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The 50 Most Powerful and Best Alumni Networks – Really?

The 50 Most Powerful and Best Alumni Networks – Really?

This blog post will discuss my view on the process of alumni ranking and networks.

I saw an interesting post last week from my respected colleague Andy Shaindlin that got me thinking.

Andy’s blog How Not to Rank Alumni Networks? gave a critique of the ranking of alumni networks provided by The Economist.

In fact it turns out there are lots of alumni rankings of the networks out there.

For example Best Colleges provides a ranking of the top 50 most powerful college alumni networks.  Their analysis considers financial contributions from alumni, employment rates, student ratings and the reputation of the school.

Despite the apparent robustness of their approach, the result was a bit of an anti-climax.


The Best Alumni Networks

Now, who could have possibly guessed at such an outcome?

I suppose my disappointment is that all the analyses out there are self-fulfilling.

If you are going to include factors like financial contributions or reputation then it is not surprising if the biggest institutions come out on top?

This means at the end of the analysis we have a ranking that is of no practical help to anyone.

I also think the alumni ranking fundamentally misunderstand what ‘power’ really means when it comes to alumni networking.

I think there are two critical factors that I look at when assessing alumni network power:

  1. Willingness to help – how willing is your alumni network to help you as an individual?  An alumni network is only as powerful as its accessibility and the willingness of that network to help one another.
  2. Relative power – absolute power is also less interesting that value.  How much have you as an individual had to invest (both money and time) to be part of that network and to benefit from its power?

I am looking to build a comprehensive alumni networking ranking that would provide fairer and more valuable insights.

Please let me have your feedback as to what to include.

  • Is alumni networking power a relative or absolute measure?
  • What are the critical factors that you think should be included in the next alumni ranking?
  • How would you use such a ranking to help your school?

I would welcome your thoughts.

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