Business school is supposed to be as much about networking as it is about getting your MBA, so what happens after classes and final exams have become a distant memory?
Luckily, staying in touch can be easier than before in today’s Internet-savvy and socially networked world, so it pays to know your options.
To start, most MBA schools offer their own version of an alumni networking program, such as McGill University’s own MBA International Network. Such networks generally operate by e-mail contact, though some offer online portals as well, but they only network to other alumni from your school. These networks are free to join and tend to run events and invite guest speakers to lectures, which alumni can attend.
Several major MBA accreditation organizations also offer a membership experience for you to connect with a wider pool of MBA alums from different schools across the world. One big and popular one is U.K.-based Association of MBAs (www.mbaworld.com), which accepts members from 140 MBA schools across the world including the University of Toronto, Harvard and Stanford. Membership is about $235 for each year and $100 to sign up for the first time, but the association boasts a network of 9,000 members across the world as well as a members-only online jobs portal.
If free social networking is your thing, Facebook has the sheer numbers, but don’t discount sites like Classmates .com, LinkedIn and Friendster. In particular, LinkedIn is focused on business relationships, while Friendster has all its Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Spanish pages linked together and accessible at the touch of a button — a great tool if you’re a multilingual alumni and want to keep up with international friends.