Take time to network with alumni

August 23, 2010 at 11:10 am | Posted in alumni | Leave a comment

One of the most important Fall events on campus is the annual homecoming weekend, welcoming alumni back to their alma mater. This nostalgic weekend brings back happy memories for these former students and engenders warm feelings for their school. It’s a perfect time to connect with them to develop internships for your current students.

You can partner with the alumni office to help you target the appropriate alumni. First, find out who is coming to campus and what are their business affiliations. With the assistance of the homecoming committee, plan a brunch or reception with the alumni and the career center. At the event, introduce your internship program and provide informative material. You might want to emphasize that you will custom design internship programs with companies that don’t have existing ones. After the homecoming weekend is over, send follow-up letters or make follow-up phone calls for appointments to explore setting up or expanding internship programs.

Your school or career center could also selectively invite successful alumni to serve on an internship board, advising you on internship issues. However, make sure the board isn’t overworked with too many meetings or duties, and introduce an element of enjoyment, such as catered dinners on the night of the board meeting. Alumni also enjoy receiving Certificates of Appreciation from the university president for outstanding efforts in supporting the internship program or career center.

Some schools or departments match alumni with students, leading to excellent internship opportunities. For a successful mentoring program, create guidelines for the alumni, including how often to meet interns, what topics to address, etc. And schedule your own meetings with the alumni, too, in order to develop additional internships and resolve any problems.

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