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What are some of the best networking tips you have for a business student?

Hey Addy, I had the same question when I was entering college. Something I’d recommend is joining social groups that pertain to your area of study. Most groups host social events that can help a lot with networking. I’m currently in a business fraternity and everyone that I’ve met has been so insightful and helpful whenever we come across a question. Another thing I recommend is creating a LinkedIn account is very beneficial to network with others in the business industry. Liz D.

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John’s Answer

Addy it's preferable to begin networking before you begin job hunting. That way you can learn as much about the industry as possible and have a better career plan in mind when you apply for specific jobs. Also, if you establish your contacts early, you can better prepare for job searching and interviewing. You could ask your contacts what their job hunting experience was like and what approaches worked best for them. You could also ask them which approaches were the least useful. Many colleges have groups, clubs, and associations that you can join to expand your opportunities and meet amazing people, both on and off-campus. There’s never going to be another time quite like college where you’re surrounded by thousands of amazingly smart and interesting people, so get to know the people you think will change the world someday.

At college, you’re exposed to some of the most brilliant academic minds in the world, so why not take advantage of that? If there’s a subject area you’re interested in, don’t be afraid to go to professors in that field; they love talking about their work and meeting young people who are just as interested. You never know which professor will end up being the professor who changes your life's trajectory. Many colleges have groups, clubs, and associations that you can join to expand your opportunities and meet amazing people, both on and off-campus. There’s never going to be another time quite like college where you’re surrounded by thousands of amazingly smart and interesting people, so get to know the people you think will change the world someday.

Online sites, like LinkedIn, are popular ways to reconnect with former colleagues and seek out new connections. Once you've set up your profile, you can import your contacts from your e-mail account or phone and send invites to those individuals to connect with you via the site. To start interacting with new people, join the many groups that are available on the site, particularly those that are in your industry or relate to your career goals. This can help you plan for a career by opening your eyes to new company and job possibilities. Outside of networking, there are other resources that aspiring professionals may want to take advantage of when planning their careers. Campus career centers are available for students in postsecondary institutions. Students can meet with career centers to discuss career options based on their education, interests, and goals.

There’s never another time like college where you’re surrounded by thousands of amazingly smart and interesting people.

Thank You Aryana. Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much. Believe you can and you’re halfway there. John Frick

Thank You Husain. “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill John Frick

Thank You Jerome. “The broadest, and maybe the most meaningful definition of volunteering: Doing more than you have to because you want to, in a cause you consider good. ” – Ivan Scheier John Frick

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Mark’s Answer

Hi Addy!

If you haven't already, create yourself a LinkedIn profile. Be open to new connections, but don't be afraid to make the first move. Also, your school may very well have an alumni group on Facebook! These can be super helpful! Use part-time jobs and internships to your advantage as this is the perfect way to gain experience, figure out what you like and don't like as well as make a little money. More importantly, you’ll meet people. People to network with. People who know other people and who will perhaps go on to do bigger and better. Also, take advantage of professional networking groups and clubs on campus.

What Type of Networking Fits Your Personality Best?

Good Luck!!

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Keith’s Answer

Getting to know people and networking requires effort. Whether attending industry events (seminars, conferences, etc.) or meeting in other venues, you will have to invest in those relationships.

Remain Connectivity.
It is easy to say, but not easy to do. When you operate in the same circles and space, it is easy to maintain connectivity. With more virtual environments, you will have to be more purposeful. Be intentionally on keeping those connects. You will never know when that will benefit you.

Be Authentic.
Eagerness to network is a nice start, but you will have to be authentic in those endeavors to establish a network. If you are not authentic in your relationships, it will be transparent. That can also serve to work contrary to your favor.

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Aryana’s Answer

Hey Addy! I have a few suggestions for networking that have worked for me as a business student:
1. Join clubs / student orgs on campus. I joined DSP, a co-ed business fraternity, my freshman year and it has opened me to endless opportunities. Not only did I make lifelong friends, I have networked with professionals across several industries and have grown my network to a size I couldn't have without being in this org.
3. LINKEDIN!!! This should be your best friend. Add all your friends, professors, anyone you've worked with, and follow companies you like. From there, you will start to grow your network. Reach out to people frequently and be willing to learn from them! Do your research on them so you can ask questions, learn from them, and offer your help to them. DON'T CONNECT WITH EVERYONE. It may seem exciting at first to be getting connections. But once you reach 300-500 connections, it can be overwhelming, so you should only connect with people you KNOW and think you would do business with in the future or genuinely want to know what they're doing. This way you don't overcrowd your feed and you will have constantly interesting people and updates to look at. Once you have an established network, you can research organizations you're interested in and see who in your network knows someone there. That's your foot in the door which is priceless these days.
4. Informational interviews. This is a win-win. You get to learn about careers and organizations you're interested in, while building a relationship with someone with that role or in that organization. Many people are willing to give back and share their experiences with you, all you have to do is ask! Being genuine is key. Keep up with the people you interview so you stay on their radar for upcoming opportunities. There won't always be an opportunity out of these, besides learning, but eventually you'll meet someone who can offer you an internship which makes doing these all the more worth it.
5. NETWORKING IS ABOUT BUILDING AND MAINTAINING RELATIONSHIPS! It took me a while to learn this. You should not view networking as only a way to further your needs and desires. It's a 2 way relationship, like any other relationship. You should be genuine in your pursuit of meeting new people and have a genuine interest to get to know them, rather than just being concerned about what they can do for you. By being genuine and willing to build a relationship, your network will be stronger for it and you are more likely to receive help from them in the long-term so it's a win win!
6. Create a spreadsheet to write down all your connections and people in your network. This way you have them in one place and it's easy to look back to see who you can reach out to when you need help with something, or you have something to offer them. From here, you can follow up with your network to update them and keep them in the loop on what you're doing, follow up with what they told you they were doing last time you spoke, and offer ways you can be of help to them. That way you are building and maintaining a relationship with them.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions. Best of luck!

