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Philippe Le Corre (président du Harvard Club of France) : “Notre association d'alumni a pour mission de préserver la marque de l’institution”

Philippe Le Corre (président du Harvard Club of France) : “Notre association d'alumni a pour mission de préserver la marque de l’institution” | alumni network |

P. Le Corre avec la présidente d'HarvardPhilippe Le Corre (président du Harvard Club of France) : “Notre association d'alumni a pour mission de préserver la marque de l’institution”

Philippe Le Corre représente en France l’un des réseaux d’alumni les plus puissants au monde : celui d’Harvard. Consultant en communication et enseignant à Sciences po, cet ancien de Publicis a étudié au sein de la prestigieuse université américaine en milieu de carrière grâce au programme «International Affairs Fellow», de la Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Il fera l’introduction de la conférence EducPros «Comment utiliser au mieux son réseau d’anciens» ce 21 septembre. (....)  -

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Alternative Networks Challenge Colleges' Role in Alumni's Job Searches - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Alternative Networks Challenge Colleges' Role in Alumni's Job Searches - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education | alumni network |
High-powered parties and social media are among new tools that could threaten alma mater's centrality as a starting point for job seekers.


For Michael Staton, a thirty-something entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, his college alumni network hasn't opened many doors. His alma mater, Clark University, regularly asks him for money but has done little to help him professionally, he says. What has had cachet in his business dealings? Invitation-only networking events held by companies that have emerged to help young professionals find one another. When he tells people that he has attended those, they take notice.


If colleges don't step up their own professional-networking services for graduates, he argues, then higher education's role as a key job-searching hub could decline. As he put it in a recent white paper published by the American Enterprise Institute, people are now able to show their value to employers through "alternative signaling methods"—many involving social media—that have nothing to do with any college, including their own.


"The conventional wisdom has typically been that higher education and access to opportunities are one and the same," he writes. "However, tying graduates' future job prospects to institutions that see job preparation as an ancillary purpose seems ill-fitting and inefficient."


In other words, he and other young professionals are finding new entities perfectly willing to introduce talented participants to potential employers. That could make the idea of skipping college and heading straight for the job market—maybe taking a few free online courses along the way—seem less of a gamble and more a pragmatic option.


"I found that I treat it like an affiliate network," he says. "It's actually more powerful than my alma mater. The meaning I assign to being within the network is the equivalent of someone saying they went to Harvard." This might all seem easy to dismiss were it not for the rise of free online courses offered by Harvard and other elite institutions. The conventional wisdom is that no matter how good those free classes get, people will always prefer to go to a brick-and-mortar campus because, well, that's where the parties are. But what if other groups start throwing better parties?


Elite gatherings are nothing new, of course. One prominent example is Renaissance Weekend, which is more than 30 years old. But Mr. Staton says companies like Summit Series work harder to encourage a spirit of belonging after each event. "Colleges say they have an alumni network, but I don't think they instill as much thought and effort as these kinds of new groups," he argues.


It's not hard to imagine a future when exclusive fraternities, with branches around the country, cater to teenagers taking online courses free from their parents' basement. In a way, that's what Summit Series is already starting to do.


Helping Students Link In

Andy Chan, Wake Forest University's vice president for personal and career development, isn't worried about his office's being displaced by those private cruises.

Such parties may work for a small subset of self-motivated people, he argues, but plenty of young people will still prefer the traditional college experience. "The reality is that entrepreneurs, they're just more inclined to do that kind of stuff," he says. "They know they need to find ways to generate money."


Mr. Chan sees such efforts as supplements rather than replacements for traditional higher education: "They'll just be nice, interesting add-ons that very resourceful entrepreneurs will take advantage of."

But he does feel that colleges should offer new kinds of services to help graduates navigate today's job market. In addition to offering one-on-one help with résumés, for instance, Wake Forest now invites students to come in for a "Linked­In profile review," where they are coached on improving their social-media calling cards.

"First impressions are important, and your LinkedIn profile is often the first link that occurs when Googling your name," explains a tutorial on the university's career-services Web site. "Make sure your online presence matches the quality of your résumé."

Wake Forest is also one of severaldozens of institutions around the country using LinkedIn to connect students with alumni who might help in job searches. It created a private group on the service for such online mixing; so far 3,300 alumni and 200 professors and parents have agreed to participate, and about 1,800 students have signed up. That's more than a third of all undergraduates at Wake Forest.

