MBS students work with Alumni Association, Career Center to connect

Last semester, students in Nory Jones’ management information systems classes used LinkedIn to connect with MBS alumni as part of a collaboration with the University of Maine Alumni Association and Career Center.

The project aimed to provide students the opportunity to work with a proxy customer relationship management (CRM) system while networking with alumni.

“My goal was to have students get experience using a business software program that keeps track of customers,” she says, adding it made sense to include the Alumni Association since it keeps alumni records, and the Career Center since its counselors are familiar working with LinkedIn. “It was a win-win situation for everyone.”

Sam Kunz, a Career Center counselor, explained how to navigate the business-oriented social networking service. Jill Fiore, director of strategic engagement at the UMaine Alumni Association, provided each student with the names of 10 MBS alumni who graduated between 2001–15.

Students set up a LinkedIn account for their own networking and career development before using the service to learn about the jobs, employers and career paths of alumni.

The assignment was valuable for many reasons, according to Jones. Students became familiar with information systems software, learned about the careers in which MBS alumni are involved, and gained a better understanding of the companies that may be hiring and available job opportunities.

“It was interesting to see what UMaine graduates have done with their degrees and how they’ve worked through schooling, internships and different jobs to get to where they are now,” says Emily Deering ’17. “I also liked the opportunity to familiarize myself with LinkedIn so I can use it later for my own professional career.”

The Alumni Association appreciated the opportunity to help with student learning while updating its records, says Fiore, who wrote scripts for the students to use when reaching out to alumni.

“Students provided us with very useful data,” she says. “When people change jobs they don’t always think to let us know, so it was great to be able to update our database.”

Kunz praised the project for enabling students to learn about LinkedIn as a tool for networking and gathering information.

“But the personal benefit is even greater,” he says. “By becoming more familiar with LinkedIn, they are able to define and present themselves professionally in the real world. And that — as they say — is priceless.”