When Brad visited with members of Duke’s coeducational business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi, he walked them through ways they, as potential marketers, can think differently about brands — from Porsche and Uber to Nike and Travelocity. He showed them how, in Uber’s case, the brand became much bigger when you think about them as a champion of personal freedom instead of simply a ridesharing service.

And Brad touched on two truths McKinney has uncovered: People care more about themselves than they care about brands (In an aside, Brad noted here, “Clients don’t really like to hear that line.”) and that ideas are more powerful if they connect a brand to why people come to the category in the first place. But the real connection was made in the Q&A session.

In reply to one question, Brad observed how the world’s moving incredibly fast and changing even faster, bringing with it an impermanence where most of the students he was speaking to will change jobs (and careers) at a previously unseen rate. He cautioned them not to treat this new paradigm carelessly, advising them to invest in the one navigable constant in this sea of change: themselves. “No matter the job, you need to dive in hard, “Brad said. “Learn more, engage more — you need to fully engage.” Then, speaking in their parlance, he added, “Don’t take survey courses; take graduate-level courses.”