Watch: MIT Students Fight Nerdy Reputation With Charm School

Hey engineers — silverware belongs at the 135-degree position.

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If you think tying a bow tie is rocket science, you’re not alone. Even students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology struggled to tie a dapper one. As profiled by CBS Sunday Morning, MIT recently held a class on the art and science of correctly knotting a bow tie for its students, who are perhaps more used to wearing sweatpants that proudly feature the word “NERD.” (At least when it comes to one student interviewed.) The class was part of a 19-year movement to bring a few of the social graces to the science and math students who make up the student body at the famed university.

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To help fight against the stereotype of being a school filled with social grace-less nerds, once a year MIT holds an elective in etiquette via a pop-up charm school. For the last 19 years, students who sign up for the seminar learn everything from table manners for business dining (no noises while eating! tines down!) to how to make a good first impression to dressing for success. During the one-day school, the students learn the rules of the manners that govern the work place and help fight the stereotypes of hapless brainiacs who can’t be allowed to eat in public.  But, what’s in it for the students aside from valuable life skills? One credit per class.