Monday, May 3, 2010

#85: Networking

One of the reasons why Notre Dame is such a highly touted institution is because of its extensive and successful alumni network.  Unlike most schools, the Notre Dame Alumni Network spreads across the country and around the world with 267 local clubs in cities ranging from Topeka to Beijing.  Because of this, many students and alumni alike cherish the alumni network as one of the most important assets of a Notre Dame Education.

Notre Dame Students like the alumni network and all of the networking opportunities that come with it because they are incredibly focused on their future careers.  For Notre Dame Students, everything they do is based on the next step, and decisions are judged by their impact in the long term as opposed to the short term.  Students understand that their future success will not only be based on how well they do on tests and papers, but on how well they utilize their time at the school to make connections and open opportunities for themselves.

With this in mind, Notre Dame Students look to all places and times for opportunities to network with alums.  Students walk through tailgating lots before football games introducing themselves to alums by touting the highlights of their résumé.  Describing their major, recent jobs, and maybe some research experience; Notre Dame Students treat their tailgating revelry not only as a chance to get some free food and beer from alums, but as an important opportunity to expand their network.

Similarly, when Notre Dame Students leave campus and go to different parts of the country (particularly the bars of Chicago’s north side), they wear so much ND apparel that they act as walking advertisements for the school.  While they partly do this because of their unmatched pride; they mainly do it as an means to strike up conversations with Notre Dame Alums and supporters in all of the places they go.  Notre Dame Students know that any conversation with any person can lead to the future of their dreams.

Finally, Notre Dame Students relentlessly use the traditional channels to expand their network.  They send emails to professionals in their field that contain coded questions that don’t explicitly ask for any help with a career (but implicitly ask the professionals for jobs).  They attend meetings at any hour of the day with professionals that come to campus in order to network.  Notre Dame Students attend the career fair as if it was the sole reason why they attended the University; and they will wear their class rings (see #37) as if the employers could forget what school they are visiting.

Once they have networked every possible connection for their career path, Notre Dame Students meticulously send emails at regular intervals to all of the people they have connected with.  They send them holiday greetings, congratulate them on achievements, and notify them of their own achievements all in an effort to stay contacted with their vast and endless network.  Sometimes these efforts will be in vain; but more often than not, Notre Dame Students are wildly successful in their networking, and end up utilizing it to start themselves off on the career path of their dreams.

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