Networking doesn’t just occur at campus events and with online connections, in many instances successful networking simply means living your life and trying to stay on good terms with the people you meet along the way. You may not be thinking about your career when you meet the person who will help define your path, but these stories show why it’s important to always try to leave a good impression on everyone you meet.
Sheryl Sandberg- COO of Facebook
What Her Story Teaches You: Get To Know Your Professors
If you are skipping out on open office hours with your professors, you are missing out on an opportunity to network with a professional who often has great connections. Facebook COO, Shery Sandberg learned this while studying economics at Harvard. While finishing up her B.A., she met then-professor Larry Summers, who became her mentor and thesis advisor. Summers eventually recruited Sandberg to be his research assistant for a health study he was doing for the World Bank. Once Ms. Sandberg graduated and started working in the private sector, she was again recruted by Summers, who was now the United States Secretary of the Treasury. While her drive and exceptional intelligence led her to success in Silicon Valley, you can say that getting to know her professor allowed her to get her foot in the door and create a resume that was hard to resist.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin- Co-Founders of Google, Inc.
What Their Story Teaches You: You May Not Be Friends at First, but Getting to Know Someone Can Lead to Amazing Partnerships
There are some people who meet the first day of orientation and become inseparable friends. Sergey Brin and Larry Page, co-founders of Google, Inc., would not fall into that category. When the two initially met at freshman orientation at Stanford, they briefly chatted but seemed to disagree on most subjects. As the semester progressed, they got to know each other a bit more and found they didn’t just liked hanging out together, but were both interested in improving research on the Internet. Page was working on a project focusing on backlinks, and Brin’s interest in data mining systems fit perfectly into areas where Page was struggling. The two teamed up and authored a paper, which would eventually lead to the creation of the world’s biggest and most successful search engine.
Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, David Gilboa, and Jeffrey Raider- Co-Founders of Warby Parker
What Their Story Teaches You: It’s Amazing where Simple Conversations Between Friends Can Lead
Sometimes the best ideas spring from a couple of friends complaining about a mutual hassle. Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, David Gilboa, and Jeffrey Raider were graduate students and friends at Wharton University in Philadelphia where they shared a mutual dislike for the cost of glasses. The loss of a $700 pair of glasses led to the idea for Warby Parker, which focuses on high-quality prescription glasses that cost less than people were used to. While starting a successful business may have been the last thing on their minds when the four met, you can never know where a new friendship can go.
As a student, your day is filled with opportunities to get to know people. If there was a common thread between these three stories it’s that relationships were built before opportunities were presented. Whether it’s your professor, someone you sit next to, or that person you also say hi to when you pass them in the hallway, you never know what taking a moment to properly introduce yourself will lead you.