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Managing your network contacts

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Current Student
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Managing your network contacts [#permalink] New post 01 Jan 2009, 23:34
I have admittedly done a horrible job maintaining a database of people currently in my network. Before I leave my current job, one of the tasks I am assigning myself is to organize everybody I have worked with the last six years so that I can carry it forward throughout (and beyond) B-School. While at Booth, I am going to network like crazy and meet plenty of fellow students, recruiters, alumni, professors, etc.

What do some of you experienced B-Schoolers use to organize all this information? Is it as simple as plugging it into Microsoft Outlook, or do you use some other system?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Managing your network contacts [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2009, 08:45
I thought this could be a useful way to share how we manage our networks. Nobody has any thoughts on this?
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Re: Managing your network contacts [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2009, 09:33
I'm waiting on a reply too... For recruiting I just made a simple Excel sheet but after meeting 120+ bankers (the double-edged sword of going to school in NYC) I definitely need a more effective method. I did check out salesforce.com but that wasn't really useful. For now all my personal contacts are in Outlook.
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Re: Managing your network contacts [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2009, 09:39
I'm currently using Outlook...Not sure if it'll work once I'm in school.
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Re: Managing your network contacts [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2009, 09:44
Interesting question.

I suspect I'm terribly lazy because I've simply used my GMail addressbook (and to a limited extent, LinkedIn) to organize my "network" contacts. I will shamelessly admit however, that I am extremely selective so far about staying in touch with people based on how likely they are to be of any real help. :) So I don't know 120 bankers yet. That probably is an attitude I need to change however.

Thank you for making me think about this.

jsnooky33 wrote:
I'm waiting on a reply too... For recruiting I just made a simple Excel sheet but after meeting 120+ bankers (the double-edged sword of going to school in NYC) I definitely need a more effective method. I did check out salesforce.com but that wasn't really useful. For now all my personal contacts are in Outlook.
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Re: Managing your network contacts [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2009, 09:58
linkedin is a great resource. It may not be as thorough as what you are looking for (which I assume would be things such as name, title, office number, cell number, address, etc.), but you can always contact a connection through linkedin. For instance, if you and I are connected, you can send me an email or a message through linkedin. It will notify me via email (at the email address that I have entered at linkedin) and notify me that MeddlingKid has sent me a note.

In fact, when I had my interview at Cornell (with the person in Career Services that I would be working with for finance/investment management recruiting), he said that there were two things that I should do best prepare before I start school in August - one of which was connect to every single person I know through linkedin. The other great thing about linkedin is that you can see your connections contacts (which I think linkedin refers to as 2nd degree contacts and 3rd degree contacts). This will help you when you are doing informational interviews and recruiting because you will be able to uncover things such as your boss or colleague knows somebody that works at Company X. This connection is a “warm lead.” I mean, if your co-worker has a contact at Fidelity (or wherever you want to work), you are more likely to be able to talk to him/her because your email note or phone call will go something like this, “I used to work with your friend, John Smith and he recommended that I reach out to you since I am a student at Booth looking to get into asset management, etc.” There will be this inherent sense of wanting to help, because you are a friend/contact with a mutual relationship.

linkedin may not be exactly what you are looking for, but perhaps it can complement your outlook synching or be your Plan B...

And just a side note about synching with outlook. What I would suggest is to create a basic template and send it to your contacts via email (one at a time as opposed to a blanket email with 45 people cc’d or where everyone is bcc’d). Something like this.

Hey <friend>,

As you know, I’m heading off to Booth later this summer. I want to make sure that I have your updated contact info so we can keep in touch. Will you kindly fill out this form so that I can update my address book?

Name:
Best Email address:
Company:
Title:
Office number:
Home Number:
Cell Number:
Address:
Birthdate, etc….

If you feel like getting a little fancy, you could even have people fill this out in excel. When you get all of the excel files back, you can upload those (individually or consolidate them into one file) into outlook since you will have standard column titles and formatting.
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Re: Managing your network contacts [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2009, 09:08
I'm interested in this as well. I was thinking about creating either a spreadsheet or Access database to manage this, but it might be unwieldy.

Does anybody have any experience using CSM software like salesforce.com? I played around with their site a bit, but wanted something that lived locally on my computer, rather than at a service provider.


Does anybody have anything other than Outlook that they use? I'm still working for one of the Big 4 right now, so I'm stuck using Lotus Notes, and can't set up Outlook until I start school
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Re: Managing your network contacts [#permalink] New post 29 Jan 2009, 09:34
chicagoapplicant wrote:
Does anybody have anything other than Outlook that they use? I'm still working for one of the Big 4 right now, so I'm stuck using Lotus Notes, and can't set up Outlook until I start school


I'm stuck on Lotus Notes also, so my contacts are spread out among my LN address book, LinkedIn and a pile of business cards I keep in my desk. One of my to-do's before school starts is to get this all organized into Outlook.
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Re: Managing your network contacts [#permalink] New post 29 Jan 2009, 13:43
So I did a bit of googling, and found this timely thread over at the Greenlight forum:

http://www.greenlightcommunity.com/forum/topics/2183286:Topic:4791

I'm intrigued by:

Quote:
1) ACT contact manager ($199)
- this is a great system as it tracks your e-mails/ phones and everything from the software itself. It connects with outlook so if you e-mail someone, it automatically stores a copy of the e-mail on that individual file in ACT. Everybody has a one page profile page. It is used for sales management, but is easily used as a networking tool.

2) Quickbooks customer manager ($99).
- same as act but cheaper and a little less functional. The big difference is that you need to drag and drop your e-mail messages from outlook into your contacts file in this program.


Does anybody have any experience with either of these? I'm more interested in the cheaper version....so any reviews would be much appreciated
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Re: Managing your network contacts [#permalink] New post 29 Jan 2009, 18:39
I have relied on a combination of LinkedIn, Facebook (for colleagues roughly the same age/stage in life as me), and my BlackBerry, which syncs to Windows Contacts on my laptop. A lot of my former colleagues and people I worked with at former clients are on LinkedIn, so that is probably the easiest for strictly professional contacts.
Re: Managing your network contacts   [#permalink] 29 Jan 2009, 18:39
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