The year is flying by! Here at SpeedNetworking.com, we want to make sure we’re always keeping you in the loop about our latest updates & news—and that includes our client spotlights. In Q3, we’re focusing on the ways our program has helped colleges & universities improve networking between students & alumni.
Recently, we talked with Matt Kelly, Associate Director of Alumni Career Services, at Georgetown University, a top 25 national university, according to U.S. News & World Report, about the ways speed networking has impacted their organization over the last 7-8 years.
What prompted your initial interest in SpeedNetworking.com? Was there a specific obstacle you were trying to overcome or solutions you were trying to solve?
“I think in general, we recognize the fact that students at Georgetown need experience with a lot of different types of networking. So when we look at creating what we like to refer to as a portfolio of events, we always want the events to be a little bit different and stand out from each other.
We typically have done open networking events that’s just the general show up and talk to people, and the quantity of attendees was great but the quality of the conversations was kind of hit or miss.
Students sometimes have a little bit of a fear factor in initiating contact with an alum, so we thought a speed networking type of event would be a great addition to the portfolio.”
How has the Speed Networking program helped better connect your audience?
“The quality is the big one for us. From a student perspective, our main goal is to provide them with quality connections and quality conversations at an event. But from an alumni relations perspective, we want to provide that same experience to our alumni.
So I think a secondary benefit of this type of event is that alumni are guaranteed to have those types of conversations with students. There are some situations where alumni might show up to an event and the student doesn’t approach them and the alumni leave feeling disheartened. Or there are even certain events where alumni might not even talk to a student, but just talk amongst themselves, which is not ideal for us either.”
What do you like most about working with SpeedNetworking.com?
“I think the matches are always good. So the scheduling and the creating the event calendar is the best feature for me.”
What kind of feedback do you get from participants after events? From students or alumni?
“I think of the portfolio of our events, our students and alumni enjoy this one the most because of the forced-nature of the event in that there’s a certain schedule to it and students are forced to actually initiate the connection and conversation. I think that’s the biggest positive piece of feedback we get is the quality.
I also think it's beneficial because, with the way the schedules are constructed and the way the matches are created, students have a little bit of opportunity to learn about the alumni before going into the conversation.
And alumni always appreciate the fact that the students are somewhat prepared for the conversation and vice versa.
From the alumni side, this is the only event that we do where alumni actually get information about the student before the event even starts. So alumni love having that backdrop before the conversation gets going.”
What would you say to other universities considering using SpeedNetworking.com?
“The primary thing that we always go into events with is a goal—a strategy. And providing this type of event was part of our strategy, not just for the portfolio of events and the engagement of alumni but as part of our overall mission of advertising and spreading the word about our career services offerings."
Anything else you would like to add?
"We’ve got a lot of great return on this event in terms of new volunteers for our career services offerings, new alumni engagement opportunities, and great brand awareness for some of the programs that we have co-sponsored with this event.
And because people have such a great positive experience at the event itself, the brand association and the awareness that they have of those programs is also positive.”
Thanks, Matt, for sharing your experience!