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Introduction - Communication Methods
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With the global pandemic and rise of remote working, it has brought innovative ideas in the communication methods. In the recent times it is significant to stay connected, improve the social networking and be genuine towards the work to be associated in a professional context. Many colleges, schools and universities have been working online and without any physical inspection. COVID 19 has brought everything at a standstill and made the educationists, researchers, counsellors’, administrators etc. to re-think the ways to stay connected with students and impart educational reforms. During lockdown and self quarantine time, many educational institutions organized some talk events online, personalized sessions and also conducted webinars, podcasts etc to make their students well aware about the ongoing events with taking regular classes. In case of alumni group of TUBS community for management course, the aim is to make each person feel valuable and connected with the roots.
The people who passed out must have nostalgic emotions about this university whereas the people still studying must be feeling to get out and enter the big world. Additionally, it has been seen that there is no system that is established for functional engagement of university. The recruitment, career guidance, entrepreneur networking and more are still in the developmental stage and need to be revived for overall success rate with the help of alumni. The reputation and brand value of this university must be enhanced by establishing a productive internal interactive platform. People from the management course must be invited to join this network at the beginning of their admission only. For this, a social media engagement program for assessing the groups on LinkedIn, telegram etc. can be arranged to make them understand about registration and availability of alumni in it.
A SOP (standard operating procedure) must be outlined to make a roadmap about the things that could be discussed and no confidential or sensitive information is to be shared. Separate Sops for alumni and new students would create clarity and help in building rapport. The user interface must be made more friendly and easier to access. Earlier, the alumni would have contacted through phone calls, messages, direct mail campaigns or Facebook. With changing times, it is more important to be more relevant and online portals such as Microsoft Teams, LinkedIn and other such platforms have turned out to be a blessing. Having quarterly meetings with an experienced alumnus and the students of this university with the other connected alumni to discuss, and share ideas. Meeting on monthly basis for some interactive session such as presenting topics relating finance or economics or marketing tactics or personality development can improve the association and bond. It would be only referred as beneficial when the profiles would be cleaned regularly as well as maintaining the engagement. A survey amongst the alumni on their expertise, experience and overall ability for guidance can also help in arranging the quarterly event. Proper planning with clarity on prospects must be given to Mr. Dave Robert, Corporate Communications and PR to further execute it on pilot scale.
Accessing the career development opportunities by the alumni
Before discussing the prospects and opportunities for the accessibility of alumni to career development opportunities, firstly let’s understand the actual definition of it. An alumnus is a former member of a particular school, college or university. It is clear that this individual is well-versed about the university’s working practices, curriculum, examination pattern, grading system, faculty members and overall academics level and can easily provide assistance to the one who are going to complete the studies or can tap on any prospective vacancy as well. Their contribution is beyond the financial gain and it would be considered as a token of gratitude when helping students. Here, the alumni can help them by launching a program where they can give their experience in terms of facing interviews, books to study, companies that are good and such details.
However, this section is focusing on such a platform that can help the alumni to use the credibility attached with the university and getting some hike or promotion in their careers. This launch pad would act as a perfect platform for the alumni to build their own career. It will be a two-way affair also in which the placements can be funded for the graduates to get hired as per the requirements, skills set and others. The students must feel less pressurized about their future and alumni can immensely support.
Their guidance via monthly basis (either through webinar or meeting viz Teams, Zoom etc) can be promoted in order to access the given resources. There is a newsletter that is published once in every six months but it is not related with the alumni communication, or about any opportunities regarding the career development. Many a times, the international students do not receive the right treatment during the placement selection. To put in a better way, it is seen that sometimes such graduates do not understand the professional attitude and ethics while giving an interview. For them, if the alumni would act as counsellor and give some tips to crack interviews or study the major points would be beneficial. Such an exchange of experience and using the recruitment drives would compel the alumni to stay connected with the university.
There are many other benefits such as many experienced alumni can provide internships to few selected candidates to have a balanced relationship. The job pool is a high competitive place in which the students, alumni ranging from latest to the oldest ones can attribute some relevance in some form. Both central government reforms and school-specific based guidelines can be outlined to make the accessibility with efforts in fetching more authentic information. Also, the budget planning could act as catalyst in making the alumni to access by keeping some rewards and acknowledgment awards. A person who will be appreciated and rewarded as well would offer more than the actual expectations and such a circumstance would be apt for the university’s alumni strategy to be a successful one in helping the graduates.
Alumni discounts for graduates, international discounts
Discounts in any form are a traditional way of welcoming and helping someone financially to move ahead in their career or life. There are multiple business schools in U.K, and U.S.A that believed in having a systematic approach to steward the engagement of the graduates who could not afford the administration fees initially for joining the alumni group. It is indeed a value-proposition in making the graduate student a part of the life-long learning. Such an initiative would benefit the graduates to understand the relevance of MBA School in shaping their life. Their mindset gets open up due to working with limited resources as it has been seen with a little proactive engagement. Once the alumni group understand the potential and the wider opportunities it could open to such newly joined students.
Nonetheless, the international students are mostly taking the route of alumni groups to increase their networking and understand the cultural aspects. The business communication differs from one region to region and leading it to make international students more vulnerable. Giving them such discounts would be beneficial to them in a more enhanced manner. They could also easily get exposed to the other international students who passed out and learn about their journey in professional context. There are also some provisions of incentives when giving such discounts at the university’s level by the government. Some subsidiaries can be attained when using to enhance the educational system and create some innovative idea to promote brotherhood, unity and fraternity. Such an incentivization could lead both the students, local and international to connect, share and further ask queries about MBA degree and its relevance in the ever-changing business environment. It will also open up another dimension for the graduates who might consider in pursuing the Post graduation studies or CPD.
