Site icon Scott M. Stanchak

An Open Letter to My Students

This post is an updated version from May 2018.

At the end of every semester at New York University, I devote a portion of one class to careers. I focus on where students can take what they’ve learned in e-commerce or digital marketing and translate that into a job. But I don’t stop there.

I think back to when I was in college and the knowledge passed on to me by my professors. Most of them were focused on the subject we all registered for – nothing more, nothing less. Now, as a teacher myself, I’ve realized that there is more though.

To me, infusing lessons of leadership and career strategy comes along with taking one of my classes. It’s why I don’t mandate a textbook, but instead, offer up a list of 25 books that cost just as much and have had a profound impact on my own career. These books range from guiding and inspirational (“Man Searching for Meaning” or “The Alchemist”) to product and marketing focused (“The Conversion Code” or “Hooked”).

Being a specialist and knowing how to do one thing really well can only carry you so far, no matter what industry. And, truthfully, some people are fine with complacency, which is okay. But, if you’re not, developing leadership skills and knowing how to navigate the world outside of 11 West 42nd St. — or wherever you’re reading this — are important attributes to achieving something greater.

I don’t pretend to know all the answers — I never will. Yet, what I have learned I believe can help serve as some small guidance to those who want to excel in their careers. Want can only happen to those who recognize a desire to become better.

I expect this list will grow and change over time. There’s also no order to it so those at the top are no more important than those at the bottom.

The last time I wrote an open letter, it resonated with many people. I hope this one does the same.

This post was last updated on May 5, 2020

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