How to Succeed (MKTG 420)

Riley Gallivan

Twitter: RileyG_UO; LinkedIn:

This year in class we were fortunate enough to be lectured by a lot of guest speakers. The topics were from all over the place: marketing principles, ethics and web design. Each and every one of the speakers were great – they all brought something new to the table and helped us develop more as business and marketing majors. As much as I enjoy lectures on professionalism and how to develop in that way, I particularly enjoyed a lecture that we received on how to be a successful person.

The steps were simple. We need to take initiative and build professional and personal foundations. So many things go into each of these, but I want to break down how I see them.

A person who does things before he or she is asked to do them is a person that finds success. Why? Because people who get up, start something and push to see it through create change instead of hoping that something falls into their lap. During the Superbowl, depending on who’s playing, I tend to only care about the commercials. This year’s ads showed something really relevant to the idea of being proactive and initiative. ( Of the 6 men with ideas featured in the commercial, one man took initiative and did something with his idea. That led to him being more wealthy than I could imagine. I don’t know about you, but I wish I had a private jet and sky waitresses. Being proactive doesn’t necessarily mean we’re all going to have private jets, but it does make us a better worker, classmate and person.

Step two in finding success was building a professional background. The big idea in this was that after graduating, you can’t hope to land a job and do well just because you got a bunch of A’s in college. I don’t think it hurts to have those grades, but I agree. No class is perfect in teaching you how the business world works, but there are elements of that life in all of our classes. When we identify these and work to improve them, it makes us better overall.

The other way that I interpret this step is “taking your medicine.” What I mean by that is working in places that you don’t want to work in order to build a foundation that you can grow off of. For example, I never wanted to work at Office Depot. My dad made me apply before college and a lot of times I dreaded going into work. The things I learned while there –  personal selling, how to set up successful product displays and technology – were things that I will use at my next professional job. Identifying those elements and working on them makes me a better businessman and better co-worker.

The last step was building a personal foundation – one built upon integrity, truthfulness and dependability. It is difficult to find a business today that people call “full of integrity.” The world puts so much focus on money that it sometimes overshadows what the ethical thing to do is. Our lecturer went into detail about someone he had spoken to who worked for Bernie Madoff, and how the speaker never went to jail even though everyone connected with Madoff did. The answer was integrity. He never took the illegal benefits. He did his job the way he was supposed to – a man of truth and integrity who we can depend on.

What I’m getting at here is that you may not be the richest person in the world if you build a foundation based on integrity. You won’t go to jail though, and people will trust and like you, which ultimately is greater than any dollar you might have. If we all did this, I’d be amazed to see what the world is like.

In conclusion, I leave a 3 minute TED Talk about finding success. The reasons compared to our class are different on the surface, but it all comes down to the same thing: Success can be attained by choosing to get up, go get things done and hold oneself responsible for your acts. (

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