We’ve all heard about the power of networking and building relationships. You typically hear about this first as a college student from one of your professors or in a career services presentation you were required to attend. As a college student, networking with visiting alumni was a way of improving your chances of finding an internship or job. Additionally, meeting with alumni gave you an opportunity to ask career questions and gain advice from professionals who had been in your shoes.
When I was a student, networking with alumni was something I looked forward to. It could be awkward at times; nevertheless, I gained more from having a meaningful conversation with someone “in the real world” than I did from searching for answers on the internet or learning about hypothetical situations in a classroom. I enjoyed learning about their experiences in the professional world and watching them feel nostalgic when recounting their experiences and asking whether that famous sub shop or bar that served 50 cent beers was still in business.
As a student, the benefits to connecting with alumni are obvious; however, many alumni fail to see that staying in touch with their alma mater can be symbiotic. Five years ago, my alma mater, SUNY Oswego, asked me to attend their School of Business Alumni Symposium to present and network with students. Ever since attending that event, I’ve made it a point to say YES when the college asks me to come back and meet with students.
So what are the benefits to staying connected to your alma mater?
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you of the benefits of connecting with your alma mater and building relationships with students and alumni. A good first step to connect with yours is to call or email the alumni office and see if they have any current opportunities for you or ask that they keep you in mind in the future. It’s that easy!