It’s easy to assume that what you do while you’re in school is the most important consideration – but you’re an MBA student for just two years, and you’ll be an alum for decades! It’s hard to believe, but you will be an alum before you know it – and some of your current peers will become alums in the next month or so! Now is the time to start thinking about how you will remain connected with those graduating second-years, along with laying the groundwork for what kind of alum you will be yourself.
1. Networking: for the last year, you’ve heard about how important networking is to your job search. What you haven’t heard is how it will also be important, down the road, for your search for employees, interns, business partners, investors… your alumni network will serve you in innumerable ways. They want to help! If you’re at events and someone offers to help, follow up right away. Alumni constantly comment on the desire to help others and the number of times that people do not follow up. Use the opportunity!
2. Ongoing learning opportunities: you’ll be amazed at how much your school offers that will allow you to keep current on business issues and trends. What’s more, you will also likely get the opportunity to share your own expertise in a panel, lecture, webinar, or other educational environment, letting you both refine your own presentation skills, and providing an outlet to promote your current organization, project, or passion.
3. Connections throughout the world: when you land somewhere new – whether temporarily or permanently – you will always have an opening to meet people from your business school. This will make it easier to network in a new city, and to socialize with a built-in community. Similarly, offering a welcome to alums new to your area will help you to connect early with promising young graduates who may end up becoming employees, friends, or partners.
4. Ensure your degree’s market value: involved alumni keep up a school’s public profile, help shape the program’s incoming classes, and provide great PR. If you want your MBA in the future to be worth as much as (or more than!) it is now, it is worth putting in the time and effort to remain involved and continue making your program better.