W&M Connect A program intended to strategically engage students

W&M Connect
A program intended to strategically engage students with alumni.
Desired outcomes:
 Students gain corporate insight and career guidance
 Alumni are engaged at a personal level and drawn back to the mission of W&M
 Meetings can serve as a gateway to increased corporate engagement
 Alumni are engaged in regions where we may not have significant numbers
 Increased annual giving
We urge students to maximize their student experience by engaging alumni as part of
the career exploration process.
To give each an opportunity to gain professional knowledge and insight from an
alumnus working in a field that is of interest to him/her, or into which he or she
intends to go – we urge students to connect with alumni while on summer or other
academic breaks.
We urge students to simply go to LinkedIn or the list of W&M Career Champions at
and select an alumnus whom he or she feels might best provide information and
guidance regarding a chosen field. Significantly, intentional networking is critical to a
successful job search and face-to-face meetings with alumni are an important part of
that journey – we want to eliminate barriers to those conversations.
W&M Connect conversations are intended to provide:
Real and actionable career advice
Insightful information on career trends
Economic and cultural shifts that impact careers
Career exploration
Professional development
Industry perspective
Understanding of corporate culture
Tips for success
The W&M Champion and W&M Connect website, found on the Mason Alumni page,
offers students support, to ensure these conversations are mutually rewarding. There
they will find:
• A list of possible informational interview questions.
• A sample letter/email requesting a meeting.
Once a student has identified an alumnus with whom he or she wishes to meet, we
recommended a carefully considered visit.
These steps are strongly suggested:
• Email or call selected alumnus and schedule a meeting place and time
• Students should have a clear understanding of what he or she hopes to gain
• Convey exceptions to the alumnus with whom the meeting will take place
• Upon returning to campus, provide a brief note letting us know with whom they
met, “takeaways,” a copy of your thank you note/email, and a receipt
• Students will be given a $30.00 Visa card as reimbursement.
• If the alumnus with whom a student meets generously picks up the tab, he or she
is welcome to use the Visa card for another meeting.
• Students return to campus with a focused and renewed commitment to your
career aspirations.
• In preparation, you should research the company and come with an agenda.
• Planning your questions is perhaps the most important task. They should be
relevant, smart and informed.
Mistakes to avoid:
• It is important that students be clear they are not there to ask for a job – rather
building a professional network and gaining valuable information.
• The greatest mistake is wasting the time of a contact, or presenting oneself as
• Being late
• Not attentively listening
• Not following up with the alumnus
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