I often emphasize the alumni connections for networking as an important benefit of earning an eMBA. It’s invaluable resource for graduates because up to 85% of jobs are filled by networking. However, even knowing the importance of your network of contacts isn’t the same as understanding how to network and how to collect the contact information of people who are a good fit with your needs. Since many of my clients express feeling overwhelmed just thinking about networking, here are some tips on how to evaluate potential connections.
Friendships. It may sound obvious, but your eMBA cohort, the professionals with whom you learn, struggle, compete, and become friends over the course of earning this degree, really are superb network connections. They already know who you are, what your goals are, and how hard you work to achieve them. With friendship comes an investment in your mutual success, so friends are likely to agree to recommending you for a position or to speak highly of you to hiring influencers. Exchange contact information, stay in touch, and be sure to offer value to your cohort’s careers as well as asking for valuable help for your own.
Professors. Of course, eMBA program instructors are well-connected, both to the business world and to alumni. They are connections worth cultivating as a general rule. Your professors can also help you identify alumni and classmates who are a good fit with your industry of choice and your career goals and would be most likely to benefit your career in the future. It’s worth asking their advice.
Alumni. Use your eMBA alumni directory to reach out and make valuable connections with eMBA graduates. Start by choosing those alumni in the same or a similar industry, those who work for an organization or in a position to which you aspire, and those who are located near you. If you’re based in Toronto and have a position in an IT firm, seek alumni in the Greater Toronto Area and make a special effort to reach out to those who are in IT or an IT division of another industry.