Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Why alumni are so important for MBA programmes

Andrew Arnold MBA 2013 addresses newbies

ALUMNI defined: The terminology draws on latin and is another of those strange university pieces of jargon that you know if you know, but not if you have not been initiated.   A few years back I was corrected in my own use of the term - Alumni describes the plural, with alumna the female singular and alumnus the male singular.  I think.

Valuing experience

MBA candidates tend to find it very useful to speak with their predecessors, picking their brains for a wide range of advice that includes social, studying insights and how the group interaction works. MBA Director Justin O'Brien includes 'connecting with alumni' at various points in the MBA journey.  View Royal Holloways extensive alumni network here.

Thankfully a number of graduated students from Royal Holloway's MBA programme continue to want to be associated with their alma mater (from latin nourishing/kind & mother) and offer to speak or email with applicants.  Justin is keen to ensure that the third or fourth most important/expensive adult life personal decision (wedding, house, kids the top three ?) is made with good knowledge of what the Royal Holloway MBA can offer.  

Alumni guests are invited to meet students at the pre-Christmas end of first term celebration festive luncheon, where candidates are invited to practise their networking skills over a glass of mulled wine and traditional turkey with all the trimmings.  Images here

During the end of June plenary session there are fantastic opportunities to network with the large group (usually ranging from 70-100) of students following the MBA/MSc International Management via flexible and distance learning.  A number of alumni, especially Ash Mishra and Simon Vadgama join the group for the formal Picture Gallery dinner and sometimes knock of work early enough to make the Thames river cruise.  

Alumni support the college in many other ways e.g. Anna Cimino-Harkin introduced her Reading headquartered employer, US B2B telecoms/tech giant Verizon to the MBA last year and e.g. Moran Sacagiu as a poacher-turned-gamekeeper led the MBA business consultancy with her employer Norman Hay plc having been at the other side of the table the previous year.  Images here

Thanks to a new initiative from the College Alumni office, led by dedicated Alumni Relations Director Rosie Sugden, which was trialled last year, we are formally offering an alumni based mentoring scheme for all MBA candidates, details here.  If you are interesting in stepping forwards to support this programme please let us know.

Lucky for us just, just finished MBA Andrew Arnold (pictured above) was passing through campus following some relaxing holiday time with his family and he kindly offered to speak to the 2014/15 cohort during induction fortnight this year.