What can your alma mater do for you?

Frank Sesno, SMPA
Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs

This question rattles through the halls of alumni relations’ offices around the country, as the modern graduate’s needs have evolved beyond campus discounts and access to an alumni directory (though GW offers those, too). As classroom learning ends and the “real world” begins, what place does a university have in the lives of its former students?

“We are hearing that alumni are looking for opportunities to network with fellow Colonials and hear from fellow GW alumni and faculty experts in their fields,” said Kate Schuster, director of career programs and industry networks in GW’s Office of Alumni Relations. The results of a 2017 alumni attitude survey conducted by PEG Ltd. corroborated Kate’s informal theory, and over the past year, the Office of Alumni Relations has invested in its new alumni industry networks.

Nearly 4,000 GW undergraduate and graduate alumni responded to the survey, representing their peers across generations, regions of the country, and nearly all schools. Across the board, respondents cited professional development and finding a community of like-minded professionals as very or critically important reasons to join an industry network or participate in a career program.

The Office of Alumni Relations identified the first eight industry networks based on demand and areas in which alumni are active, including:

  • finance,
  • healthcare,
  • marketing and advertising,
  • media and communications,
  • politics and government,
  • real estate,
  • retail and fashion, and
  • technology.

An Industry Leadership Council, composed of alumni volunteers, leads each network and act as advisors to the staff, helping to plan events, connect fellow alumni, and serve as industry experts.

Over 6,100 alumni have currently opted-into these alumni industry networks and many more are participating in the career programs happening on campus, including upcoming events both in person and online. Learn more and join a network (or multiple!) or sign up to speak at a future webinar.

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