Some advice for new graduates

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Recently, have found myself giving advice to some recent college graduates beginning their careers in business.

Figured I’d share here, since plenty of my readers are in the early stages of their careers and this is the advice I wish someone had given me.

As always, my advice is worth what you’re paying for it.

Here is what I recommend:
  1. Immediately begin reading the Wall Street Journal (focus on the “Business” and “Markets” sections)
  2. If you’re in LA, begin reading the Los Angeles Business Journal
  3. Go to the Berkshire Hathaway website and start reading Warren Buffett’s annual shareholder letters, beginning with the first one in 1965(?) and continuing through this year’s letter. This is like a free, very high quality education in insurance, management, and corporate finance.
  4. Pick out 4-5 public companies in the industry you’re looking to get into (ideally, ones headquartered in the city in which you want to live) and go read their most recent annual reports, paying particular attention to the CEO’s letter. You will quickly get a sense for the challenges and opportunities facing the industry.
  5. Using the annual reports, the WSJ and (in LA) the LABJ, pick out 5-10 leaders in your chosen industry, cold-email them, and ask you if can come into their offices at any time that works for them for a 30 minute conversation. If any agree, do a TON of preparation for the meeting – read everything you can find on the person, their company, their industry, etc. Prepare a list of really good questions and memorize it. Go in there and impress the hell out of them.

If you do the above, you will be about a million times more prepared than your competitors. The rest is up to you.

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