Networking at the beginning of your business career


Networking during your business study is an opportunity to establish a network which will be invaluable during your career.

Undergraduate students in business disciplines should appreciate the value of networking at an early stage in their career development. The undergraduate experience itself gives once-in-a-lifetime networking opportunities with peers and faculty at their colleges and universities. If approached properly, it allows for the same opportunities with similar groups at other institutions.

In every discipline, the advantages to undergraduates for establishing a lasting network of fellow students and field professionals during their student years cannot be overstated. After graduation, that opportunity cannot be regained.

As in other disciplines, business students can attend and/or make presentations at academic and professional conferences, be granted shadowing experiences with individual business people, undertake internships in various business situations, and the like.

Most of those traditional opportunities to network in the broad sense of the term are presented to students in the later years of their undergraduate experiences. There are significant advantages to having students network at a very basic level of professional interaction from the very beginning of their undergraduate studies.

During their first year of studies, students can be put in situations to talk with and socially interact with business people. For example, the Department of Economics and Legal Studies, part of the School of Business at Robert Morris University, has a dedicated group of business people who form the Board of Advisors for the department.

Those twenty business professionals are the core group for volunteers who network with the department’s students at once-each-semester gatherings. Students are invited to the gatherings as early as the first term in the first year of their studies and in successive semesters through their undergraduate years.

There are different business people at the networking sessions over the years, and there are some who regularly volunteer their time to attend. Business professionals involved in the programme get to witness professional development and maturation among the students. The entire process can lead directly to job connections for the students.