A discount must always be seen as a bridge between the capable class and privileged class people. It helps the students to have opportunity to polish their skills, improve their connections on professional platforms and understand the pros or cons of a certain subject or topic. When a student is unable to understand the economies, then he or she can connect with any alumni when compared with any faculty member. The alumni might not judge them as they were once sailing the same boat and experienced the same emotions. Such discounts could be a connecting link when the student can actually receive the first-hand experience as well as expertise to understand a case study. A student receiving such discounted amount can use it to enrol in some other course or save it up for pursuing the post-graduation degree. However, giving discounts to every student might not be a complete feasible idea and thus, it must be given to those students who are ether self funded or has joined on the scholarships. It must be given once either during graduation degree course or while doing a post-graduation course, leaving a fair treatment when compared with other students of this university.
Identify, classify, create and deliver lifelong learning opportunities (value proposition)
Lifelong opportunity is a significant approach in an individual’s life and must be always imbibed. Based on the reputation this university has built, the students can learn to sharpen their value proposition to achieve success at the workplace. The students during their graduation or post graduaction course lack the far sightedness, longetivity and practical implementation of basic concepts of management. It can be easily tracked under the proactive nature of an alumni group that can guide, assist and provide the support in building the brand name and improve reputation on the whole. The identification can be made by checking the new profiles, and clearing the existing profiles on the basis of their current employment, or businesses. It would help in making them learn about the latest technologies, tools, current trends and such crucial information. Another way of identifying the value proposition could be to establish a segmentation of the alumni on the basis of age, experience, profile/ domain and geography. It will help the other individuals in the network to reach out the concerned person for learning about opportunities. It is understandable that alumni status is like a home away from home and also acts as a second family who went through the same phases in the same place. The classification is achievable by the demographic and geographic segmentation of the alumni members. It is more or less like providing mutual benefits to the alma mater and the alumni. Such a classification is mostly beneficial in making them loyal and be genuine towards the objectives, goals, agendas for the betterment. Along with this, it leads towards the establishment of a better community. Although the major component here is the implementation part that sometimes is way trickier than the mentioned goal. Creating the right path in achieving this objective require consistency and uniformity as well. In such busy times, the segregation can be easily made as per the available records in the university but sending those invites, emails, and direct messages might not be that beneficial. However, if reaching them on social platforms or forming a virtual platform or application would be much faster medium. It would be the most feasible way to deliver the lifelong learning by a more appropriate professional medium for discussing business, start up ideas and many such aspects of professional learning that d not get covered during the curriculum. A planning committee can be formed under the guidance of Elaine Fryett or Bev Boden, TUBS Learning and Teaching Department who are the right people for collaborating the lifelong learning with the alumni group. Thus lifelong learning is the value proposition that must be always adopted and nourished for improvising the connectivity between different batches of the university. It also will lead to take support from the colleagues at the school and services to execute it at the whole-university levels. Thus, the motto must be made to impart lifelong learning irrespective of designation, gender, ethnicity, age or societal reputation.
The importance of emerging markets to the School from a student recruitment perspective
Emerging markets are always booming because of its diversified opportunities and vulnerabilities as well. The vulnerabilities lead the universities to find their perspectives in the recruitment of students and make them assured of growth if they choose them. TU has been always vocalising the need to welcome differently cultured people as it is a growth opportunity for the university to shine at the global level. A cultural inclusive atmosphere helps the students, counsellors and other concerned authorities to have a wider viewpoint at looking things and leads to a productive exposure. The emerging markets such as India, China, and South Korea etc. are flocking to the United Kingdom for better potential in terms of their professional and personal lives.
Since many countries are in the transition phase, affordability is a persistent issue and for this, the university must develop a more strategic planning. They can build more intensive programs to waiver off some fees, provide some scholarships or incentivized the system for better intake of students. It will also be effective to enhance the alumni group where they get an opportunity to select, hire and give jobs or internships to the right candidates’. For this, there are usage of tools including the social media websites and the messaging services such as Whatsapp, Facebook etc. to allow the admission department in making a direct contact with a prospective lead. The university management must be able to penetrate the social networks that are now becoming more country specific. Herein the International dimension must be explained fundamentally by focusing on the outbound mobility, self funding options, employment opportunities that can attract them to choose.
Many schools must be able to present several activities, and organize events such as campus drive, university visit both online and offline that brought students a clarity on their forthcoming lives. Raising a fundraising event could help the investors to know who are the prospective employees for their companies and also give a fair platform to the aspiring student looking out for personal development. On the other hand, the purpose of such an international exposure to develop the alumni relations could be efficient in terms of making the students be more participative in nature. They must leverage the support from such alumni group to tap on the possibilities for their job search. Moreover, having someone form same background or region could help them in understanding the basic lifestyle conditions and the growth such degree or university could give. The cumulative effect will only improve the projection of this university and promote better admissions rate via enhancing the fund raising events to secure their entire stay as well. It must focus on optimising the resources to its maximum utilization and making good use to bring more admission, and power and stability in the educational sector. Such student recruitment perspective is indeed eye opening to the other geographical regions that want a platform and need an opportunity to showcase their talents and hone their skills.
Establishing mechanisms for events and networking activities
Many times, it has been seen that alumni groups are formed with enthusiasm and after sometimes, it get fizzes out due to disconnect. The main reasons behind it could be lack of continuity and keeping everyone updated about the events. Sometime the mails get spammed or the messages get ignored and might be unintentional only. This brings the prime attention to create a fully-functional mechanism to build activities and improve the engagement. For this, the TU management has decided to develop a senior level stewardship of VIP alumni because it will make them feel treasured and might lead to an intentional bonding. It is effective to facilitate the knowledge and expertise required to build the credibility of the university amongst the global MBA schools.
There will be also a list of VIP alumni, new profiles that are added, and the alumni who are participative in the campus recruitment drive. Such segmentations will help the administration to conduct some relevant events, conferences, webinars; podcasts form time to time and attract the right audience. Further to this, there will be more engaging communications that will be constructive, relevant and send to the concerned persons on timely manner. There is a need to have compliance with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and for this, virtual platforms are the best since many people lack the awareness and will get educated. It is proved that when an individual joins a group or association, it is useful in terms of using the networking, referrals, or just for the sale of social interactive sessions. People are always hungry for more and when they receive the professional recognition they crave for, they tend to give more. Therefore, the establishment of such creative platform and keeping an interactive session on continuous basis would reap benefits in both commercial and non commercial manner.
