The Power of Alumni
On Wednesday night I had the privilege of attending Fairfield University’s 24th Annual Awards Dinner - a gala fundraiser benefitting the school’s Multicultural Scholarship Fund. The event was held at the Grand Hyatt on Park Ave in NYC and was attended by over 600 attendees, majority being Fairfield alumni, who raised an astounding $1.75M in total. It truly was a great success.
Brushing shoulders with enterprising students on the path to be future leaders in the business world, former classmates whom have made great strides in their careers since graduating three years ago & alumni whom have established themselves in senior positions at some of the world’s most respected firms, the event was a great way to reconnect with my university. Having been gone from the North East for the past three years, I admit that I seem to have lost touch with these amazing events because of the distance…and I regret it.
If you view college the way I used to as a student, college was a 4-year endeavor where you only truly received your maximum ROI (spoken like a true business major) when you landed that dream job after graduating. Once I was working college would soon turn into a fond memory and I would be ‘too busy’ to reconnect.
That was until two of my good buddies showed me how they were able to donate their time to our school post-graduation while managing long, stressful jobs on Wall Street. I admired their generosity & dedication and decided to follow suit. Until today, I’m extremely happy with my decision as it’s what’s enabled me to start this blog & the concept of The Guanxi Connection that I’m working on today.
Lesson learned: never underestimate the power & unity of your scholastic network…even after you graduate. Whether you are currently in college or have been in the workforce for some time, never lose touch of your university’s network. I’m a firm believer that your ROI from a college education doesn’t end when you graduate but rather continues throughout your ENTIRE life & career…it’s up to you to seek its value and make the most of it.
So if you’ve lost touch with your university or haven’t tapped into its true potential, visit their alumni website and take a few seconds to update your information. Sign up for their mailing list, be on the lookout for any upcoming events & make the most of the wonderful network that has gotten you to where you are today. If you’re a student, start attending as many alumni-led events that are offered to you. Reach out to an alumnus who is in a position where you’d like to be in 15-20 years and ask how he/she got there. Send an e-mail or grab a coffee…never underestimate their enthusiasm to help a student. As a former Fairfield University graduate once said, who is currently a CFO at one of GE’s largest businesses, “when I meet with students like yourself, it makes me feel young again, like I’m reliving my college years again…I wish more students like yourself would reach out to us like you did”.
Your alumni network is like your ‘second family’ and you never know when you’ll run into an alumnus who could be instrumental in advancing you career. If nothing else comes out of it, being a life-long member of a special network that will always be a part of your identity is priceless. It’s up to you to make that next step.