Campus leaders there have found that while students are good at using social networks to find friends and parties, they need help transferring that energy to a job search. Mr. Chan's office even set up a Web site called "Learn to Network."

"Most college students are not thinking, 'I need to network. I need to make contacts,'" Mr. Chan says. But he has found that alumni are often eager to help: "Employers and young alums are interested in engaging with students because they remember how hard it is just out of school."

Hacking Business

Still, colleges are facing new kinds of competitors for connecting young people to potential business partners and employers.

Take hackathons. Those informally organized events, usually held over a weekend, bring together computer programmers or other types of online designers to build projects together. While some are held on campuses, most have no college affiliation.


"Those I think are already replacing the idea that you have to go to Harvard Business School to meet your companions for life," says Sebastian Thrun, the Stanford University professor who has become a major force in the MOOC revolution by starting Udacity, which offers massive open online courses taught by well-known professors.


Hackathons are an example of how the Internet can serve a function that once fell mainly to colleges, he argues. College degrees have traditionally been a "proxy" for great work, but social networks and the Web allow people to organize to create projects and show the fruits of their work directly to employers.


Plenty of other groups also allow what Mr. Staton calls the alternative signaling of merit. There are TED talks and presentations at other "ideas" festivals, many of which are now posted online and can give speakers a major career boost.

And providers of MOOCs have begun offering headhunter-like services to connect high-achieving students in free courses with employers looking for workers with specific skills.


Of course, people have always relied on a range of organizations outside colleges for professional networking, whether Rotary Clubs or bowling leagues. The question is whether something fundamentally different could develop in an era of LinkedIn and party cruises, something that could change how college fits into the career paths of millions of students each year.


I wanted to ask the leaders of Summit Series for their thoughts, but an official for the company wrote that they didn't have time to talk to The Chronicle. They were too busy fielding media calls about their latest high-profile move: They bought a mountain in Utah to host future networking parties.

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Alumni Relations: 5 Ways to Harness Social Media | Inside Higher Ed

Alumni Relations: 5 Ways to Harness Social Media | Inside Higher Ed | alumni network |

An alumni relations department has the important responsibility of keeping alumni connected to the school in hopes that they will offer their ongoing support and commitment. Alumni relations can be a marketing department’s best friend. As discussed in a previous StratEDgy post, a strong alumni community supports marketing’s job of recruiting students and building strong brand awareness.  Another link between alumni relations and marketing is how they have been influenced by social media and technology. Andrew Shaindlin asked an interesting question last week, “Will the Internet Obsolete Alumni Associations?” citing that, “Alumni are organizing – without alumni organizations.”

Social media and other technological advances may necessitate a different kind of interaction between alumni and their institutions – one that mirrors the shift marketers have made from broadcast marketing to relationship building. Marketing has added an element of engagement to the mix, with the goal of creating content valuable to our target audience instead of simply shouting out our current offerings. And the fun is just beginning, because while all of this requires new skills and ideas, it has also ushered in new dimensions to some all-important roles. These apply to alumni relations departments, as well.

1. Momentum building.

The power of social media can be harnessed to support all sorts of causes, including alumni giving. An example from Middlebury College in 2010 is cited here: “Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for college advancement, says Twitter and Facebook are responsible for Middlebury's receiving an extra $1-million last year from an anonymous donor. The money came in response to a challenge grant intended to increase alumni participation.” They were able to surpass their giving rate goal at the last minute thanks to alumni sharing the challenge through social media.

2. Real listening.

We can listen to alumni in new ways, augmenting traditional surveys with what folks are really saying to each other on Twitter and Facebook.  It eliminates some of the guess work, which allows us to be more targeted with solutions.

3. Joining the conversation.

We don’t bear the burden of starting conversations ourselves; we can join what’s already happening. The key to participating in these exchanges is to meaningfully engage.  When it comes to social media channels, brash promotion of what we think our alumni want – or only giving them what we have readily available – are far inferior to the more delicate approach of actually providing useful content.

4. Amplified story-telling.

As has always been the case, alumni relations departments are privy to amazing stories of accomplished graduates – and stories create connections and inspiration. Social media has enabled us to capture more of these stories than ever before, and to share these stories more quickly and creatively.

5. Real-time connecting.

Typically located on the campus, an alumni relations department is in a distinct position to share the most current happenings. For example, Cornell shares pictures via Twitter to show what’s happening on campus at that moment. That reinforces the important emotional connection alumni may have.


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