It will accelerate the speed networking amongst the members of the university and also boost their confidence in reaching the VIP alumni who have more than 25 years of industry experience. The idea of bringing people together and connecting via cold emailing is one of the most sought after methods to establish a professional association. However, after the global pandemic hit, virtual classes and events organizing has been on a rise and it could be a more enriching experience for those alumni and students who are coming from different backgrounds/ geographical regions. In addition to these, the management of the university must put their efforts in conducting the activities on monthly basis and must be specific-oriented. They must issue it on the bulletin board of their alumni group, share it on social channels like LinkedIn, Whatsapp, Facebook and give a detailed structure of the program to have relevant registration and make it as a successful event. It will make the attendees more aware about the event and help them in checking the profiles, sending requests and extending cooperation. This is an easy process, much quicker and less time consuming procedure.
Engage with and promote inspirational leaders
The alumni group of any university consists of people from different batches and have a vast experience in the industry. It could be an asset to make use of such people in motivating the students coming to the university and having many confusion, dilemma etc. Their presence in the group or during any event would mean a clear articulation of the real expectations after graduating. The alumni group is like a self regard group that comprises of high tolerance levels and positivity. The more experience an alumna has, the more inspirational he could be for the upcoming batches. However, the alumni relations are slowly developing since they are often disconnected from all the activities and curriculum at the university and resulting into a comprehensive outlook only. It is vital to make them active through the social media engagement and making timely communications for better sustainability in encouraging the alumni involvement.
Since the expected deadline for completing the alumni survey in the year 2019, it is most crucial to fetch the data, analyse it and make it usable for better engagement. The people around one another need to feel motivated, contented and full of hope and it could easily be attain under the guidance of an inspirational leader. Before knowing about the inspiration to be generated by giving speeches and conducting seminars or any other social activity, it is important to know that MBA School has always been about expanding the unknowns. There are a few number of software for social media has easily measured the engagement habits of the users and thus, it could help in the university’s management in setting the events. Many alumni have felt more connected when reached out through any social media platform rather than the traditional method of using email, messages etc. For instance, Twitter can be used for instant promotion of any event or organization webinar or sharing notes from speaker at a short duration of time and start a movement by using hash tag. The power of a social media platform cannot be ignored as this is a promising place to promote the laurels of their graduates, previous students and also inform bout the upcoming events. It is a great deal to make the promising students an inside feeling about the curricular activities, and achievements of the university’s students council. Another key aspect could be attempted by the university’s management by using the user-generated content. It could also improve the engagement and help in making the relevance more genuine. It has been observed that during graduation time, the students are not made to get actively involved in such alumni groups, leading to make it harder when they pass out and contribute as an inspiration for the upcoming batches. The administrative department must try to fetch attention during the first year of joining only so that they can understand its significance and for their career growth as well. Also, they must give some perks and benefits to the alumni in sharing their contribution.
Recognition is an abstract emotion that is mostly negligent in both student’s life and professional lives as well. People do not always take it seriously since it is mostly linked with the financial aspects. However, any individual who gets motivated and encouraged from time to time is an added bonus for the overall work life balance. It is not necessary to be always financially inclined but can also appreciate the person’s deeds by actions and showcasing genuine respect and mutual admiration.
For instance, Tata Groups Chairman, Mr. Ratan Tata is an epitome of kindness, compassion, a true gentleman and a sophisticated business man that this word needs. He has never received any awards just because he believes that the right kind of recognition is when people around him are happy, fulfilling and contented in their lives. TU management must put efforts consciously and make a presentation on the people who have been consistently working for the environment, mitigating the risks and contributing in successful running of operations at a company. In addition, it is indeed vital for creating the need for agility and re-configures their alumni strategies in order to tackle the low levels of engagement and positive connectivity via different platforms. It is clearly observed that the alumni stands for authenticity for a brand name and mostly communicate in the language of students. They clearly understand the community’s issues; know about the raising concerns on the prospects of international exposure and many more.
The credibility is linked with the academic staff including Alumni Team (Student Futures), TUBS learning and Teaching, TUBS International, TUBS marketing and Recruitment and others. Together they can work for the developmental works and bring constructive results that further aids in enhancing the alumni strategy a success. It not only help the students academically but also give some other prospective job opportunities to the alumni and hence, engaging in a network is more important than joining. Having a positive affirmation on the recognition aspect can improve the relationships and also leads towards developing a healthy environment for interaction. Developing such programs co.uld reap benefits in defining the criterion that makes this university, TU stands for. The university must adopt a holistic approach in protecting the services, or tenure completed by alumni in giving his services. For this, the management must be clear, concise and simple methodology to make each member understand the significance to applaud a person for his deeds or actions. The university must try to inculcate a sense of responsibility to plan a thoughtful procedure and continuous vigilance for checking out the overall working practices. They must welcome the VIP alumni to share some insights on changes. It would harness the right energies and leading to positively construct the recognition by being more tangible and symbolic in assurance. These must be practiced by adopting a strategic management of honorary graduates at the senior level. Thus a recognition program must be adopted ethically, imparted uniformly and without any bias or unfair treatment shown.
