If you were presented with a dish of sorbet after eating a salad, would you understand why?
Thanks to the five-course Business Etiquette Dinner, sponsored by Enterprise Rent-A-Car and organized by Career Management Services (CMS), 78 students know the protocol and would be at ease.
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“I learned that the sorbet is eaten to cleanse the palate after a dish with a strong taste-in this case, a salad with blue cheese,” said Melissa Gaviria, a marketing major who attended a similar etiquette event last semester.
Even though such a treat isn’t commonplace, Gaviria appreciated learning proper conduct at a business meal, at which one might be talking to a potential employer, boss or co-worker.
“The rules differ between American style service and Continental, so it’s good to know the differences,” she said.
Accounting major Christopher Houseman, who decided to attend what he saw as an “excellent opportunity for professional development,” agreed.
“In Italy, a fork is placed on the right for pasta,” he said. “I didn’t know that.”
Event provides both a networking opportunity and reinforcement of the importance of social graces.
“A representative from Enterprise or a member of the college’s faculty or staff member served as a host at each table,” said Dawn Lazar (MS ’06), assistant director, undergraduate programs, CMS. “Students were given assigned seats based on the first letter of their last name to encourage networking with the host as well as with fellow students.”
Hilarion “Lari” Martinez, FIU’s diplomat in residence, moderated the event, which was both enjoyable and professionally valuable. Gaviria described it as “super fun,” and Houseman recognized its potential.
“The difference between getting your dream job and not getting it could come down to something as simple as etiquette,” he said.
Career Management Services hopes to offer the dinner each fall and spring semester.