5 things students shouldn't expect after college

Students may think they're prepared to take on the working world, but management expert Suzy Welch disagrees.

Many of the lessons students learn in college could actually hold them back in the office, says Welch.

Speaking to Marguerite Ward for CNBC, Welch identifies five ways students need to adjust their expectations to the reality of the working world.

1: Don't expect clear directions

College assignments may come with clear parameters, but professional tasks tend to be more ambiguous. To be successful, students must adapt to unclear objectives and be proactive when seeking clarity, advises Welch. To get additional context, she suggests finding previous examples or asking a colleague. 

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2: Don't expect a second chance

A new semester usually offers students a chance to wipe the slate clean, notes Welch. But in the office, there is no "re-do" button on deliverables. When a mistake is made, the best option is to take responsibility and identify how to improve next time, she advises.

3: Don't expect an A for effort

When students put in the effort to do extra credit or show up for office hours, professors may let a bad test grade slide, says Walsh. But while effort is important for any job, it's the results that actually matter. If the report doesn't come in on time, you've failed, no matter how late you stayed in the office, writes Ward.

4: Don't expect a word count

Page requirements can encourage students to be wordy, notes Ward. But in the professional world, writing long-winded prose will only irritate readers. Instead, get to the point as quickly and simply as possible, advises Welch.

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5: Don't expect to answer to just one person

In college, students only answer to a professor, writes Ward. But at work, students will report up to a boss, the boss' boss, and so on, says Welch. There will be many people weighing in on performance, so take care to treat everyone with respect, she advises.

(Ward, CNBC, 8/18).


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