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Business cards




so I discovered yesterday that my university offers business cards for master's and doctoral students. I am unsure in what context I can/should use them. For conferences probably, if not, what else? 

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Conferences are certainly the main place you would use them. When I present posters, I just leave a pile near my poster so that people can take a card with my contact info if I'm not there. I don't hand out very many cards though---it's not that common in our field and we generally know how to look each other up online or through our school's directory. Still, a card is handy and makes it easier for someone to reach out.

Another instance where I hand out cards are non-academic situations. Business cards are way more common outside of my academic field, and I find myself often handing out cards when meeting people outside of academia. When I visit a school for outreach and the teacher wants to get my contact info. When I meet some random person on the plane and they are interested about my research. When I end up talking to someone representing a funding agency (had no idea these people also attend academic conferences until I ran into one that was just quietly observing everything and started a conversation and then they said what they were doing). These instances make sense too because people outside my field would have a much harder time trying to find my info.

And finally, sometimes it's just easier than having to find a piece of paper and a pen to scribble down my email address or my name. I just reach into my wallet and grab a card!

That said, I probably have handed out no more than 50 cards since I had them printed (in my 3rd year) and I'm about to graduate, making these cards useless. It's great that your school makes them for free :) They are pretty cheap though---I like having my own design and it only cost about $15 for the smallest batch of card (250!!). I'll have plenty of extra as keepsakes lol.

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I did mine for a national conference I attended (but did not present). You use them a lot because you meet people in receptions, book exhibits, poster presentations, and sessions. Sometimes your advisor introduces you to people so a business card comes handy. 

During research abroad, I have used them in archives, workshops, and bookstores. Like @TakeruK, I've also handed them out in non-academic situations such as hostels/hotels where I've stayed, waiting areas in airports, and the like. 

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