Dean Taylor’s first job

Before the food truck phenomenon, there were food carts. You can still see them on many corners in New York City. Now, try to imagine Dean Mark Taylor, as a teenager, outside a stadium in England hawking hot dogs to hungry football fans. We realize it may not be the most glamorous first job (few are), but Dean Taylor tells Poets & Quants that the experience probably inspired his career in business and finance. Here’s the dean’s description of his first foray into commerce:

Mark P. Taylor, Dean of Olin Business School.
James Byard / WUSTL Photos

“During my teenage years in England, I used to sell hot dogs on the weekend from a street cart outside pubs and outside the local stadium during soccer matches. I worked on a commission of twenty percent of the gross takings, but I figured out that the overall margin was probably two or three times that. I was always among the top sellers, so I tried to negotiate a pay raise with my employer but they did not want to pay me more because they would have had to pay all of the other hot dog sellers more. Quite rightly, they pointed out that while I was selling more on average, I was getting twenty percent of that extra amount, so I was already being rewarded for exceptional performance.

“Nevertheless, perhaps a little arrogantly, I accepted a job with higher commission at a new, rival company. However, the new market entrant did not have the top locations for their carts and overall sales were lower, leading to a lower sales commission. I was forced to go back to my original employer and ask for my old job back. However, when I did, I suggested that I could train some of the other sales people and help with accounting, to save the owner time at the end of a shift. My business takeaways from this experience were numerous; in fact, it probably pushed me into a career in business and finance.”

Link to P&Q’s article on Deans’ First Jobs here.

Photo: Sculpture by Seward Johnson, “Relish, too?” Celebrating the Familiar series

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