Networking Virtually

Photo from http://www.brazen.com/

By Patrick Shields, Guest Writer

On Friday, February 5, eight company representatives connected with T-birds virtually and shared specific industry and functional knowledge. This was a unique opportunity to test the Brazen “a real-time chat messaging and communication tool that connect students to alumni and employers ”. Dodie Busch, Senior Director Student Experience and Affairs, said: “It was a successful pilot! 47 people participated in the event including employers from various industries and functions, students, alumni, and CMC staff.”

Brazen 3The event was a great way to talk to professionals from different industries in a less formal setting. We entered a virtual lobby with several industry options: Government, Consulting, Marketing, and Non-Profit.  Once in the lobby, you clicked an industry to wait in line for your turn to instant message one of the professionals in that field. The lines tended to be about 15-30 minutes of wait time depending on the industry; with consulting being the most popular. After this, it was time to network. Students could prepare their introduction in advance and communicate with employers real-time while also having the flexibility to multi-task while waiting in line to talk with an employer. Many of the professionals were very helpful and easy to talk to and it was interesting to learn about their work experience and daily routine in an informal way. Some of the students were contacted after the event to talk about job opportunities.

Helen Wu from Career Management Services (CMC) talks about the dual objective for the event: “Firstly, it was an opportunity for students to have informational interviews with alumni. This is not about asking for jobs, it is more about building relationships, learning about various functions and industries. Secondly, it was a test event. We’ve never used this platform before. We wanted participants’ input to make sure we are setting up the event correctly. We wanted to know if it’s user friendly and whether it caters to student needs, and if it is convenient.”

Matthew Sampias from Accenture said “It was fun, I really enjoyed connecting with and getting to know everyone” and C’pher Gresham from SEED SPOT exclaimed “It was awesome and fun time!” The event flew by and after an hour I had talked with three people all of whom were very helpful in describing their knowledge and skills that allow them to do their jobs. It is a great networking tool that I hope to see more of in the future.

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