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# Reputational Strength Vs. Alumni Network Strength for Career

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Manager
Joined: 26 Apr 2010
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Reputational Strength Vs. Alumni Network Strength for Career [#permalink]

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13 Oct 2010, 11:14
Hello,

I'd like to put this out there...what is more important in advancing your career, the strength of a schoool's reputation or the 'strength' of the alumni network?

(For those that will rip this question apart, assume that "strength of the alumni network" refers to the % of alumni that contribute back to the school post graduation).

For example, comparing Tuck and Kellogg/Booth/etc. (put aside "personal fit"), which do you think would be better for your career? Where, Kellogg is (generally) accepted as > reptuation, but Tuck is (generally) accepted as > in strength of alumni network.

[ Yes, I know that Kellogg/Booth/etc have a greater Alumni base, but that isn't the questoin ]
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Re: Reputational Strength Vs. Alumni Network Strength for Career [#permalink]

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13 Oct 2010, 16:10
It depends on the industry you want to go in. In general, the school's reputation in a certain industry will depend on the strength of the alumni network in it in terms of how many people are there and how organized they are in pushing for their school. Chicago has sent many people into finance, who then push for their school before HR come recruiting season - that's how a school becomes a 'core' for recruiting. I would say that the difference between Tuck and Kellogg in terms of reputation is minimal when it comes to advancing your career. The same goes for the strength of the alumni networks. I just think you should look at the difference in alumni networks between these schools more in terms of people who are in your target industry rather than overall strength.
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Re: Reputational Strength Vs. Alumni Network Strength for Career [#permalink]

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14 Oct 2010, 06:32
1
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The alumni connection is a strange one - if it really works well, it is great. It operates way beyond the time that anyone truly cares that you have an MBA.

That said, I don't think any alumni networks are as strong as claimed.
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Re: Reputational Strength Vs. Alumni Network Strength for Career [#permalink]

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28 Oct 2010, 09:49
3underscore wrote:
The alumni connection is a strange one - if it really works well, it is great. It operates way beyond the time that anyone truly cares that you have an MBA.

That said, I don't think any alumni networks are as strong as claimed.

Interesting advice 3underscore. Care to elaborate on the strength of alumni networks? (I'm not doubting it, I just want more information.)
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Re: Reputational Strength Vs. Alumni Network Strength for Career [#permalink]

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28 Oct 2010, 20:41
1
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Don't forget there are two measures for alumni strength. You have the size and the involvement. Having super involved alums doesn't help if they aren't in your desired field. Much like having tons of alums could care less about you as a student.

While everyone says tuck alums are really tight say they are 10 alums in your targe area and you have a 80% success rate in reaching out to them. Compare that to one of the larger schools like Booth, Kellogg, Columbia...where you may have 50 alums and even with a 50% success rate you have 25 contacts vs 8.

All that said, I think my success rate reaching out to alums for networking purposes across all Kellogg PT, EMBA, and FT programs was approaching 100%. Heck my response rate for alums from other top MBA's was probably 90%.
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Re: Reputational Strength Vs. Alumni Network Strength for Career [#permalink]

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29 Oct 2010, 10:22
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To be honest, I think a lot of applicants (and current students) overestimate the value of alumni networks in their careers. Can it be of help? Sure, if you're a current student and you reach out to someone who graduated say 1-5 years ago (older alums tend to be less helpful to current students). But it's not some secret society or anything where you're bound by blood to help your fellow "alums" out. It's far more casual than that.

The most valuable part of the "network" is your current classmates - your friends and your friends of friends. Not some random person who happened to graduate at the same school you did, but is like 20+ years older than you.

As a current student, you will likely get way more job leads from your fellow classmates (and friends you may have at other b-schools) than you will by calling up alums who are complete strangers. In fact, beyond traditional on campus recruiting, a good chunk of your job leads will come from your classmates/friends who have the ability to make mutual introductions to people they know.

That's why alumni networks aren't as important as your classmates - when it comes to schools, you want to choose the ones where the environment is best suited to your personality and needs - in plain English, the place where you feel you can make the strongest friendships (not necessarily the "most" friends, but the "strongest" friendships). And also, it's because these friendships and relationships will hopefully endure beyond your time in school.
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Re: Reputational Strength Vs. Alumni Network Strength for Career [#permalink]

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01 Nov 2010, 06:33
I'd like to thank everyone for their insightful comments and thoughts.

Cheers, Martin.
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Re: Reputational Strength Vs. Alumni Network Strength for Career   [#permalink] 01 Nov 2010, 06:33
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