Although I graduated from Leeds Trinity over fifteen years ago, I’ve kept in touch with my former university and I think you should too. Here are nine reason’s to be an active member of your university’s alumni community.
I thought I’d start with an easy one! Being part of your university’s alumni community is a great way to maintain and grow your professional network. Most unis have online groups on LinkedIn and other platforms, and regularly host networking events. While the pandemic has moved a lot of these events online, I’m looking forward to a return to face-to-face networking soon.
One of the most enjoyable opportunities I’ve had as an alumnus is returning to speak to current students. Not only is it a nice way to give something back, it can also provide a fantastic insight in to the values, interests and ambitions of the soon-to-be graduates.
It’s also a chance to establish yourself as an expert in your field and could lead to further opportunities at other events on campus and beyond.
While I would caution against engaging with your former university solely with this goal in mind, it’s definitely worth considering that your uni could become a client. I appreciate that this won’t apply to everyone reading this, but like any other large organisation, universities spend a lot of money on a wide variety of activities. They have a vested interest in supporting their own and as a former student, you’re in a great position to understand what makes your particularly university tick.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with Leeds Trinity on a number of projects in recent years and have really enjoyed the experience.
Most Universities now have business incubators designed to support entrepreneurial graduates. This could be a co-working space, meeting room for hire or fully fledged office space. A university campus can provide a fantastic springboard for your business and the spaces are often available at subsidised rates.
Many research active universities are also eager to engage with businesses on R&D projects and can offer expertise, funding and facilities.
Business Advice & Funding
Along with the business incubator space, you will often find experts on hand to support your business. You may have a specific area such as finance or law that you need some support with, or more general advice about growth.
Universities often have funding available to help you start or grow your business. The Ad:Venture programme across the Leeds City Region has been a useful source of funding and advice for us here at Story.
As you look to grow your business you may find you have vacancies to fill and once again, your former university can help. While you can probably advertise roles to potential graduates through university job boards, there are also opportunities to offer placements or become a mentor. This is a great way to ‘try before you buy’ and you can often unearth fantastic candidates through the placement process.
Just because you’ve graduated, it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn more from your University. Most will offer alumni a discount on post-graduate courses and many have short courses, workshops, seminars and other events which you may find useful.
Corporate Social Responsibility
All of the above can provide a really easy and fulfilling way to place a huge tick in the box marked, corporate social responsibility. Being an active member of your university’s alumni community is a great way to give something back to the next generation while continuing to grow both personally and professionally.