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Professor Dahlen’s “5 to Thrive”

Tuesday, January 12 2016 12:00am

Each semester, Marketing Professor and Director of the Consumer Research Center Dan Dahlen closes his last lecture with the same content: his “5 to thrive” tips for success.

By Brianna Wilson

“There’s one caveat that I say each time,” he said. “I know you [students] don’t need any more fatherly advice, but after 40 years of experience, there’s a lot I know now that I wish someone had told me."

Without further adieu, Dahlen shares his “5 to Thrive”: 

  1. Think of yourself as a brand. Positioning is critical to the success of a brand, so think about how you are going to market yourself to a company. What makes you better than the other 100 resumes? My former boss used to ask what one thing I could bring to the table that nobody else could; he called it an x factor. Know your x factor, and how to promote it.
  2. Get horizontal. There are so many people who move vertically. They get internships, graduate, apply for jobs; nothing pops out as different. People can get so wrapped up in how all of their experiences line up, but they don’t really. Try moving horizontally. Spend two months being an Uber driver. I encourage students to volunteer to get horizontal. Volunteerism is a way to help your personal brand be perceived as 'different and better'. Having some sort of dimension to you career path is critical.
  3. Know your priorities. And have them clearly established in your mind. Mine are health, family, passion and work. Without your health, you have nothing. With good health you have hope, and with hope you are rich. Someone once told me that and I’ve held onto it.
  4. Find a passion. You have to be passionate about something, whether it’s fishing, golfing, learning, painting, reading…whatever it is, make sure you grab onto it.
  5. Read. “Aside from going back to school, the only way to learn is to read. And it’s amazing how many people stop reading and therefore stop educating themselves. If you’re not reading, you’re going to be left behind.