How to Take Full Advantage of an MBA Alumni Network

By Chris Hassan
Posted April 25, 2013 12:00 PM

How to get the most out of an MBA alumni network.
How to get the most out of an MBA alumni network.

There is no denying the long-term value of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Just as helpful to students' career goals is a business school's MBA alumni network. Through this collection of diverse and experienced individuals, students can receive help with everything from how well they perform in an MBA degree program to the post-graduation job search.

Roxanne Hori, the associate dean of corporate partnerships at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, recently wrote about the value of an MBA alumni network in a Bloomberg Businessweek article.

"Alumni provide perspective," Hori wrote. "They are willing to share what they have seen and experienced. In addition, they can speak to the power of the brand of the school and alumni network."

As alumni networks have so much to offer prospective, current and former MBA students, it may be in their best interest to take full advantage of all these business school graduates have to offer. Here are some tips people can use to do just that:

Talk to Alumni Before Applying

MBA students' interactions with alumni should begin before they even apply to a business school. Poets & Quants suggests prospective students learn about the institutions they are considering applying to by reaching out to nearby alumni chapters from these schools. This will provide them with a chance to see what types of careers await them after they complete their MBA studies.

Research Alumni Networks

If individuals plan to pursue an MBA degree, it is likely they have a clear sense of the direction they would like to see their career head in. As a result, Business Insider recommends prospective students learn about business schools' alumni networks, which can influence their decision on which institution they eventually apply to. For example, those who have an interest in working in China should find an MBA program that has alumni with ties to the Chinese market.

Keep in Touch While Enrolled

Once students have found the right MBA program for them, they should consider fostering relationships with their school's alumni. Not only can these graduates provide them with tips for business school success, but possibly connect them with job opportunities before they even graduate.

Stay Involved After Graduation

If students took advantage of their school's alumni network at any point before earning their MBA degree, they understand how valuable it can be. For this reason, Poets & Quants recommends they stay involved in this network long after they graduate. This is especially important in the current economy, as alumni never know when they will need help finding work.

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