Think you know everything there is to know about conduct becoming a biomed? Troubleshoot that high-tech MRI? No problem! Set up monitors in the OR? In a heartbeat! But how do your “life” skills rate when it comes to the rest of the job? At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, students can earn a “degree” in Charm, because, as MIT puts it: “Charm School is the stuff that will get you through life.”

 So you passed the exam and are a newly certified CBET. Or maybe after years of splitting your time between work and school you finally got that sheepskin. You’re at the top of your game – at least as far as the more “technical” material goes.

But how good are you at “Small Talk and Attentive Listening”? Where do you rate when it comes to “Restaurant Etiquette” or Cellular Phone Etiquette”? Are you as smooth as you could be when it comes time for “Buttering Up Big Shots”?

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT of Cambridge, Mass.) – a university synonymous with technical education of the highest caliber – knows that man or woman does not live by methodology alone. Even the most sterling graduates are likely to have difficulty along the career path if their table manners are nonexistent or their business etiquette isn’t up to snuff.

MIT’s solution?

MIT Charm School.

The Stratton School of Charm – named for the Student Center in which “classes” were held again this year – debuted in 1993 and has run annually since then, with the exception of one year. A half-day exercise that takes place during the school’s four-week Independent Activities period (IAP) in January and February, the program presents 30-plus short courses and concludes with a commencement ceremony. In past years, commencement speakers have included Judith Martin, also known as Miss Manners, and Dan Zevin, Rolling Stone reporter and author of the book, “Entry-Level Life: A Complete Guide to Masquerading as a Member of the Real World.” In 1997, MIT President Charles M. Vest addressed the graduates and conferred Charm School degrees in baseball cap and gown.

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