The university is one of the most sought after universities which have branches in different locations such as NHS, Middle borough and Darlington. The MBA network can be well established through virtual platforms in the recent times and can be viable for each student, alumni, faculty member and others. The virtual platform is much faster and quicker way of interacting with the concerned person involved. It takes hardly thirty minutes to give a small talk or discussion over a topic with a question and answer round at the end of that session. There were times when the alumni were vocal about the gratitude and respect they showed for their alma mater by going to some of their events and give a speech. The students are well aware about their campus’s alumni meets up; the people involved are form which industry and they instantly follow the person leading to a better association. One of the key enablers is using the comprehensive recordings of the active alumni by taking the entire information and collecting it to dispatch it for Raiser’s edge. Next could be the implementation of TARGET connect or corporate CRMS that laid the foundation for developing a robust MBA network. It is common notion that the alumni groups are like the most resourceful guardian angels that help everyone around with a smile and give real time solutions. However, it is little bit more complicated that it is visible since the network of such a group is unstable. The existing members, the new members, few applicants and other members must not be completely aware about one another and developing a common platform to bring the, together and following the objectives is crucial for creating the engagement networking. A lifelong learning is the perk that is crucial to make a combined team work and lead to earn the effectiveness in the highest possible manner. However, financial aid cannot be ignored completely and taking donations or raising funds through charities or any such social work activity is a welcoming approach to maintain the network. It could be useful in harnessing the newer projects, provide some monetary help to the needy or organise some event for better connectivity at the university level. A virtual platform has been proving very affordable and faster way of reaching people instantly and thus, it is referred as beneficial for the institution, alumni and the students who are going to graduate. When using Zoom or Microsoft Teams as a common platform then the arrangement costs are reduced to half and thus resulting in better contingency fund for any emergency kind of situation. Nevertheless, the Alumni networks can be only effective depending on its size, capacity, and the number of seniors having powerful position in industry, total members having different profiles in different industries. It is vital due to the authority over the landing of jobs or helping the present batch in making a good placement become achievable by having a voluminous alumni networking.
Donors give because of impact (not costs), permanence or longevity, personal relationships/experience and trust
Compassion and empathy are the most used keywords when showing some kindness or trying to understand somebody’s situation in the real life. Similarly the donors are mostly the ones who give something without having the motive of receiving anything back. It is not completely financially driven and is mostly based on personal accounts or a type of commitment or endurance that is made by them. There are several types of commitment like continuance, affective, and normative commitment that are effective in fulfilling the duties at the personal level. However, the alumni group is mostly related with the normative commitment in which a sense of obligation is evident.
The management gets help in retention of the senior alumni and also make lasting relations with the existing and new alumni to create an amiable environment. Such a scenario is mostly adopted by the donors who would like to help selflessly as they were once struggling and that too without any exterior support. It is however not justifiable as the alumni sometimes does more such as promoting the courses on their personal accounts on various social medial platforms like Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Their aim is to promote durability that was not present when they joined the university program and thus, the TU management must be focused in making the changes radically.
They must be upfront and give a more personalised touch by assuring a remarkable service to be provided when checking the enquiries shared by the alumni. Such a drastic step would make them feel valued and worthy to have a strong contribution in promoting the conceptual idea of an alumni strapline for a TU graduate. It is an honour for any individual to be associated with the college they graduated and keep coming to it due to trust. For developing trust among two members, it could take years but having to trust when the agenda is same is only few months. Each member of the TU management board who is reviving the strategy plan for alumni must keep their focus intact and put more efforts in reaching to maximum number of people. The longevity is another key element that creates an illusion to be more persistence in making a positive influence and survive the challenges that keep putting off the alumni meet to occur. On an individual accountability, having a clear objective to help someone like you without expecting anything in return is a huge sacrifice and is almost impossible to execute. Thus, the alumni strategy must be a two way affair and all the parties involved must be at the beneficial end.
It will make each party as donor as well as receiver and establishing equal opportunity to make a better contribution all together. Any alumni strategy requires a set of conditions to execute the university’s agendas without any hindrances and reaching the ultimate results. So the administration must complete the key enablers to execute the plan at full-fledged mode under the inspirational guidance of the seniors who are expertise in their respective fields.
Alignment to Business School strategy and investment plans (TUBS 2020-25 strategy)
The alignment is easily done since the objectives are crystal clear. In order to reach the graduation cohort from a 12.5 % to 50 % by the year 2025, a long list of KPIs (key performance indicators) are required. Moreover, a huge investment is to be made on the developmental works to match the business school strategy with that of the investments’ to be made as per TUBS 2020-25 strategies.
Value proposition(s) to University’s alumni
The value propositions that are made towards the alumni of this university are as normative as any other colleges’ propositions. The basics are similar in nature but its execution might be different since the structure is different and would lead to a particular set of action plans. The five strategic priorities that are crucial in shaping the alumni strategy are as follows:
- Active management by the individuals having a high net worth
- Assistance from the university’s administrative department for fulfilling the KPIs and graduate’s outcomes
- Developing and delivering an interesting offer to enhance the alumni engagement with respect to the university
- Providing support in alumni engagement for the services to be provided at the Department for International Development and Student Futures, Schools and Student Recruitment
- Adoption of targeted marketing campaigns to improvise the students’ recruitment
In this regard, the recruitment is an easy channel that can be accomplished by tying up with the companies who are coming for campus recruitment under the influence of the alumni. They can put up with a deal or contract of working for more than a year or else the candidate must pay some lump sum amount. Moreover, it could also help in polishing the students for better jobs by offering internships in various industries where the alumni are working. Many enterprises these days are hiring the young students on internship and fixed stipend basis and after evaluating their performance, they offer a permanent job or exempted them from their services, it can also be referred as a learning experience. Additionally some strategic projects such as CCPR, SRM and DfID have been initiated under the partnership with the colleagues who are working and graduated from this university. Such a cohesive way of working practice might promote better opportunities for the next batches since there is still some scope of improvement in the social media platforms. The channels must be revived to be more user-friendly, attractive and sustainable to ensure a good communication when required. The university must understand their value propositions to be fulfilled only when collective efforts are taken simultaneously in all the directions, if the alumni are trying to bring better referrals for paid internships then they must be equally rewarded in kind and should be conferred upon some recognition. Moreover, having targeted marketing campaigns would not lead to generate revenues but also improvise the prospective leads identification that would be more beneficial for the administration in taking new admissions. Herein the MOOC model can be established as a digital practice with an open and free registration. It leads to an open-ended outcome with a shared curriculum on public basis and combining the accessibility to sources available online, which are facilitated by the concerned authorities and the students involved in the management course. Thus, the identified emerging areas could be promotion of social medial platforms to engage the networking in a more appealing way and use of virtual platforms for instant results and faster connectivity. .
