Remember that guy who loved Doritos? He is the CEO of a renowned FMCG now. The girl who asked to borrow your eyeliner once is now the owner of a top fashion brand. The suited man in a magazine went to the same university you are planning to go to. The guest on the talk show is a graduate from the same university you are attending now. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? It’s more exciting when you consider that all of these people will be a part of your network and can often have a significant influence on your life.
You may be wondering what an alumni network is and how you are supposed to take advantage of it. While it’s essential to make the most of your education, it’s also essential to make the most of your social skills and use contacts to help you manoeuvre through your career. That is exactly where your connections to alumni comes in!
This network consists of all former graduates of a particular university who form an association to interact, arrange events, and share information with one another. Your network consists of the people you are currently studying with and those who have graduated from university before you. It will also consist of people who graduate after you, but ideally you will be giving them a helping hand rather than the other way around.
You can interact with former alumni before seeking admission to a particular university in order to discuss education options, courses, and other essential information. You can also seek help from an alumni association during your studies should you have queries about particular experiences, need help in arranging events, or need a sense of direction in making an educational decision. Such networks are most popularly used for job searches and help in making contacts to gain employment in the required industry.
Importance of alumni networks
Why are such networks crucially important for MBA and Master’s students? MBA students and Masters’ students can make the most of these networks by using them to facilitate a job hunt, finding appropriate business partners and reviewing business ideas, or even inviting guest speakers/mentors to events at the university or elsewhere.
Alumni networks are amazing socializing platforms and people belonging to these associations usually have a soft spot for those belonging to the same university as they did. Hence, if you are not out to get direct advice, you can definitely chat up some alumni, participate in alumni events, and if it has been 20 or more years since you graduated, you will have a ball contacting all your old classmates again!
It is important for MBA and Masters’ students to use these networks in order to make more contacts, get job and business leads throughout their career, and be aware of the plans and directions that other alumni have pursued. This will help them gain perspective in their career and develop a vision of what they can achieve and what they want to achieve, based on what others with the same educational background have done with their degrees.
However, being a part of a network does not mean that you should limit yourself to what others have achieved and think of the rest as impossible. Gain knowledge and get opinions from your alumni network, but remember that the sky is limit!
Making the most of a B-school network
So you got into the B-school you wanted to get into or you are just about there but need some information? This is the time to ring up your b-school network. Before you enroll in a B-school, contact alumni from the school’s network in order to learn more about what the school can offer and how much their degree is valued in the world of work. If you have already taken the plunge and are in the midst of your studies, use the network to ask questions about internships, how to score well, how to balance life between work and study, or what course to choose, amongst many others.
You can also use the network once you are about to graduate or many years after, when you are looking for another job, want to switch a job, or just want some leads to progress in your career. Business partners and other alumni interested in projects you may be interested in can also be found via the alumni network.
Last but not the least, you can always use your network to find an old classmate once you have turned old and gray and are reminiscing about the past. A strong cup of coffee, a calm and peaceful environment, an old friend, and plenty of things to talk about are an ideal combination for a day well spent!
There you have it! Treat your alumni network like your second family and you may have a job portal, social platform, and advice column combined into one for life!