As Boston University students continue to plan for their future careers in a time when options for face-to-face networking opportunities are nearly nonexistent, BU’s Student Government has created a digital substitute.
The Build Your Network series — spearheaded by the StuGov Executive Board — is a networking and consulting series that can connect current students with alumni from around the world at different phases of their careers, according to the Alumni Association website.
The campaign aims to help students see what their career path could look like; network with professionals; and gain mentorship, shadowing and job opportunities.
StuGov President Oliver Pour, a junior in the College of Communication, said the COVID-19 pandemic has made online networking more widespread and accessible.
“We didn’t know a pandemic was going to hit so hard,” Pour said, “In a normal, regular year, you would have brought BU alumni from the Boston area. Now we’re able to reach BU alumni across the world.”
In the first alumni event held Friday for Build Your Network, Pour said the law panel featured alumni Zooming in from two countries outside the United States.
Lauren Pyes, a staff member for BU Development and Alumni Relations, wrote in an email she hopes students are able to connect with alumni virtually.
“This project is of special importance to me because it is a way to help current students and highlight how strong and caring the BU alumni community is,” Pyes wrote.
StuGov Executive Vice President David Joseph, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said Build Your Network was made to be non-exclusive.
“We arrange it in a fashion where it’s catered around student interest,” Joseph said. “People can come to these depending on if they’re interested in consulting, or if they’re interested in finance opportunities, or whatever the position may be.”
He added future events will include alumni who can speak to a diverse range of fields.
BU has more than 300,000 alumni worldwide, according to the University’s Office of the President web page, which Pour said culminates into “an incredible network.”
“BU has … a network of hundreds of thousands of BU alumni,” Pour said, “who are working in such prestigious companies doing incredible things that impact the world on the daily.”
Pour said it is important students build a network of professional contacts outside of school.
“There’s life after college,” Pour said, “and as a student, you have to not only be aware of the now, but you have to be aware of the later.
Joseph said the events aim to promote connections both between students who share similar career interests and between students and alumni. Individuals a few years out of college with “worthwhile experience” in their field, he said, are able to guide current students into their own transition to the professional world.
Joseph said the events are short and concise so they can be “as incredibly potent and helpful as possible.”
Though 10 to 12 upcoming events are planned so far, Joseph said, there is no set limit for the length of the Build Your Network series.
“We understand that everything comes to an end,” Joseph said. “But we don’t want to limit it to just a month, a day a week or something like that. We want to always be able to bring this initiative back up if we see it fit or if we see a new need.”
To participate in Build Your Network sessions, students can use the links posted on the BU StuGov Instagram page.
Brian Amusat, a senior in the CAS, wrote in an email that he thinks students should take the opportunity to network, and that he is happy StuGov is creating an initiative to enable them to do so remotely.
“I think that is extraordinarily important because a lot of students don’t know where to start when it comes to networking,” Amusat said. “So I think this is a good first step for students to gain these skills.”