Philanthropy is a beautiful way of expressing gratitude and giving back to the society through the medium of donations, charities and such monetary gestures. Recently, the people are becoming aware and understanding its significance and thus many young entrepreneurs etc are also getting involved in making it more digital than offline. There are couple of well wishers of the university who give them philanthropic gifts from time to time. It is very promising to see many friends and donors who religiously give away some token amount in the name of tradition that TU has been following since decades.
It is mainly done for the next generation and fulfilling their needs or demands. A long-term economic growth not only assures a guarantee on teaching excellence but also promotes a lifelong learning. Currently the digital technology is re-shaping the society and the international donor base could be building relevant connections, showing people in making a difference and developing a giving culture of giving. Having an understanding about the needs of the donors and providing support by giving something valuable could prove a substantial marking in tapping on this opportunity.
Reports have shown that an average time spend on a smart phone is between 4-5 hours and it could mean having a continuous visibility on social media can only earn more points in making the efforts for more donations and charities. There are many non profit organizations that could also be effective for promoting the social fundraising. Additionally the scholarships must not be granted to everyone and an assessment must be conducted to earn it. Having an easy route would only make students less appreciative about earning a scholarship. Therefore healthy competitive environment can forge better outcomes and give the right candidates a deserving chance to earn it. Moreover, the TU management can also highlight the need to move towards the social media marketing for long term capacity based outcomes. The revenues generated are also decent for helping the community effectively through paid ads, seo based tactics etc. and posts, pictures, news etc, must be posted on weekly basis.
It must be done to keep an update about the ongoing activities of the university, and it must also put some light on the recruitment criteria as well. However, capital funding is also active and is appreciated when implemented for the welfare of the alumni strategic orientation. It is indeed more shocking to see about the details on the unrestricted funding as many non profit firms are making use of it and are mostly based on a specific project or task. Mostly this type of funding is moving towards the operating expenses. Therefore such works must be made clearly and should not be misused as there are times when the people misguide the authorities and sift the laundering money. However, the outline can be made for avoiding such challenging situation and must only promote the goodwill in the form of philanthropic donations, charities that are made.
A student life is possibly the best life one could ever ask for due to multiple reasons and never ending process of learning. One of the key aspects in recent times that have taken up the most attention is volunteering and is because of its agility in fulfilling the needs at both personal and professional levels. When an international student joins a college, either face to face or virtually, the main responsibility is to be environmentally conscious and serious about completion the course without compromising on the ethics. Moreover, many international universities give preference to those students who are socially responsible and are accountable to their actions. For instance, joining a NGO or teaching the underprivileged children or planting trees could be few action plans that could be taken up by the students for showcasing volunteering.
The students gained so much knowledge and exposure when doing some volunteer works and also add additional bonus points to their grades as well. It is useful when applying for jobs as it helps in improving the employability factor of a graduate. Companies these days choose candidate with average grades but socially aware graduates as it is considered as a prime factors. Additionally, it also helps in running the communities and different societies for different themes or social works or for any alumni based association itself. A large amount of money can be raised by this act and can support throughout.
There are many events and profiling must be done to filter, clean and re-organize the alumni societies and thus, volunteering could be useful in saving time, making things workable and establish structured way of workings. Moreover the mentoring can also be adopted under volunteering and help the faculty members at TUBS academics to convey their concerns. Such a channel would give clear guidelines and help the volunteers to make the necessary changes in fulfilling the brand value of this university. It has been observed that there is an IU accreditation for volunteers to justify their contribution when applying for jobs or taking some active participation in organising global events. Additionally it also helps in improving the personality development of the individuals and makes them feel confident, positive and hopeful for better future. An international student can take this route to make new friends and build a rapport. As it would be a new country and no base of family or friends so volunteering is an exercise to know about the location, its geography, socio-environmental conditions and many such internal factors to survive. Along with this, it could also help in understanding the cultural aspects and make the surroundings a better place to live in. It also fosters empathetic understanding and leads to constructive criticism that further is beneficial in career development goals.
Building the right culture of giving and engagement
Any alumni group is standing tall on being respectful and sincere in making the connections workable. The members irrespective of age or designation should be sincere, supportive and cooperative in fulfilling the conditions to maintain the dignity of the association. It is also interesting to make the best utilisation of available resources at the university and maintain the optimum support in meeting the needs. When the TU management wanted to achieve a 50 % of key performance indicator by the year 2025, it is integral to know about its roadmap. Without proper planning, the culture could not be in sync with the alumni engagement for attaining such objectives for overall growth.
The faculty members must be approachable, open and flexible to receive any new perspectives as well as the reserved nature towards alumni could be less rigid. It is insignificant to notice that the people make the culture and help the building of brand value. The credibility will be only achievable through team work, clarity of thoughts and sustainable approachability to avoid delays and unnecessary wastage. The alumni give back through both cash and kind in which the financial aid to the alma mater is the most feasible choice. However, kind means connecting with the other alumni to discuss and enhance the reputational development of the university. The graduates her can be donors and can come under the potential donor leading to productivity at the working practices. However, with experience, power and expertise, the alumni could be signalled out to be more giving. They are already adjustable to the cultural aspects of the university and thus, it is viable for them to engage in promoting the culturally driven works.
