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MIT Works Hard To Make Its Nerds Workplace Ready

The scientist, engineer, or computer nerd you work with may boast more than one advanced degree, but may seem to have skipped Social Graces 120.

Not if your nerdy co-worker is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, however. MIT sends its super-smart nerds to charm school before it unleashes them on the rest of us. Thanks, MIT!

MIT's Charm School is celebrating its twentieth year teaching nerds how to use their noodles in social situations. The classes even teach them how to canoodle, which in true MIT fashion, is probably based more on theory than on actual practice. As MSN News reports:

Founded in 1993, Charm School just celebrated its 20th birthday with classes in alcohol and gym etiquette, how to dress for work (for men and for women) and how to visit a contemporary art museum. There are also classes on how to make a charming first impression, the right way to tweet and even how to dance at weddings.

"We're giving our students the tools to be productive members of society, to be the whole package," Alana Hamlett of MIT's Student Activities and Leadership Office told the Los Angeles Times. "It gets them thinking about who they are and what their impact and effect is, whether they're working on a team in an engineering company, or in a small group on a project, or interviewing for a job."

Students who successfully complete the 10 mini-courses are awarded a Doctorate in Charm. The bread plate goes on the left, your drink goes on the right (make a "b" with your left hand and a "d" with your right hand), and we're stuck here in the middle with you. Don't groan, it's still a great song.

Every U.S. college and university should offer charm school classes. In fact, charm school should be a requirement for graduation based on the feedback coming my way. Plus, I'm getting really tired of thanking young employees after doing business with them only to get an icy silence in return. Hey, I'm the customer, remember? Why am I thanking you instead of the other way around?

So the next time you meet people from MIT, you can marvel at their table manners as they bowl you over with their intelligence. And they won't slurp soup from the bowl while they do it. Bonus.

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