Business Expert Advice and Interviews

Successful corporate executives and employees never meet their goals by remaining in isolation. As the English poet John Donne famously said, “No man is an island… each is a piece of the continent.” We all rely on the expertise and guidance of our predecessors to carve out our own niche and ultimately set the bar higher. Here are four motivational quotes from industry leaders and experts with advice on personal development, career searching and corporate life.

“One size doesn’t fit all. How you should focus your time depends on where you are headed. For instance, if you want to work in Private Equity or another high end financial service careers, you had better focus on getting good grades or it will be a non-starter.
On the other hand, if you intend to start a business right out of school like I did, it might be more important to develop your social skills at the bar.”

“I know this sounds like crazy advice, but the most important thing I learned how to do at school was how get along with others which helped me sell myself to customers, prospective employees and investors. No one has ever asked me what my grades were, but people have asked where I learned to sell like I do!”

Ellen Thompson, CEO & Co-Founder, 4 Walls, Inc. (Source:

“Never, ever burn bridges because careers are long and you never know who you will come into contact with later in life. Start somewhere and don’t look for the perfect job out of the gates. I sold porcelain collector plates as my first job after playing professional tennis, and have still had as dynamic a career as anyone I know.”

Mike Sprouse, Chief Marketing Officer, Epic Media Group and author, The Greatness Gap (Source:

“Look for ways to blend the art and the science of marketing. Statistics, accounting, operations management… You’ve completed your coursework. You’ve poured over the math formulas. You’ve studied the theories. In the ‘real world,’ you have to apply all this knowledge – with a twist. Successful marketers learn to combine the science of numbers with the art of creativity. Remember: Your job is to differentiate, delight and disrupt:

Differentiate. Help your company and its product(s) stand out in today’s crowded marketplace. How? By creating a unique and compelling customer experience. (Of course, even before all that, getting hired will require you to differentiate yourself among all other candidates. Hint: Find the intersection of what you are great at, what the market values and what will help the company win.)

Delight. As you inboard, do your homework. Hit the ground running with a clear understanding of your customer and target base. Then, bring ideas to the table that will delight them.

Disrupt. Use big data insights and the voice of the customer to help your company find paths to drive change. Now is not the time for ‘the same old same old.’ Marketing that’s disruptive can help your company thrive and climb in this competitive business environment.”

Lisa Arthur, contributor, Forbes

“When you read the professional bios of successful people, keep in mind that they are written in a way intended to fool you. As you ponder one triumph after another you can be forgiven for thinking that one success flowed easily into the next. Life doesn’t work that way. It is almost always three steps forward, one step back – if you’re lucky. Don’t be discouraged by this.”

“Be informed. My first boss advised me not to come into work without having read The Washington Post. It was good advice. Get out of our comfort zone. ‘You are only young once’ is even more true than ‘youth is wasted on the young.’ Don’t waste it. Do things you won’t have the opportunity to do when you’re older, more settled and have more responsibilities than you can imagine today.”

Adam Lashinsky, Sr. Editor at Fortune Magazine, Business Insider

Helpful tips and valuable insights abound in corporate culture. By gleaning wisdom from executives, company managers, and other industry experts, today’s business students and young professionals are essentially carrying on legacies of success and innovation that have been in place for generations.