It’s In The Presentation!

Culinary Presentation

The above photo is spot on! Most people would choose the dish on the right. How much extra effort did it take to construct the one on the right?

ANSWER: Not much!

I draw three powerful lessons here:

1. Presentation is important

  • Makes your product/service seem more valuable
  • Makes your customer think highly of you
  • Makes you look credible

2. It is very easy to do – a small reorganization of the same ingredients (data) is all it takes (as you see in the photo).

  • It’s not revolutionary changes, it is small improvements that make the difference (e.g. are you starting strong?, are you passionate?, are you engaging?)!

3. First impressions do matter

  • When you hear, “That doesn’t look very good”, what are they chances they will try it?
  • Professional speakers and trainers have long asserted that people make up their minds about people they meet for the first time within two minutes (It is actually less than that according to the book, “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell).

How can you step up your presentation game (client meetings, relationships, business meetings, etc.)? When was the last time you took a class or asked for feedback on the way you look, talk, and engage?

Stop being normal and start being gourmet!

(Hint: Anyone can do it!)
Drew Patterson, MBA


Give Thanks

As my three day weekend comes to an end, I have a lot to be thankful for; my beautiful fiancé, family, friends, and being able to spend quality time with all of them.

There is a lesson to be learned here. Our daily lives and workloads can be awfully stressful, and can put a strain on relationships. It is important to unwind and spend quality time with our loved ones so we can grow those relationships and refocus ourselves for the future..

Drew Patterson, MBA

Visiting Berney Falls in California 5/25/14

Visiting Berney Falls in California 5/25/14

What You Learn In Sales

I recently stumbled upon this article “One Job That Could Guarantee Your Success” by Joel Peterson. After reading it I could not agree more. Why do MBA students resist sales?

In the article he notes 4 different key skills a salesman develops in his career:

1) Conquer rejection: cold-calling, market surveying, and… rejection.

2) Hone your networking skills.

3) Tackle and solve problems.

4) Rise to the top using your negotiation, pervasive, and communication skills.

There were so many bright MBA students I met in my MBA program, but a significant number of them had not worked on those four skills. If they were armed with those skills in addition to all the other material we learned in the MBA program, the sky would be the limit!

Going back to school may be a larger commitment than you may be looking for, but what about the above skills? When is the last time you took yourself out of your comfort zone and worked conquering rejection, or networking, or even communicating? Help yourself, and your company will take notice.

Link to article

Drew Patterson, MBA


17 classes, 4 units each, and a lot of happy brain cells.

MBA Graduation


It has been quite the journey getting my MBA at Cal State University East Bay.

I have had the privilege to study next to some very smart minds and I will miss them all. I have enjoyed every step of the way including the times when stress levels were high.

If I had to choose three of the best things about my MBA they would be:

  1. Diverse student base – CSUEB has a large international student base, I studied along individuals from Thailand, Taiwan, China, Russia, Germany, and many more countries across the world. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about other cultures and the friendships I developed.

  2. Actual consulting – In my undergraduate degree most, if not all of the projects were hypothetical and never saw the light of day. In the MBA we had real problems and implemented comprehensive strategies to fix them. This made the work not only more challenging but also more rewarding.

  3. Leadership / communication – I particularly enjoyed this the most. If you are a manager, how should you act? How do you communicate? How do others view you? How do you get people to do what you want? How do you engage? Mastering your communication skills requires a lot of practice.

It is definitely bittersweet that it is all over, but I am excited for the next chapter and the bright future ahead.

Drew Patterson, MBA


I urge you to watch the following clip: Louis C.K. Hates Cellphones. Not only might it resonate with you, but it will probably get a laugh out of you as well.

Louis C.K. hits on something profound. He discusses how we all have times that we feel empty. It is also true that often we reach for “quick” fixes to alleviate the pain; for example: texting 50 people, eating junk food, smoking, etc. Temporally we may ease the pain, however, afterwards we are left even more miserable.

I am proposing we give Louis C.K.’s approach a try. This entails letting yourself open up and take in the feelings, wait…, wait some more (give it some time).  Allow yourself to cry, if it comes to that. Tears releases stress hormones such as cortisol. It is truly a beautiful thing what the human body is capable of. And, even if you do not cry, your time spent truly experiencing your feelings is time well spent. I urge you to give it a try the next time you are feeling down.

Andrew Patterson, MBA


Integrity. What is it? What is it to you? What does it mean? You should ask yourself these questions. If you are in a job interview and you mention, “You should hire me because I have integrity,” then you better know what you’re saying and able to back up your claim.

Here are a few definitions I found:

Webster’s Dictionary says:
1.)    The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

2.)    The state of being whole and undivided.

Jolie B. from the U.S. Air Force says:
“Integrity can be summed up with the old saying: doing the right thing even when no one’s watching. Integrity applies to your life at work, such as showing up on time even if your boss is not there, not cutting corners with your work, and being fair to customers. Integrity also applies to the way you deal with your family and friends.”

Integrity Action’s approach to integrity is this formula:

Integrity = Accountability + Competence + Ethics – Corruption

Maybe Oprah can simplify it:

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” ― Oprah Winfrey

Whatever definition we agree on, it’s clear that integrity is not easy to gain, however it can be easy to lose. At the end of the day, remember: if you claim to have integrity, are your actions living up to your words?

Andrew Patterson, MBA

The Strength in Vulnerability

Does sharing your weakness make you stronger? Is vulnerability a strength or a weakness? Think about how you can build leadership skills by embracing your own vulnerability as well as that of those you lead. In her Ted Talk on Vulnerability, Brené Brown contends that vulnerability helps leaders to inspire others. I thought about this while attending an inspiring leadership training last week.

During my workshop, we were asked to pair with someone we did not know well and share a personal story. After sharing the story, each person would then tell the other person’s story to an audience (using good storytelling skills).

Before we started, the instructors demonstrated. Pat told a story about Sue’s sister who would always go all out for holiday festivities. She would decorate the house, coordinate the holiday dinner, and relish in the joy of getting the family together. Sue’s sister did this for many years, until she became ill and confined to a wheelchair. That year the Pat had to do the decorations and the dinner while her sister watched. Taking over for her sister, Pat realized how she much her sister did and how little the family appreciated her efforts. The next year Pat’s sister died. After months of sadness Pat decided that she would always make an effort to appreciate her family members. She sat her daughters down and…

Mesmerized. That is how most of the audience must have felt because no one moved after hearing the story. Why? First, it was a great story, with real characters and true-to-life challenges. Second, it was told with heart and humility—it showed Pat’s own vulnerability. After hearing the story, I had such respect for Pat. She opened up to her audience and shared a deep, personal, powerful story.  It sure made a lasting impression on me.

Everyone deals with hardships. Opening yourself up to others might just open doors that may not have been open before. Being vulnerable enables you to draw close to someone—and often results in genuine communication. Instead of seeing vulnerability as a weakness, consider it a strength. Think about how all of the flaws and challenges that make you human can help you to connect with others. Give it a try by opening up to someone today.

We are the most in-debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history. We cannot numb, however we can embrace vulnerability. ~ Brené Brown

Andrew Patterson, MBA