Hi, my name is Lauren Bell and I have recently completed a placement year at the Business School as an Alumni Relations Intern. I have learnt so much more than I ever expected during my placement, find out what I have been up to over the last 11 months.
What is alumni relations?
Firstly, when people ask me what I am doing for my placement year their first questions is always ‘what is Alumni Relations?’
When you graduate from university you become part of an alumni community. Alumni relations is about managing the relationship with graduates once they have left and encouraging them to remain involved with the university, whether this be by attending an event hosted by the university, or by volunteering their time to deliver a careers talk. There are 200,000 Newcastle University alumni, and Business School alumni make up 25,000 of this total amount, spanning across 137 countries. Therefore, ensuring that there is something for everyone is important.
What have I done during my placement?
I have been involved in so much during my placement, gaining experience in such a range of areas from relationship management, to marketing, to event organising.
As part of maintaining relationships with alumni, it is essential to provide events for alumni to provide an opportunity to get together with old classmates and also make new connections. Events range from casual reunions to professional networking and master classes, with the aim of supporting lifelong learning. For events based in the UK, I have organised events in Newcastle and London. Travelling to the event in London was particularly fun as I had the opportunity to also meet with alumni in their offices and get a feel for what working life is like in London.
As our alumni span across 137 countries, international events also take place to ensure that all alumni have the opportunity to stay connected. Therefore, I have assisted with organising international events in China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangkok. As part of this I have helped to source venues, created the marketing material and identified successful alumni for the Alumni Relations Manager to meet within country. Mostly gaining experience of working across different time zones.
Alumni also play an important role in preparing current students for life after graduation. Our alumni have jobs in a variety of professions and can share with students an insight into what it is like to work within these professions and give their advice for being successful in the job market. Two of the biggest projects that I was tasked with sourcing alumni to deliver career talks for were: Employability Week and Gain a Global Advantage conference. For Employability Week, a remarkable ten alumni returned to the Business School to inspire students.
I have also worked at winter and summer graduations, welcoming the most recent graduates to the alumni community and making them aware of the benefits that the university can offer them post-graduation. Graduations were great to be a part of as there was such a nice celebratory atmosphere and it gave me an idea of what to expect for my graduation next year.
Favourite part of the placement
My favourite part of my placement has been working on creating an ‘Alumni with Businesses’ web page to showcase our entrepreneurial alumni who have gone on to set up their own businesses. It has been particularly interesting finding out how the alumni developed their business ideas. There are now 21 businesses featured on the web page and you can check out the web page here: https://bit.ly/2Uz44se. I also designed a social media campaign for the ‘Alumni with Businesses’, sharing a different business each week across the Business School social media channels.
Overall, this placement has provided a great opportunity to expand my network as by attending alumni events and meeting alumni when they have returned to the Business School, I have been able to meet a range of people from a range of sectors.