do the same. Thanks!!

I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets, our economy, and our political realm so that meaningful investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

  • Sean

    Great stuff LD, Erudite words to live by indeed. I would also add to the list: to take notes during and after initial introductions and meetings with your networking contacts. So bring your notebook or portfolio!

  • Andrew

    I strongly agree with Casey’s points. In order to form genuine relationships, it’s important to take the time to prepare for each individual conversation. Potential mentors will respond well to someone who has taken a genuine interest in their pursuits.

    I also agree with Sean taking detailed notes of conversations is very useful. These notes will make it easier to connect the dots in future conversations with this person and with others.

  • Sean F

    All great stuff here. Business & market knowledge are obviously very important in networking and interviewing, but I think it is important to be relaxed and just be yourself. When I interview a candidate to join our team, I always ask myself, “Is this someone I want to sit next to for ten hours/day for the next two years?”

    It isn’t always about PE ratios and yield curves, sometimes its good to talk about your other interests outside of Wall St.

  • MH

    Mr. Doyle,

    I’ve just graduated from Columbia University and now I’m on the job hunt. I am very happy to have stumbled upon your thoughtful website. Searching for jobs is a rather dire activity these days and it’s encouraging to find a site, any site, that helps to focus the job search effort. Your Career Planning materials are very helpful.


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