Published on 2014/04/08

Alumni Relations: Creating a Lifelong Connection to the Institution

Alumni Relations: Creating a Lifelong Connection to the Institution
Consumer retention is as valuable for a university as it is for any other business; in the hunt for new revenue streams, more institutions should be looking to their alumni for enrollment.
The following email Q&A is with Doreen Amorosa, associate dean and managing director of the MBA Career Center at Georgetown University. Colleges and universities across the country are searching far and wide for new revenue streams that will help make up for the steady decline in traditional enrollments. One place many institutions are still not adequately tapping into is their pool of alumni, who require ongoing education throughout their careers as working professionals. In this Q&A, Amorosa discusses how Georgetown is focusing on customer retention by offering robust and valuable services for alumni.

1. Why is it in the best interests of an institution to provide ongoing career support to graduates?

Increasingly, universities are looking to create “lifelong” relationships with alumni in a variety of ways. We believe that to create a strong alumni network, we must provide ongoing services, such as career support, to our alumni. For instance, Georgetown’s Alumni Association offers ongoing career seminars and networking events.

In the MBA Career Center at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, we offer lifetime one-on-one career coaching and resume reviews for MBA alumni looking to make career transitions. We also host an MBA alumni job board, which allows the employers we have relationships with to have access to this unique talent set.

2. How difficult is it to track your graduates through their careers?

Social media and contact management systems have made it increasingly easy in recent years. Personally, we use as the common platform for alumni engagement. Our students and alumni also use tools such as LinkedIn groups to stay connected with the school and one another.

3. Does the career service program rely on alumni reaching out to the university for support, or does the university proactively contact alumni offering professional development opportunities and career counseling?

We promote the services periodically in the McDonough Alumni Enews and the Georgetown Business magazine. Also, representatives from the MBA Career Center regularly attend alumni networking events and remind alumni about our career services tailored for them.

4. What can be done to further improve the ongoing career support service you have in place for graduates?

We are exploring the possibility of introducing a new “network connection platform,” which will allow alumni to seamlessly enable career networking with each other and also will allow current students to get easy access to alumni for career development purposes.

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Readers Comments

Tyrese Banner 2014/04/08 at 10:50 am

CE programs have made great strides in recent years, but one area that still needs improvement is post-graduation support. I appreciate Amorosa’s highlighting some of the ways institutions can seek to provide that ongoing career support.

Good ideas for starting this important discussion.

Glenda Cullen 2014/04/08 at 3:51 pm

I would be interested to hear more about this notion of a ‘network platform’ for alumni. I believe such groups currently exist on social networks such as LinkedIn, on an informal and voluntary basis, and I am interested in how an institution might work to formalize that type of arrangement. I could see this as a valuable platform for current students to connect with alumni, but am struggling to understand the benefit for alumni.

Ewan Philipps 2014/04/09 at 2:17 pm

Alumni networking and career development opportunities are an important value-add for institutions to offer. I’ve been working on some research into this area, and our preliminary results show that post-graduation support ranks highly among adult students — those who are first-generation postsecondary students, in particular — as they choose which school to attend. An important consideration for schools looking to excel in the CE field.

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