Many alumni have admitted that they enjoyed giving feedbacks because it is healthy and gives a fair viewpoint to see the practices that have been adopted by the faculty for so many years. The marketing tactics or reporting style has been changing but culturally it has now become a norm for the graduates to follow the university’s style of report writing. Such trivial issues might not bother, however, on a longer run; it dampens the freedom of free thinking and obstructs the ideology of connectivity. Henceforth, it is vital for the art of giving exhibited by suitable graduates to be community promoter and helping the civic connections intact. There is also another key aspect that highlights the need for learning from the alumni side to make the differentiations when analysing the generational attitudes. The engagement between the faculty members, alumni, students and counsellors are still not connected and it becomes difficult to cultivate a common culture between academia and advancement. Therefore the people must be united in making an inclusive culture acceptable to make the knowledge as the supreme power and promote the alumni status as a positive influence.
Ways for students engagement from day 1 (not year 3!)
Alumni groups are always the pathway to relive the college days and be in touch with the carefree and learning days. It is understandable that any such association is laid to promote a loyalty spirit and encourage the organization’s welfare. Majorly the students are asked to join the alumni groups by the end of their last graduation year.
The management feels that it is the right time for the current students who are about to graduate must connect with the already passed out students for better connectivity, networking and expanding the skills required for upcoming professional lives. However, with growing competition, it is important to shuffle this tradition and initiate to make the new students join this group in the first year of graduation only.
It is indeed a challenging task as it is not an easy thing to do. The students who have just joined the college would be looking forward to many activities such as joining the college clubs, attending the extra-curricular events, or joining any sports team. Their engagement levels will be all time high but not channelized or say focused on a singular aspect. Each student would like to experiment, try and explore something new so that they could get the first-hand experience themselves. If the administration makes it compulsory to join it by fees then they might feel obliged to attend and pay some attention as well. The students from foreign countries might feel it more appealing as this might give a foundation to them. A mentor or guide who is not from faculty member or anywhere related to the institution’s administration will be able to comprehend their issues, inner emotions and daily struggles.
Sometimes the students are hesitant to go to any faculty or teaching staff for assistance, although the alumni would be able to extend their support. The college administration can assign each student an alumnus and this would engage the new joiners with the alumni program. Such a two way channel must be developed for enhancing the conditions of the alumni association. It could be an initiative for university-industry collaboration where exchange of employable skills, current armlet trends and any more such subjects can be discussed. There will be no place of judgement or biased treatment but needs a systematic approach with a constant interactive session on a monthly basis between the joiner and alumnus. The management must play a transparent participation in which the alumni must be given clear roles and responsibilities to make it workable. Also, they must ask the current faculty to schedule a time or allot a class where the students can connect or discuss about alumni association. For this, a small unit must be created separately having a Heads of Department and two supervisors. They must supervise the monthly meeting on one to one basis, conduct the group discussions during the allotted time and can make a section in library to give a brief introduction by securing the right shelves.
Development of opportunities around student milestones for alumni engagement
It is important to understand that the opportunities that are required for reaching the student milestones are crucial in enhancing the TU’s growth. The overall procedure must be agile to make the students more engaged, optimistic and active as well. Since pandemic and rise of using digital platforms is seemed as the new normal, thus the focus must be to have a better network of pool of students, alumni and faculty members including the counsellors.
The students are well knowledgeable about the algorithms that are implemented on social media platforms. If the university can devote time, and resources to create official pages on each platform such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Telegram and others, it could be easy to achieve the milestone that are set to tap the students. A focused effort is what it takes to make an alumni engagement more successful. The management of TU must know that having a good idea and executing it are two different scenarios. One must have the patience, zeal and genuine intent to reach the agendas without getting de motivated. Here the students can be given a small introductory session on importance of alumni association.
Their engagement is more crucial as the alumni can be held accountable but if the student is not responsible or respectful in approaching then it might not fulfil the entire purpose. The students must be made understand that an informal networking outside the campus is as important as having a formal networking inside the campus. The alumni are still an untapped resource that should be utilised by the management and must ensure a smooth communication channel. The students can be made to give a review or feedback about the leanings they received from their allotted alumni to their counsellor.
They might be studying about tools, theories and other subjects about the actual implementation are still farfetched. Especially due to corona virus, the entire world is inside their home walls and here the alumni can support them in making understand the use of such a tool or theory. If this is passed on to the students they can study, ask the relevant queries and will only optimise the time and overall resources. Any culture when trying to be established requires a thoughtful planning and requires a continuous attention to make it more sustainable on a longer run. The students beforehand must be asked to go through the profiles, experience and educational background of their alumni. They must be asked to email a set of queries they want to discuss to their alumni or any alumni they considered could be of some help. It will create transparency and help the alumni as well to prepare. It might look a long process but it will be useful when done sequentially and in an orderly manner. The students in th recent times know the importance of time and do not like to look naive. However, the alumni knows it and do not judge but to optimise the strategies, it is indeed a safe way of approaching and encouraging the engagement.
Mentorship is a great opportunity wherein one shares the overall experiences, or career-related achievements, failures, etc. It would be a great platform that can inspire, guide, and direct the students who want to know about growth or future prospects. Also, a SWOT analysis should be taken up by the students in order to analyze their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and traits and help in giving a clear picture to alumni as well for their guidance.
When an alumni association is formed to make such a cartel of experienced professionals who have passed out from the same university and inexperienced amateurs that are students. The belief that they could give more together rather than serving individually is the basic agenda here. It will only help in enhancing their collaborated visions, shared values, and also university experiences. Such a strategic association will help the young alumni to get connected with their assigned mentors in their nurturing stage of career development. Through these cartels, the mentors can provide their guidance and instil inspiration in developing their interpersonal skills or personality development. After this pandemic, such mentorship can stand as a pillar to support and fill enthusiasm amongst their university’s students. To overcome the continuous economic fall and lack of opportunities, the outbreak of corona virus proved a blessing. It made people rely on the internet and its tools.
