So twenty alumni got together in January- so what? Your fellow Panthers are claiming it to be the “perfect networking event,” that’s what.
It could be easy to overlook the impact of these bimonthly gatherings at first glance. Simply speaking, the average Alumni Networking Roundtable consists of about 20 Chapman alumni gathered around a table and an alumni facilitator, in this case Adam Coughran ’04 (M.A. ’10), who leads the group through sharing each of their Networking Bios and taking turns speaking for up to 2 minutes, followed by an open forum for group feedback.
However, the consensus of Panthers who have taken their seat at the table is that Chapman’s Alumni Networking Roundtables are the “perfect networking event.” This can be attributed to:
1) The organic creation of “the kind of environment you want when you’re in need of help or leads- supportive, intimate, connected, and with common goals,” by uniting fellow Panthers. Just as Chapman’s infamous small class sizes establish lifelong connections for current students, the relatively small size of the Alumni Networking Roundtable spotlights the unique “bond we (have) as alumni.” Indeed, it is no wonder that one of January’s attendees asserted, “I think every attendant definitely walked away having gained something- and that’s a mission accomplished.”
2) The direct nature of networking bios and the ‘2-minute pitch’, which consist of the speaker’s experience, ability to help others at the table, and what they need help with. The bio serves as an oral resume so that everyone in the room has a clear understanding of who is there so they can efficiently network to their specific needs. Attendees knows exactly how they can best assist each other, and can dive straight into their own personal networks to make introductions, suggestions, and give feedback in the most effective manner possible.
For many, the roundtable marks the beginning of a greater journey. It is through open discussions – sparked by unique group size, driven by common goals, and resulting in honest conversations – that connections are formed. Usually, these conversations continue even after the Roundtable ends.
So was the case for Ryan Bunch ’04 (MBA ’11). Bunch, who graduated Chapman with both a bachelor’s and master’s in business administration, saw the Roundtable as a great opportunity to get his foot in the door after taking a break from the work force.
“Attending the roundtable kick-started my return to all things Chapman,” Bunch shares. “Since the networking event I have attended an MBAA (Master’s of Business Administration Alumni Association) luncheon, met with the Career and Industry Department and the Argyros Career Services Department, reached out to an old grad school professor to see about sitting in on an upcoming class and emailed some old grad school friends. The networking event helped me to realize the importance of staying connected to my network and to have a few tools always ready for professional interaction. Having a Networking Bio ready, practicing an ‘elevator pitch’ for my personal brand, clearly communicating exactly how someone else can help me and a willingness to help and connect others are the simple tools that I have focused on in an attempt to advance my career.”
Bunch was one of the many success stories from that night. Fellow networkers shared his enthusiasm in an anonymous post-event survey, claiming that, “(roundtables) need to happen more often and more people need to know about them! Talk about a wonderful opportunity to connect young and old alumni and grow the foundation for a true Chapman network.” Newcomers saw the event as a reflection of the growing commitment the university is making to the entire Chapman Family – particularly alumni and students – to remain their Career Connection for Life. One alumnus shared, “this was my first Chapman networking event and it exceeded my expectations with the ‘Think Chapman First’ philosophy. I appreciate Chapman investing into their alumni and offering Panthers the opportunity to connect so we can help one another in making meaningful business connections.”
Remember, 80 percent of all job placements are the result of networking and connecting with people who are in a position to help you by making introductions on your behalf. You’ll be surprised at how simply reaching out to a fellow alumni – for example, by attending a networking roundtable – can provide you with a wealth of information and maybe even the connection you’ve been looking for to make the next step. As Kristelle Lroche ’14, another January attendee, puts it, “The Chapman Alumni Networking Roundtable helped me realize that support in my ongoing journey of career success is only a Panther away.”