Taking advantage of Career Week 2019 at Columbia University in the City of New York, Graduway’s North America President, Chris Marshall, joined Hassan Akmal, MPH, MBA, Inaugural Executive Director of Industry Relations and Career Strategies, Lecturer, and Founder of the Career Design Lab at Columbia University and Mark Carter, Founder of 180 and creator of Idea Climbing, for a podcast (link above) on career services, alumni relations and mentoring.
Engaging Alumni Beyond Donations
Chris noted that when interviewing alumni, most say that they only hear from their alma mater when they are being asked to donate, but what they really are looking for is a mutually beneficial relationship with a connection to the current students. On the flip side, students want mentors and feel connected to alumni of their institution.
Mentoring – From Coffee to Action Items
Chris said that when doing a survey on the matter, twice as many alumni or students responded positively when asked whether they can provide, or would like to be provided with, advice and support for their career paths; as opposed to those who were asked whether they would like to be a mentor or be mentored.
The prevailing thought today, according to Mark, is that any mentoring type of interaction should result in actionable items by which to solve a problem or create an opportunity, not to simply be a cup of coffee.
The three agreed that people are busy and less are willing to make long-term commitments that will weigh down on them and demand excessive attention.
Conversely, few people want one mentor anymore and rather choose to have a mentorship portfolio of different people who can address different opportunities and pain points.