How returning adult students can benefit from an alumni network

Two people sit facing towards each other for a discussion with notebooks and small coffee cups at a table

You’re choosing a school and researching what the place has to offer. What you may not be factoring into your decision is the value of their alumni network. 

An alumni network is a group of people who have graduated or received some sort of formal education from an institution. As professionals who are already out in the working world, your school’s alumni network can provide you with guidance that can greatly benefit the start of your career or your advancement.

As a student, you can use alumni networks to learn about career options, build confidence interacting with professionals, learn about the realities of working in your field, and discover exclusive job opportunities. 

As you compare schools, you’ll want to choose a place that has a large, active alumni network that is willing to give back to students.

Search for an engaged alumni network

Headshot of Sandra Bradley, director of alumni relations at the Wisconsin School of Business
Sandra Bradley, director of alumni relations at the Wisconsin School of Business

How can you tell if a school has an active alumni network? First, you’ll want to check if your institution lists an alumni organization on its website. Then, look for some key indicators that they are active. Do they organize regular events that gather alumni for opportunities to meet and mingle?

Sandra Bradley, director of alumni relations at the Wisconsin School of Business, says adult learners can use these events to begin building connections and exploring industries before they even graduate.

“The Wisconsin School of Business provides both in person and virtual networking opportunities for students to engage with alumni, and for alumni to engage with each other. These are great ways for adult learners to expand their professional network and meet peers across a variety of business functions and industries.”

With multiple ways to take advantage of networking opportunities, even students with limited time can attend online events like webinars or virtual happy hours. 

Look for ways to connect 

Next, look for the following ways to stay updated on what’s happening at your school:

  • Alumni newsletters: Sign up to receive updates including upcoming events and current news from your school or alumni association.  
  • Magazines: Read spotlights on notable alumni, recent college accomplishments, and opportunities to connect with other students and alumni. 
  • Social media: Following accounts may grant you more opportunities to connect with alumni online. This is also a great option for getting college and event updates on your feed.  
  • LinkedIn or Facebook groups: Join your college’s LinkedIn group or search for Facebook groups dedicated to your graduating class. These groups may host their own informal events throughout the year.  
  • Alumni chapters: Even if you’re an online student living far from campus, you may be able to find groups of alumni based in your area.

‘Benefit from the vast knowledge and connections’ of an alumni network

With networking options now being available online, students have access to alumni who are not just in their local area, but across the country or even the world. This could be a huge benefit if you’re interested in pursuing a career in another city or abroad. At the Wisconsin School of Business, alumni connections extend far beyond Wisconsin or the U.S. 

“The Wisconsin School of Business alumni network alone consists of more than 45,000 people across the globe who are willing to engage with fellow Badgers and give back to their communities. As a returning adult student, you’ll be immediately linked to this network and will be able to benefit from the vast knowledge and connections it provides,” says Sandra Bradley.

While attending events or reaching out to experienced professionals may seem daunting, it’s essential to remember that alumni who participate in these activities are passionate about giving back to their alma mater and its students. As you explore and compare schools, consider the immense value of their alumni network. Establishing relationships within an alumni network can be incredibly beneficial, so don’t hesitate to get involved.

Are you interested in pursuing a business degree online? Read our Ultimate Guide to Online Business Degrees to learn more.