University of Southern California

Get Out A Number Two Pencil
July 2, 2010 • by Eddie Tannenbaum

Dear Friends of Marshall:

Now take that number two pencil and write down your answers to these ten questions:

1.  Who is your best friend?
2.  Do you have a significant other in your life?
3.  Where do you want to be living in 5 years?
4.  Will you be in grad school in 5 years?
5.  What is your favorite sport?
6.  What is your favorite food?
7.  What is your favorite restaurant?
8.  How much money will you be earning in 5 years?
9.  How much debt do you currently owe?
10. What is your dream job?

For ten years, I’ve mentored USC Marshall students through the Career Advantage Program (CAP). When we first meet in the fall, I have them write down their answers to these questions. I seal up their responses and we open them again at the end of the school year. It is usually surprising how much their lives have changed in those nine months.

I like to think a bit of that change comes because of CAP. It pairs USC Marshall School of Business sophomores, juniors and seniors with mentors like me -- men and women who are engaged in the real world of business and can offer advice, connections to internships and full time positions, and sometimes even a hot meal. This year, 115 mentors are working with 356 students. I meet with my students two or three times a month, we try local restaurants, attend events on campus and talk about their futures and how I can help them. And at least once a year I pick them up at 5:30 on a Saturday morning and take them to the track to meet one of my horses before a race! The one piece of wisdom I impart there: Fingers look like carrots to a horse. Let the horse come to you.

CAP provides students a way into the work force, a way into graduate school, a way into a successful business life. More students than ever apply to CAP and we’re looking for additional mentors. If you join our CAP team, you’ll find the joy of helping our future business leaders today. And at the end of the school year, your own answers to those ten questions might have changed in ways you’d never expect.

Fight On!

Eddie Tannenbaum
BS ‘62