Meaningful relationships in both business and higher education lead to meaningful opportunities - it’s not about what you know, but who you know. 98% of Fortune 500 companies have some form of an alumni program not for nothing. These alumni networks provide valuable resources for employees as well as employers. Established professionals that are connected to these networks can help employees with obtaining promotions or assisting in career changes. Employers can find the perfect candidate for their company through these professionals, as well as access to exclusive job postings, free resources, and resume reviews.
Colleges and corporations alike both invest in strong alumni networks to attain various goals. Colleges mainly focus on fundraising and better outreach for those looking into getting into college. Businesses, however, have many benefits from having a good alumni network. The relationships that are built with alumni lead to a substantial increase in revenue per employee, a large increase in product innovation, and massively higher employer attractiveness.
Corporate alumni programs also allow businesses to more easily connect mentors to mentees, and they drive up referrals and boomerang hires. Alumni are also valuable for bringing in new customers - alumni as brand advocates are worth at least 5 times as much as the average customer and deliver a 10% increase in brand sentiment. Businesses that take the time to set up these networks and that actively engage with alumni can see up to and above a 40% increase in net new business.
New startups that need early investors can also see many benefits from alumni networks. Investors are much more likely to invest in startups with founders from their alma mater. Founders’ connections to early stage investors through alumni networks are often more important than the quality of the school or shared geography. A study of VC investments over a 19 year period revealed that over a third of investors and founders attended the same college or university. Entrepreneurs who went to schools with larger alumni networks are able to raise more capital than other entrepreneurs.
Learn more about building an influence network and how to stay better connected below: