Robert Kaplan, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, told a group of Mays Business School students the best things they can be doing to prepare for a career are to pay attention to world events and invest in and watch the stock market daily. He suggested the Wall Street Journal and business magazines as good sources of that information.

Kaplan met on March 27 with students in the Commercial Banking Program at Mays ranging from juniors to graduate students, as well as other students and faculty members from Mays. That evening, Kaplan discussed economic conditions and the role of monetary policy as part of the Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics, and Public Policy at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University’s “Conversation in Public Policy.”

“If I were interviewing you for a job, the first question would be ‘What is the market doing now?’”  he said. “The second question would be, ‘What do you think it’s going to do? And why?’ If you can’t answer those questions, you’re not going to get very far with a lot of business people.”

Kaplan said classroom knowledge is valuable, but life’s lessons are the best teachers. “You’re going to make lots and lots and lots of mistakes, so you might as well get used to it,” he said. “If you’re a straight A student, you’re going to have a harder time in business than if you’r e not because you’re a perfectionist and you’re not going to like making mistakes. But there is no way around it.”

Kaplan was joined at Texas A&M by Jason Ritchie, assistant vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank-Dallas, who serves on the advisory board of directors of the Commercial Banking Program at Mays; and Daron Peschel, the Houston branch manager.

Prior to serving at the Dallas Federal Reserve, Kaplan was the Martin Marshall Professor of Management Practice and senior associate dean at the Harvard Business School and was vice chairman of the Goldman Sachs Group. He is also co-chairman of Project ALS and co-chairman of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, a global venture philanthropy firm that invests in developing nonprofit enterprises dedicated to addressing social issues. He is also a board member of the Harvard Medical School.