Alumni Advisory Board Careers Committee Update (August 2021)

August 2, 2021

How has SOM affected your career path? Maybe through a job referral from another SOM alum. Or a suggestion from a professor. A formative case study from an elective. A coffee chat. 

Whether you had a plan from the very beginning, or you never could have predicted your career’s twists and turns, the odds are you’ve felt SOM’s imprint on your journey in some way.

The SOM Alumni Advisory Board’s Careers Committee exists to play a part in that journey as our SOM experience as students transitions to the career paths we pursue as alumni. I’m honored to chair this group and want to thank my fellow committee members Ramin Abtahi (MBA ’02), Jill Govan Bauman (MPPM ’87), Ken Farer (MBA ’02), Vinay Kanchanapally (MBA ’19), and our newest member Vivian Li (MAM ’13).

The Committee has undergone its own transformations in recent years, refining its focus and ways of supporting the SOM alumni community. We seek to complement the impressive array of career-oriented programs from the Career Development Office (CDO) and Alumni Relations, bringing our skills and experiences as engaged alumni to bear in a way that expands SOM’s careers ecosystem.

Over the last several months, we’ve worked hard as a group to identify priorities for the year ahead (as a refresher: the committee’s scope does not include career coaching nor direct career services, though many of us enjoy doing this outside our committee work). We are grateful to Abigail Kies and Rebecca Stekloff from the CDO, and Margie Adler and Kaela Heaslip from Alumni Relations, for their invaluable input along the way. 

examples of career support

For our first priority, the Committee is doubling down on “alumni-to-alumni” initiatives. We identified that other alumni (beyond one’s immediate circle of SOM friends) are a surprisingly underutilized career resource. If we’re in touch with many classmates from our graduating year for career conversations, we’re in touch with fewer alumni in the classes one year ahead or behind ours, and far fewer alumni many years ahead or behind ours. The Committee aims to find opportunities to bridge these gaps and help SOM alumni with career needs learn from others who have “been there before.” We’re thankful to Julia Rozovsky ‘12 and David Mizrachi ‘09 for leading the first version of an alumni-to-alumni careers initiative on August 18th (register here).

Second, we’re going to work with the CDO to identify new avenues, messaging, and programs that would be valuable for alumni career needs. The CDO already provides direct career coaching for alumni (sign up to meet with Cindy Cornell here!) and monthly job search webinars for alumni (recordings here). How else might the CDO serve our 10,000-person-strong alumni community as we navigate all sorts of career topics? The Committee is excited to dive into this question. 

Third, the Committee is prioritizing building career connections with the next generation of SOM alumni: SOM students. We know alumni-student networking already happens a lot. We’re confident there are ways we can help nurture these relationships and add more structured opportunities alongside the organic connections constantly being made. We’re grateful to Lauren Cohen ‘15 and Prashant Babu ‘12 for piloting an event with current students focused on UK career topics. Next, we’ll be looking to the vibrant China alumni WeChat group as a model for alumni-student career networking in other regions.

These three priorities are meant to be useful - and we can’t do this alone! Please reach out (ysomaab@gmail.com) with ideas and feedback, as well as to volunteer as we help make that next SOM imprint in each others’ careers.

About the author

Ben Freedman