“I had been out of school for a couple of years and realized that there are all these life-after-school things that no one explains,” said seminar leader Jesse Vickey, who runs a company called Cap and Compass that helps teach college students money management skills and business etiquette.

The Michigan Student Assembly sponsored two of the company’s seminars in the Michigan Union last night, where Cap and Compass representative Andy Ferguson presented the “Love Your Money” and “Avoid Looking Stupid At Dinner” talks to a large crowd.

“The undergraduate experience leaves people well prepared in things you learn in school but somewhat inexperienced to handle your own life,” MSA Communications Committee Chair Pete Woiwode said.

“We want to give people a chance to sort out any confusion they have,” Ferguson said. “You do want to make the seminars as entertaining as possible.”

Drawing from his previous careers as a schoolteacher and standup comic, Ferguson presented a step-by-step slideshow about the most lucrative accounts and stocks for students to invest in, credit card bills and the common mistakes made by graduates when repaying loans.

“It’s all about putting your money with the best interest rate possible,” he said, citing the traditionally high yields of money market funds. “The problem with a checking account is it gets you nothing.”

Both seminars involved students asking questions – for which Ferguson tossed them a candy reward – and interactive examples demonstrating how to choose a wine during business meals and appropriate topics for conversation.

“It’s etiquette and then some, and what other things you should be thinking about when you’re out on a business dinner,” Vickey said, referring to “Avoid Looking Stupid at Dinner.”

“Unfortunately, most of the things we hear about dinners from TV are the wrong way to do things,” Ferguson said, adding that a recent survey by Harvard University and the Stanford Research Center revealed 85 percent of job-seekers are hired based on their people skills and not their technical skills.

Ferguson added that common mistakes by graduates during business interviews include “trying too hard” to impress and forgetting business is the main purpose of the meal. “Everything else is secondary,” he said.

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