Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"We're all friends at business school."

Remember how I was going to meet up with my frenemy, AF about her business school applications?

Well I finally did meet her for coffee. I gave her some advice on ways to reposition her story and suggested things that she could do at work to strengthen her application for next year. I chose not to suggest that she was targeting the wrong schools, but instead told her that she might want to talk with an admissions consultant about her school list. Thanks to those readers who offered their suggestions on how to handle the meeting. The experience was not as painful as I was expecting and she took my advice graciously. Perhaps she has been humbled by the process.

Anyway, talking with her made me think more about social pressures--especially in business--to maintain positive relationships with pretty much everyone: old friends, classmates, colleagues. Whatever you do, "Don't burn bridges," the old mantra goes. The social networking phenomenon only serves to intensify this pressure to connect, connect, connect. Time to link in. Accumulate hundreds of "friends" who are loose acquaintances as best. Start following people.

Regarding bschool next year, I am worried that the pressure to be friends with everyone in my class will lead me to develop a greater number of frenemies, people I don't care for but with whom I have to maintain good relations. I remember visiting Stanford last year and talking to a colleague who I thought was friends with someone else I knew. When I asked what the mutual "friend" was doing for his summer internship, the colleague told me he didn't have a clue. "I thought you were friends," I asked.

His dry reply: "We're all friends at business school."


Omne said...

I don't think b-school will be filled with frenemies; rather, a group of people you like and the rest you keep on a cordial level. You're not expected to love everyone, but to carry some mutual respect or indifference towards

Anonymous said...

Definitely don't need to like everybody and even maintain relationships. Focus on those that you "jive" with as those will be much more fruitful than any strained relationship.

Anonymous said...

It's like that at work too, isn't it? We have to make a special effort to be cordial with everyone, even the people we don't respect. Social niceties keep the world humming, even when we'd rather burn some bridges.

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