New virtual networking events to link alumni, students worldwide

Businesswoman working on desk with laptop and digital tablet.

Northeastern’s Office of Alumni Relations is launching a new series of virtual networking hours designed to link co-op students and alumni across the globe with other alumni industry professionals.

The hourlong events—which begin on Monday at 12 p.m. EDT—will utilize a Web platform called Brazen Careerist, a real-time chat messaging service. Participants enter an online portal, where they engage in quick, text-based one-on-one chat sessions with alumni—and in some cases, Northeastern parents or co-op students—for a predetermined amount of time.

The sessions are designed to help participants share experiences, exchange career tips, and build their professional networks.

“We are committed to providing our alumni and other members of the Northeastern community with a firm foothold along their path of success,” said Rick A. Davis, vice president of alumni relations. “Virtual networking is a critical component of our professional and career development outreach and allows participants to tap into an incredibly talented Northeastern network from anywhere in the world.”

Here’s an example of how a session might work: Over the course of the hour, each participant will be matched with someone new every seven minutes; at the end of each chat, the participant will be popped into another chat with someone new.

Once participants enter a virtual networking hour, they can enter different “booths” to network with people in specific industries. For instance, Monday’s event will feature booths in a variety of areas, including arts, media, and communications; education and nonprofit; entrepreneurship; finance and financial management; and healthcare services and biomedical technology.

Participants are not limited to chatting with alumni in only one industry; they can enter any booth they like during the one-hour session. There is also a booth in each event to chat with representatives from Northeastern’s Office of Alumni Relations.

Participants can access the networking sessions from home, the office, or even on-the-go via their mobile devices. Users can also upload their LinkedIn profiles upon registering and view their chat partners’ profiles during the sessions. They can also receive transcripts of their chats, the idea being to take the heavy lifting out of the networking process and to facilitate myriad connections from the comfort of the couch or office.

Monday’s event is targeted to all alumni, parents, and students who are currently on co-op. But, some of the virtual networking events are designed to connect participants with alumni who are living and working in specific regions. And the “booths” for those events are tailored to top industries in those areas. For example, after Monday, the next four events will focus on the West Coast: San Francisco (Oct. 19), Silicon Valley (Oct. 20), San Diego (Oct. 22), and Los Angeles (Oct 23).

“The virtual networking program is a perfect illustration of our quest to provide more meaningful engagement opportunities for our alumni,” said Diane N. MacGillivray, senior vice president for University Advancement. “And having registrants from seven countries whose experience spans the industry spectrum speaks volumes for its global appeal.”

The virtual networking events are part of the Office of Alumni Relations’ larger effort to provide more accessible, dynamic programming for Northeastern’s diverse alumni network across the globe. One of these initiatives is Career by Design, Not Default. At these events, which kicked off last month in New York City and Washington, D.C., alumna and career expert Ellen Gordon Reeves, MA’92, leads interactive sessions to help participants think strategically about their careers, with a particular focus on leveraging their alumni networks and showcasing their skills and successes. The next events will be held on campus in Boston on Oct. 15 and Nov. 3 and registration for both events can be found on the Office of Alumni Relations’ events calendar.