Alumni Networks Are Driven by Social Media and Digital Engagement

Business schools need a greater focus on social media for their alumni relations as the frequent users of platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook are the most engaged alumni, according to the 5th edition of Alumni Matters by CarringtonCrisp, supported by EFMD.

The study, amongst over 2,500 alumni from 86 countries and 21 schools, reveals that of those who frequently use LinkedIn (more than once a week), 74% say they are engaged with their business school while only 27% of those who never use LinkedIn identify as engaged.

A similar picture emerges with Facebook, with 71% of frequent users engaged, compared to less than a third (30%) of those who never use Facebook. Equally, amongst frequent users of alumni pages on a school website, 76% are engaged, in contrast to 22% of non-users.

The study underlines the importance of engaged alumni to a business school, with the clear majority (82%) of engaged alumni agreeing that they can contribute to the school’s success compared to less than half (41%) of all respondents.

Andrew Crisp, author of the study comments: “Schools need to consider how they can make better use of social media to cultivate greater alumni engagement and benefit from their support and loyalty. Whilst social media and digital communication is key, it’s not simply about having a Facebook or LinkedIn page, but creating content that provides real benefits and value to alumni.”

The study also found that career support at business schools has improved in recent years, but that there was still work to do. 61% of graduates from the last three years agreed career support was good, compared to only 35% of their predecessors who graduated more than 20 years ago. However, only just under half (48%) of all respondents agreed that career support was good at their school. MBA alumni were the most critical with only 38% agreeing it had been good, compared to 56% of Masters alumni and 52% of undergraduate alumni.

Andrew Crisp concludes: “Many schools promote their alumni network to candidates as a key benefit, but progress is needed to ensure the reality lives up to the promise, with only one in five (21%) alumni definitely agreeing their school has a strong alumni network. Relevant social media content and a focus on career services are two critical areas for schools to focus on.”

For more information, please contact Toby Roe.