Aryana recommends the following next steps:

Create a LinkedIn profile and reach out to 1 new person a day.
Have 1 informational interview every week/2 weeks.
Create a spreadsheet to write down all your connections, that way you have them in one place.
Follow up with people in your network every 3-6 months (update them on you, follow up with what they told you they were doing, offer your help)

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Lauren’s Answer

Hi Addy,
Great Question! I think it's important to get involved and join organizations both in the college setting, but also through the professional setting too. Look into different organizations the business department offers in general and for your major specifically. For example, my business department had many organizations to get involved in, such as business fraternities, accounting club, women in business, etc. Utilize those organizations as a way to meet people in your major that you can use as a connection even after graduation. As for professional organizations, some offer student memberships at a discount. This is a great way for you to network professionally and use the services they offer while you're still in college. Having a business card is also a great thing to give to anyone you meet, include your email, phone number, linkedin profile, etc.

If you don't already, I'd definitely consider making a linkedin account as it can provide you will a way to connect with business professionals, fellow students, alumni of the university, and past/current professors. It will also provide you with a news source to stay up-to-date on the latest stories within the business industry, and can be a great conversation starts. The internships and job shadowing opportunities you involve yourself in will also allow for you to network with business professional that you can later use to help with your job search after college. Overall, the best advice I could give you is to leverage social media to your advantage, reach out to people you know/don't know, and join/get involved in whatever you have the time for in order to grow your network.

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Shawn’s Answer

Hi Addy, my best advice would be to just put yourself out there. As difficult or as uncomfortable as it maybe, it is where I have found my success. I am naturally not an outgoing person, but the more you do it, the more comfortable it becomes.

A couple of suggestions:
1. Attend as many career fairs and networking events as possible.
2. Strike up conversations with people and get to know them (where they from, their interests, what their plans are after college).
3. Once connections are build, you can capitalize on those situations to find the career that is best suited for you.

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Simeon’s Answer

I'd say keep it focused on don't stretch yourself too thin. Remember to not just make new contacts, but to check in and keep up with the contacts you get along with the best. You want to cultivate connections with people that you share great chemistry with. You'll make eighty percent of your career progress using just twenty percent of your professional contacts, so be sure to heavily invest in your best contacts!

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Miranda N.’s Answer

You're going to do a LOT of group projects in business school (both in undergraduate, and if you choose to pursue a further degree, graduate). Make note of the folks who are good partners in these projects--the ones who turn their work in on time, who help the other group members, who lead you to an A--and be one yourself. Keep in touch with these people as you get close to graduating, and offer to serve as references for each other. Several classmates and I did this in our first year post-grad and it helped us all land secure jobs. We also wrote references for each other on LinkedIn and have kept in touch that way. These folks will also come in handy when your future job starts hiring--why not have the folks you know you already work well with interview to work with you again?

This is a great strategy if networking events aren't your comfort zone (they certainly weren't for me!), as strong relationships with your classmates will often lead to introductions to their network.

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Jeremy’s Answer

Hi Addy!

Great question. While some of this can be a little tricky these days due to COVID, I think there a few great steps you can still take to begin networking early:

1) Create a LinkedIn profile if you haven't already. It's a great way to connect with other professionals as well as read/see about what other people are working on. However, be careful -- LinkedIn is so bogged down with people like yourself trying to network that it can quickly become impersonal. Whenever you connect with someone try to send a personal message, or even better, if they have a publicly available email write them an email. Most professionals I know are much more likely to respond to a personalized email sent directly to them than to a LinkedIn connection request or even a LinkedIn DM.

2) Create business cards to hand over in face-to-face interactions. Many times this is something your business school or university will help you with or do on your behalf through their career services office. It's just as good for them as it is for you to land a good career after you graduate. I know while I was in my MBA program we all had 500 business cards printed for us at no expense to ourselves.

3) Always ask for business cards or other ways to follow up with professionals you meet whom you want to continue a relationship with.

4) If there is someone in an industry you're passionate about, want to learn more about or have aspirations of pursuing after you graduate ask if they would be open to mentorship relationship. This is a more intimate 1-on-1 type of networking where an industry professional will sign up to talk with you regularly, answer questions and train you about the industry. This type of relationship can be especially powerful when you begin trying to apply for jobs in that industry.

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Catherine’s Answer

Hi Addy. I agree with the advice to create a LinkedIn. I would also try to remember a small detail about each person you talk to. I have even heard of people writing these down in a notebook somewhere. When you speak to them again, you can bring up the detail and make them feel more appreciated and make it feel more genuine!

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Ahsan’s Answer

Learn some games such as golf, tennis, squash where many senior executives I've seen playing. Have an idea of some of the most luxurious items such as the details of some watches, cars, places; they usually help as a conversation starter/ ice breaker for unsolicited conversations.

For known people, you can definitely learn to read the people you meet via their publicly available information on social media, Linkedin, websites, articles. Learn if the person's business is there, what is the vision/mission of it?

Never say no to events offered to you, even if they appear irrelevant / boring to you, because your purpose will be to connect with more people, meet them.

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Jennifer’s Answer

As mentioned in every response above I would absolutely advise that you Create a LinkedIn profile. It's a great way to connect with professionals in the Industry of your choice and even if you don’t connect right away it’s a great way to see what articles they are reposting, what news interests them and what projects they are working on. From here you can narrow down those people you may wish to reach out to. This is exactly what LinkedIn is for so don’t be hesitant to reach out, tell someone you found their profile and work experience inspiring and ask for advise or mentorship. Best of Luck!