What is known today as an alumni network, or a network of graduates, or alumni… most often includes both current students and alumni. For the issues surrounding professional careers have never been so central to the debate. If the grandes écoles are so highly prized, it is not only for their training. They are also the ones that guarantee a job to 100% of their students at the end of their course. It is therefore only natural that higher education institutions, and now associations and companies, should seek to capitalise on the strength of their network.
- Promoting professional integration and boosting professional careers
- Strengthen the reputation and visibility of the institution
- Capitalise on your community
Promoting professional integration and boosting professional careers
To fully fulfil its mission, the alumni network must be a bridge between education and the socio-economic world. You train future professionals, and your network is the reflection of the quality of your training. Its members are a strength and a reassurance for all those wishing to join your training.
Very often your graduates are also looking for ways to network or find business opportunities. The more active your network is, the more effective it will be and the more likely your students will be to visit it regularly. This is especially true if you set up additional services, such as mentoring for example. It then becomes a place to meet and exchange ideas that will boost the careers of both your young graduates and older ones.
Apart from these good practices, it is increasingly common for networks to develop their career offer by opening their own career center. More than just a job board, this is a space where your members can find content and training specific to the working world. You can thus continue to accompany them throughout their career, and make your alumni network the central point of their professional life.
Strengthen the reputation and visibility of the institution
With the proliferation of training courses, how can you stand out and prove that you are the best in your category?
The alumni network enters into the rankings criterias
The rankings, while allowing for optimal guidance and informed opinion, present French institutions with many new challenges. Indeed, the latter are constantly in competition with their international counterparts. This competition can be seen in the annual reports of the Financial Times Ranking, the Shanghai Ranking, the Mines international professional ranking of higher education institutions, etc. Even in the traditional media, the performance of educational establishments is deciphered, evaluated and ranked (Le Figaro, Challenges or l’Etudiant).
Among the criteria that are studied and retained (quality of teaching, pedagogy, international openness, etc.), the “alumni” dimension now occupies a significant place, since it makes it easy to understand which training programme opens the most doors for its students.
Your network and accreditations
International accreditations enhance the reputation and prestige of a programme. They are recognised as a guarantee of quality throughout the world and serve to facilitate the prospection of new partners, professors and students.
Each year, several organisations audit and evaluate the quality of teaching in management schools on multiple criteria. Let’s take the Equis (Europe Quality Improvement System) accreditation as an example. To obtain it, the EMFD checks whether there is an alumni association within the institution or a department in charge of monitoring alumni, the way in which alumni participate in the school’s strategy and the extent to which they contribute to students’ career development. It is therefore easy to understand that the value of an alumni network is increasingly being emphasised in the strategies of higher education institutions.
Build on your community
Capitalising on your network is a powerful strategy for improving the reputation and visibility of your organisation. By promoting the chances of professional integration, you are subtly working on the construction of your brand, the “branding” of your structure. Your alumni are your new ambassadors at zero cost: they participate in defending the value of the diploma they are proud of and the quality of the school.
Alumni have become the new low-cost ambassadors of a school. This is why, according to the survey conducted by the Observatoire des métiers de la communication dans l’enseignement supérieur, federating the community, creating a genuine sense of belonging and strengthening ties with graduates is one of the three priority objectives of the communication department for 77% of institutions. As Peter Todd, former CEO of HEC Paris, points out, “our alumni embody the image of our school […] alumni make the brand shine”.
Good practice: don’t hide! Associations that have a permanent space within the school itself are better able to raise awareness and capture the interest of students. Exchanges are more numerous and more fluid. The more present and active you are, the more you will value the members of your network, the more commitment and participation you will naturally have, creating a snowball effect.
Still need to be convinced? We give you the 5 reasons why it is essential to create your alumni network.
An alumni network is more than just a space for exchange. It is a community and services that meet its needs. AlumnForce currently supports nearly 300 networks in 15 countries. Of all types (schools, universities, associations, companies) and of all sizes (from 100 to more than 100,000 members). Do you want to support the career of your students or members? We have all the solutions for your network:
- Alumni Network : an online platform to animate your community and for your members to meet and share with each other
- Career Center : more than a job board, a real gateway to the professional world (in exclusive partnership with Welcome to the Jungle)
- Mentoring : give your members the means to help each other and to progress
- Forum Entreprises Virtuel & Hybride : organise your job dating events online and stay in control of your business relationships