Business etiquette dinner prepares students for work force

Chloe Phillips

To help students develop soft skills and avoid “food faux pas” during interviews with potential employers and business arrangements, the Dillard College of Business and the Career Management Center held a business etiquette seminar on Feb. 28 from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Clark Student Comanche Suites.

Dirk Welch, director of career management center and testing services, gives an introduction and welcome to the Etiquette Dinner held in Clark Student Center Comanche Suites, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. Photo by Rachel Johnson

According to Dirk Welch, director of career management center and testing services, the business etiquette dinner started in 2004 to engage students in “learning about the finer points in dining” and for students to gain confidence in those types of settings.

“We want them to be confident, comfortable and know what to do, and how to act and react as well as know and get accustomed to using the tools, – the fork, knives, spoons – well,” Welch said. “Then they can really focus on what they want to say, what they either want that potential employer to know about them or at the business meeting what they need to know about the product that you’re selling or engaging in.”

While Welch said his first experience with business etiquette seminars came from helping coordinate an event at a previous college he was employed by, he immediately saw the value in it.

Welch said, “I saw the value and importance and just kind of the light bulb of ‘Oh, this is gonna be so helpful when I get in those situations.’ So, when I came to Midwestern State University, the Career Management Center started offering them.”

However, this event did not begin as a collaboration between the DCOB and the CMC.

“In 2008, we [Career Management Center] were doing a wonderful event, and they [Dillard] were doing a wonderful event slightly different and we saw an opportunity to partner together and to really create something magical and larger than either one of us were accomplishing at the time,” Welch said. “And so, for the last 10 years, we’ve had that joint venture with the Dillard College of Business administration and the Career Management Center”

Rolana Ferdinand, business administration graduate, said she first  attended the seminar as an undergraduate in the past and worked the event this year because she wanted to know more about proper business etiquette. Ferdinand said she also learned something new this year and advises all students to attend this event.

“We go out and we eat and little stuff like how to rest a napkin, how to eat soup, we don’t know that stuff. So I think it’s very informative to attend this session,” Ferdinand said. “One thing I did learn, which I didn’t know before, is how to eat the mashed potatoes and rice using the fork.”

Ferdinand said she does not want students to be hesitant to attend the seminar because of the price.

“One thing, it’s $10 and you do get your money back so it’s like free food,” she said.

Abuzar Bashir, business management senior, said he heard about the etiquette seminar through professors offering bonus points to students who attended the event. While Bashir attended the event to get bonus points, he said learned something new and said the skills taught at the dinner “will come in handy.”

“Sometimes, for the second or third interview, [employers] might take you out to lunch or dinner, so I think they come in handy because she pointed out some people don’t get the jobs because of these etiquette,” Bashir said.

Alexander Hirata, dental hygiene sophomore, said attended the seminar for one of his classes and said he enjoyed the event.

“It was actually really cool, I got to learn a lot of cool stuff and a lot of stuff I didn’t know, but it was really helpful,” Hirata said.

Etiquette Dinner