Make sure your skill set can withstand the harshest critic

Raymond McGuire, head of Global Banking at Citi, recently offered sage career advice to students at Cornell’s Johnson School of Business. Several juicy takeaways:

  • “Make sure the standards you have for yourself are higher than anyone else’s standards for you.”
  • “You must invest in technical skills—they must be unassailable. If you don’t, and you get assignments wrong early in your career, you’ll pay a great penalty. In fact, you may never get out of the penalty box.”
  • “Make sure your skill set can withstand the harshest critic.”
  • “Don’t think because you have a certain fluidity in your field that you are always prepared. Your weaknesses will be exposed. You have to have the strength in your constitution to withstand that.”
  • “In order to develop mentors, you have to perform, number one. Two: you need people who recognize that. You have to go to them with your successes. Their commitment will come when you show how committed you are through your performance.”
  • “Make the most of opportunities to form solid relationships with your peers”

Expand and fine-tune your strengths, eliminate weaknesses and network.