A Primer on Business Card Etiquette

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Every MBA needs a business card. It often creates others’ first impression of you and is a valuable tool in navigating the business world. At Neeley, our students receive business cards as soon as they arrive, before classes even begin. This gives them a head start on networking, which kicks off in the first few weeks of school, when students attend company information sessions and national career fairs.

Not only does a business card serve a networking purpose, it also provides your contact information to professional connections who might want to reach out to you about a potential intern or career opportunity.

If you’re crafting your own set of business cards, it’s important to put thought into the design of your card as well as the information you want to include. When it comes to creating your business card, here are some tips to follow.

Including your credentials—or not. Experts disagree on whether it is proper to include your Neeley MBA credentials on your business card. In some situations, your credentials are relevant (and may even be necessary), while they are less so in other situations. Invest in two sets of business cards—one that includes your credentials and one that does not.

Designing your business card. When it comes to business card layout and design, the options are endless. But keep in mind that what is appropriate for the business card of a graphic designer or artist is most likely not appropriate for the business card of a TCU MBA. Choose a clean background (white, light-colored, neutral), with easy-to-read font (avoid script fonts) and up-to-date contact information.

Handing out your card. A key element of business card etiquette has nothing to do with what’s on your card and everything to do with how your card is presented. Always carry your card with you so you’ll never be caught without one when asked. There is a proper time to present your card to another professional, and generally that time is at the end of a conversation or meeting as opposed to the beginning. When at a networking event or trade show, you don’t have to hand your card to every attendee. Instead, give it to the people with whom you make personal connections. Finally, always present your card with your information facing the recipient.

We at Neeley know that a business card is an important element in your professional toolbox. We can’t overestimate the importance of networking to achieving your career goals, and handing out a business card is often the first step in that process. The card should provide your information to other professionals who may wish to contact you, as well as provide a visual representation of yourself and the educational and professional status you wish to achieve.

Request more info about the Neeley School of Business graduate program or apply now.
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