As social distancing needs to be maintained, they might feel disconnected. To avoid this discomfort, informal communication was initiated using emails, video calls, zoom meetings, etc. It helped and motivated the students and thus, similarly the alumni and the students can interact in an informal way by becoming a friend to one another and not a formal faculty/ mentor. However, the mentors might have to give abundant time to get into this new work culture of working from home. So a balanced approach from both parties could prove beneficial. The alumni who must act as a Mentor and as a leader should understand the level of stress their students are going through due to these changing patterns of education. For this, some stress releaser events and games should be organized virtually and some informal coffee hours to make them feel that they are not on the same monotonous routine. Combining both humanity and empathy can bring positivity and can support both the parties involved. It helps in both emotionally and psychologically manner by minimizing their expectations and let them work in their own zone.
This whole situation has led to such a two-way setup that actually demands human kindness and one needs to get into another shoe to feel the pain and give sympathy to another. Therefore, the alumni must not try to exploit the situation and having prior experience and the students must be equally responsible in contacting the alumni. Then only it will be possible to have a better way of doing things by the alumni group and making things work to survive the competition, reputation, and credibility of the university from all ends.
Building bridges between student groups and alumni groups (medium to long term)
In today’s world, career fulfilment is of utmost significance with a list of choices for getting employed. It is sometimes dependent on both external and internal factors that include motivation, work ethics, leadership and trust. In a combined ways, the connectivity between the students and the alumni could be easily fulfilled. All of this together has a significant contribution in creating a sense of commitment to develop a constructive attitude. The TU management must focus on creating innovative work behaviour in terms of designing creative ideas to create a dynamic environment. One of the other elements is that learning is mainly dealing with work engagement, and trust to foster relations.
The students must be able to communicate their queries, dilemmas, confusions and future prospects regarding their career. It is a medium term objective of making the association stronger. To promote transparency, the alumni must be held accountable in clarifying the queries of the students. Their own experience can help in mitigating the risks and improvise the results for these students. The struggles are real and can be easily eliminated under a good guidance. This is possible when the trust and coordination is intact without having any second thoughts. Herein there is already an amicable relationship developing since day one and gradually when the students are also exposed to multiple subjects, they understand too. The overall complexities can be easily overcome by establishing a system of enrolment in the group, allotment of a mentor, keeping the communication open via emails or social platforms. It would aid in reading the long term objective of safeguarding the reputation and presence of this university at the global community levels. The initiatives such as CCPR, DfID, etc can also lay the transition from medium to long term bridges.
On a short duration, the rapport cannot be build and thus, engagement between the students and alumni group is crucial. A wholesome support to the students, students’ recruitment cell and Department for international development must also be involved to have a better command on the activities to be conducted. An intermittent building of communication channel would make the atmosphere less formal and removes the ambiguity for the administration. In such a situation, the alumni can be the least to risks because of its non-existence in the ongoing university activities, and curriculum. Their cooperation is however is very pivotal in shaping the systematic approach in building bridges. Since the proposal is made to allot a few students to an alumnus then it will lead to better productivity. Their interactions would be one to one since COVID has promoted the online platforms usage. Such use of online platforms has provided convenience and is more effective for alumni who cannot visit the university as they moved to some other place for jobs or went back to domicile countries. The agenda is to make the university more global and dynamic by ensuring meaningful interactions in all the discipline and build the community.
Involvement by students in alumni communications/activities
Communication is the most powerful medium to express thoughts, opinions, ideas or any such emotions. It could be verbal or non verbal and can differ from person to person or might be only situation centric. For alumni based activities, the basic foundation is to make the students confident and more aware to interact, ask queries and optimise the use of such networking group for their career growth. It is indeed beneficial due to the personality development that comes along when a student connects with an experienced alumni or VIP alumni.
The students must feel welcome in the alumni group since it is the onset of their career phase and will lead to their careers. Their participation cannot be one-sided and thus few activities such as sessions amongst the same course alumni must be initiated. It could be the stepping stone for the students to feel comfortable and also help them in understanding how it works. An introductory session is useful when giving details about yourself to your own peers, alumni who studied the same course and the management of the university. Next could be the publication of a newsletter so that the invitations of events, webinars, sessions etc. can be shared and also it leads to better connectivity for a longer run.
The planning of events or the lists of all the alumni must be generated through the records registered at the administrative block of this university to avoid any confusion or in-discrepancies. It will help the students to contact the verified alumni individuals and will be secured while discussing about their career prospects etc. It has been observed recently that many people exploited the needy, jobless and directionless people on few social media platforms in the name of helping them out during Covid.
The management of the university must be strict in following the procedures effectively without compromising on the quality. They must safeguard the privacy, and confidentiality of each member, whether existing or passed out or serving. The university’s portal for students must be re-invented and add a section to have a one to one discussion or to meet with other new members of the group. It will definitely encourage the students to start a conversation and be more upfront when contacting. It is normal when the students do not go to their assigned mentors who are officially looking after their academics. Here the alumni can come in handy who has already went through the same struggling phase. They can also be asked to present their views and queries by posting it on the section anonymously so that it can reach out to other students, alumni etc. It will be advantageous to be able to know the exact happenings that are taking place, especially after Covid. The social interactive platforms must be now more user-friendly since many students are taking classes digitally and will not be attending it physically anytime soon. Lastly, they can ask the students to elect a president and work towards this sphere for better connectivity.
Establish strong partnership working between School and Alumni team to leverage alumni relationships
It is still a sad truth that is seen in many educational universities who are not using the alumni as a potential resource. With pandemic, the educational sector is undergoing transformational changes and thus, many institutions are revamping the alumni association. The management at TU have outlined the Alumni strategy to build a strong partnership for bright future in terms of reputation, trust and overall global exposure. Their inputs in developing the alumni strap line that resonates with the idea for ‘TU graduate’ can be easily attained.
They can seek regular feedback from alumni about their requirements, comfortable levels in making a monthly commitment, providing mentorship and other services. Such an approach would be feasible in ensuring the best returns on the university’s limited resources. For instance, the use of social media, e-mail contacts, web links, reply cards, and others could prove as the medium for effortless and credible connectivity. The students can easily connect with them, follow them and can exchange information, queries etc easily. Moreover, the TU management are actively participating in managing the high net worth individuals so that they can support in financial aid to college as well as supportive aid to students. It is a two-step process that enhanced the relations with alumni by making them worthy and as valuable assets. When the alumni are made to believe that their presence is beneficial for the future of the institution, they can easily dedicate time for productive engagement. The alumni team herein must be able to make a flat structure to encourage, coordinate and engage the individuals as per their schedules and requirements.
