When you become a student at Fuqua, you’ll find an immediate connection to 22,000 enthusiastic and engaged Fuqua alumni, the majority of whom are willing to give their time and expertise to help you.
Within the Career Management Center (CMC), we teach students how to successfully network with our alumni, and others, to build their own network. We do this by inviting alumni back to campus for alumni panels, networking sessions, webinars, and guest speaking engagements. We have found that Fuqua alumni of any program have been very generous and willing to help our students in the program’s infancy.
The CMC staff also holds practical workshops so students know how to navigate conversations with alumni. Core networking skills include:
- Sending initial outreach correspondence
- Managing your contacts and following up in a timely manner
- Possessing confidence in making small talk and building rapport
- Pitching yourself and engaging conversationally
- Researching the contact and company and formulating good questions
- Following up with gratitude after a meeting
When you’re learning how to network, reaching out to a Fuqua alumnus can be a comfortable first step. It’s often less awkward than cold-calling a potential contact, because you at least already have some common ground. Fuqua alumni can help by sharing insights into your industry, as well as their company and its competitors. Networking is a critical part of your job search, because even if initial conversations don’t lead to an interview or a position, they provide useful ideas and language to apply to your next conversation or interview, ultimately leading to a successful search.
Networking Success Stories
But for some, networking with Fuqua alumni has even led to a great employment opportunity after graduation. Here are the stories of a handful of our students who utilized the Fuqua network to find a job in their chosen field.
- Joseph Pappachan, a 2018 graduate of the inaugural class, connected with an MBA alumnus who works at GAP. This coincided with a new posting, but thanks to that dialogue, Joseph was among the first to interview, and had insight to draw on as he engaged in the process, setting him apart from the competition. Joseph now works as a senior analyst of customer data and growth analytics at GAP.
- A recent Daytime MBA student accepted a job at Wayfair during his second year at Fuqua. When it came time for Wayfair to recruit in the business analytics program, he graciously accepted information requests from each student who approached him, answering their questions and even helping them prep for interviews. Wayfair turned out to be our top employer, hiring 13 students from the class.
- Vicky Gao, another member of the Class of 2018, was in touch after graduation with classmate Qige Zhang, who joined Walmart. Qige knew of a Bentonville-based consultancy, Retail Solutions, that counts Walmart and other retailers and suppliers as clients. Qige made the introduction that ultimately landed Vicky the job as an applications consultant.
- Chad Gibson, Class of 2018, was looking to stay local in the health sector, and identified an employer to target—Syneos Health. After understanding the organization’s structure and where he might fit, Chad began to reach out for informational interviews to learn more about the respective practices. He was able to build a relationship with a Fuqua alumnus and engagement manager at Syneos, who encouraged Chad to connect with the Syneos team further. After speaking with several other team members, Chad entered the interview process and felt very at-home every step of the way. Chad credits the networking: “Absolutely he was important in helping me start my career here. I believe he was an internal champion for me throughout the process.”
Networking with alumni is a core part of the Fuqua DNA. Beyond individual student outreach, the CMC team regularly seeks out alumni at companies that may be a good fit. MQM is no exception, with opportunities created through alumni at Wayfair, PwC, Cognizant, Dell, EY, Inmar, and more.
Most of all, networking requires a pay-it-forward, #TeamFuqua mentality. On the way to and once you reach a position where you’re able to help someone else (especially new Fuqua students!), we hope you will do so, because someone once helped you. That’s how the Fuqua network continues to exist and thrive.