Present Like a Prof

“Present Like a Prof” is set to the music of “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” by Matthew Wilder with lyrics by David Zippel. “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” is from the 1998 Disney film Mulan. Alternative lyrics are by Susanne Bradley and Steve Wolfman (who has several of his own academic parody songs).

Disclaimer: the lyrics below are for entertainment purposes only, and should not be construed as actual advice on how to give a computer science talk. The parody lyric writers are not responsible for any negative consequences incurred by delivering a research talk in this manner (like your audience being bored or concluding that you’re a terrible communicator).

Lyrics

Deadline’s getting closer to prepare your talk
But, look on the bright side – maybe it won’t suck
Sure, your research is not all that great
But with big words, and Beamer 1 too
You’ll present like a prof when we’re through

Amuse them through the intro, then you’re on your own
Assault them with some jargon while they’re on their phones 2
Sure, your intellect’s alright at best
But if you do just what I say
You’ll present like a prof all the way

Not even sure my math is right
Boy, this talk is gonna screw me 3
Lucky there’s no grade ‘cause mine would be an F
These guys all seem really bright
Hope they don’t all see right through me 4
Now I really wish that I’d just been a chef

Be a prof
You must distract them with flashy demos
Be a prof
From all the stuff they could criticize
Be a prof
Use Beamer slides full of math ungodly
Mysterious as “left as an exercise” 5

Just an hour left now – but no time to stop
Do these slide revisions or your talk will flop
There’s a bug here in your demo code
A typo on slide forty-two
You’re no prof, you have more work to do

Be a prof
You must distract them with flashy demos
Be a prof
From all the stuff they could criticize
Be a prof
Use Beamer slides full of math ungodly
Mysterious as “left as an exercise”
Be a prof
You must distract them with flashy demos
Be a prof
From all the stuff they could criticize
Be a prof
Use Beamer slides full of math ungodly
Like, honestly, what on Earth 6 is all that math?!


  1. For CS novices, this is a slide-making version of LaTeX (of CS conference ubiquity).
    ^
  2. Admit it: this is totally you as an audience member.
    ^
  3. The authors apologize for the harsh(ish) language.
    ^
  4. Impostor syndrome is surprisingly pervasive in academe, so don’t worry if this is you! To requote an internet meme: “Just because you’re trash doesn’t mean you can’t do great things. It’s called garbage can, not garbage cannot.”
    ^
  5. This footnote is trivial and is left as an exercise to the reader.
    ^
  6. There’s an opportunity for additional harsh language here if you replace “on Earth” with a different two-syllable expression of choice. ^
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