Sometimes it could be that there is an emergency at work or personal commitment, and in such a case, a representative or a team must be able to update and keep a track of the activities. This team at TU must have a current/ existing member to be the bridge or link between the ongoing activities at the campus and further assist in planning the alumni events. He could be the Academic Director or Students Counsellor who are in direct contact with the students’ association presently active in the campus. It will benefit them when arranging the recruitment based referrals or giving training on the interview process. It is often seen that the school welcome a long list of companies, of different sizes and scale. However, the selection criteria might look generic and easy but when it comes down to convert then it does not lead to expected results. For e.g. a small retail or manufacturing company visit the campus for hiring for 5 people but only select a single person. Majorly the issue is either the candidate is lacking some skills or cannot communicate or do not fit the criteria for a job. Such a gap needs to be eliminated and herein the alumni could prove to be a useful entity making the association with the school stronger.
Performance framework - Establish a set of common KPIs (leading and lagging indicators) to measure performance in accordance with the University’s Alumni 2020-25 strategy
In recent times, a university’s relationship with its alumni has turned out to be more lucrative than before. Their existences are crucial in developing new approaches and modes to make it effective. It is now a lifelong experience in which an alma mater is associated with its college throughout its life and can positively share the overall experiences. Whether it is about financial independence or any career based experience must be shared to make it essential for the students to comprehend, learn and move ahead for growth. The TU management has successfully chalked down the crucial points in which the performance can be measured and help in benefitting at the global scale.
The lagging indicators are measurable and included no systematic senior-level stewardship of VIP alumni, and also no engagement with the other relevant functional units of this university. It has also highlighted the lack of consensus from the concerned authorities in making changes and there are limited resources which lead to no activities of developmental works. Due to lack of inactivity from the alumni group has impacted the success at the business engagement and also influenced the brand value and overall reputation associated. It is understandable that the lagging indicators reflect upon the failures and can be improved by using it in together with leading indicators to bring improvement at an organizational level.
The leading indicators are going to aim at supporting the university to reach the KPIs of its graduate outcomes. It will be focusing on developing and delivering a compelling offer for alumni engagement at the university level. Another campaign must be initiated that will be targeting for marketing strategies’ to be applied for students’ recruitment. Nevertheless, an active management is also required to manage the high net worth individuals and providing a service to all its departments for enhancing the alumni engagement. Such leading indicators help in framing the key performance indicators that are explained in a concise manner.
The KPIs are to review the social media channels of this university and make an assessment on its new website as well. Further to these, a smarter, greener industrial economy must be forged by shaping the future of wellbeing and creating cohesive and resilient communities as the foundational pillars to make the vision of this university achievable. After Covid, it has become more important to address these KPIs with a fully fledged orientation and enhance the excellence of this university’s credibility at both national and international levels. Here the proposal to make a systematic structure in contacting the alumni must be created to maintain the transparency or else it might lead to confusion or over-contact from the students side leading to ineffectiveness. In addition, the planning must be done on starting the student-alumni mentoring can also be planned for better visibility to the alumni engagement efforts as per the Alumni 2020-25 strategy of the University.
Business processes - Identify what processes the Business School need to consider and implement with Alumni team to support alumni and philanthropic activities
Business processes are important steps to be taken by the University for fulfilling the KPIs and other objectives down the line. These are initiated with a series of tasks to be performed in fulfilling the objective. Majorly these processes are divided into smaller parts for smooth execution and better operability. These smaller sections is broken down into either management or operational or supporting. Here the university can develop strategies for creating a culture of philanthropy and engage the alumni as well as students in cultivating relations. They must be encouraged to improve the participation by organizing events, and conducting effective sessions for interaction. Additionally, it will strengthen the fundraising that is mostly the epicentre of such alumni groups.
The management must try to assess the programme for delivering a more comprehensive philanthropic agenda. There could be addition of reunion events, giving guest lectures, meeting the batch of students for social responsibility based causes and make them aware. It is such a nice step to involve the university, students, especially the international students. The focus is to develop an internal team in the alumni group to oversee the workings of it and maintain the bridge between the proposed pointers such as having a monthly personalised meet up between alumni and student etc. The operational business process include about conducting classes, allotting a fixed duration for interactive alumni meets or sessions, arranging the exams, tests or assessments and such curriculum based activities.
Here the alumni can also assist the students as mentors, giving them some tips or suggest some authors or follow some tutorials. The next is the management section that is the most crucial for reaching the objectives laid onto for the Alumni Strategy. It involves governance, supervision of employees’ and budgeting. The management must be able to finance the time, resources and overall sessions without cutting costs. Most importantly the alumni associations work on fundraisers and the annually compensation benefits that are showered upon by the VIP alumni for the university. The management can take help from their VIP alumni for the donations and also have a good foundation of charities that are given from time to time by few loyal families to this university. A separate contingency fund must be created to help in sustaining the tough times as similar to Covid last time when social distancing had to be maintained. The management can also try to appoint a Director to make a way out in making the expenditures streamlined and eliminate the need to repeat the activities or using the same classes. The planning must be done in a meticulous manner to optimise the usage. Also, the recruitment is another aspect that requires the management to take help from alumni group and request for assistance in fetching good placements that could put up the university in the good faith among both local and international students.
Stewardship in practice
Data and systems – what systems (new or interoperability with Alumni team) does the Business School require to manage our alumni and advancement activities
What School and Alumni human resource is required to implement the strategy (particularly in advance of resource planning for 21/22)?
This belief of serving together can do wonders towards the life of young alumni and help them achieve their goals/ benchmarks in upcoming time and lightens up their future.