Anika Raisa Chowdhury, Staff Writer
Students and Alumni at the event. Photo//Jennifer Mcleod.
Remember the age-old adage, "It's not what you know, but who you know?” In a world where opportunities often hinge on the power of connections, the University of Michigan-Dearborn recently took this saying to heart with a remarkable Alumni & Student Networking Night.
The event was organized by the Alumni Engagement and Career Services at the Fairlane Center South. The campus was buzzing with excitement, ambition and a sprinkle of fairy lights, creating an evening to remember. Here's the scoop on how this event brought past and present Wolverines together for a night of connections, camaraderie and a dash of enchantment.
Networking on an empty stomach? Not at UM-Dearborn! To keep energy levels up, a delightful spread of snacks and beverages was available. After all, it's hard to make meaningful connections when you're famished.
The alumni and students engaged in conversation about their industry and classroom experiences and tips while munching on snacks and connecting with each other on LinkedIn. That modern touch to this networking event was evident, ensuring that these connections would continue online and extend beyond the event. It wasn't just a one-night affair; it was the beginning of a journey where UM-Dearborn alumni and students would continue to support and empower each other.
The organizing teams had also set up information booths with goodies for the attending alumni and students as well.
The event started with a presentation by Laurel Draudt about the career services on campus, followed by introduction of the Career Services staff. Then Diane Sigler from the Alumni Engagement Team shared how students stay connected as alumnus and gives back to their alma mater, followed by a round of introduction by the different alumnus at the event.
The real enchantment happened as students had the chance to rub shoulders with the seasoned pros—UM-Dearborn alumni. From industry experts to entrepreneurial wizards from various domains, these alumni were living proof that Wolverines not only dream but also achieve. The night was alive with stories, advice and hearty laughter, proving that networking isn't just about business cards; it's about building relationships that last a lifetime.
The event didn't rely on magic spells to foster connections; it employed something even more powerful: speed networking. Students and alumni were paired up for quick but meaningful conversations, making new connections and expanding their professional networks.
Vinyasa Kottapally, a student pursuing her last semester studying data science, when asked about her experience said, “The event served as a positive boost for fresh graduates, showcasing how effortless interactions can be in a low-pressure environment. However, there's room for improvement, particularly in balancing the ratio of alumni to students. Maintaining this balance is crucial for optimizing everyone's time. Personally, I found it challenging to connect with more than six people. Here's to future events being even more engaging and inclusive for all attendees!”
As the night concluded, it was clear that the Alumni & Student Networking Night had created a space where connections were more than just professional. They were personal, lasting, and filled with the spirit of Wolverines coming together to navigate the paths of success.