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CHOOSING A B SCHOOL – IMPORTANCE OF A STRONG ALUMNI NETWORK

Management has emerged as a safe career option for young people today.

One of the first decisions that they need to take is the choice of which B School to join.

Rankings, published by various publications as well as government agencies like NIRF, are an obvious method for selecting which Institute to opt for.

Unfortunately, the plethora of such rankings can lead to more confusion with the same Institute being ranked differently in different rankings.

One very important factor that is generally not looked at is the B school’s alumni network.

Other factors being equal, the B school with the older, larger and more active alumni network would always be the better choice.

This is not just in terms of alumni participation in the annual placement program, Immersion courses and talks, seminars etc., but also in terms of the support it provides in many other ways.

The support provided by alumni networks is generally not known to people outside the network, so here is a sneak peek into how the Alumni Association of the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (XIMB) supported the students, alumni and the Institute when the Covid-19 pandemic struck..

With more than 8,000 members from the first batch in 1989 to the batch of 2020, it is a matter of pride as well as a strong indicator of the quality of education imparted here that alumni from XIMB are present in very senior levels at almost every major company.

Sanket Ray, the incoming President for India and South East Asia for Coca Cola, Mohit Kampani, CEO More Retail, Sameer Satpathy Chief Executive – Personal Care at ITC, Srikumar Mishra of Milk Mantra – these are just a tip of the iceberg – there are too many such alumni to mention here.

The Alumni Association also boasts of many members who have ventured outside the corporate world and have carved a niche for themselves in fields as diverse as movie making (including a Filmfare award winner!), music, the Indian civil services and of course as highly successful entrepreneurs.

Which is why, when a black swan event like the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the XIMB Alumni Association was able to step up and support its members as well as students.

When Covid-19 began making its presence felt in our country, one of the first to feel the effects were the first year students of XIMB who suddenly found their SIP’s being rescinded. The Alumni Association immediately put together a system for identifying affected students and linking them with alumni who could provide alternate projects immediately. Thankfully, all the students were able to get and successfully complete their SIP’s.

But within a short while, the pandemic began taking a toll on alumni as well, as organizations began laying off all levels of employees in a bid to stay afloat. Seeing the seriousness of the situation and realising that this would be a long drawn out battle, the Alumni Association quickly started a program called X-Connect. With support from Talent Socio, an alumnus led talent acquisition organization, the X-Connect program has enabled alumni in distress to register on the portal, and a team of alumni volunteers facilitate their placement at companies that are hiring.

Similarly, in order to support alumni entrepreneurs and enable them to connect with other alumni who may be in need of their products or services, the Alumni Association has begun an exercise of creating searchable posts on Alumni groups and forums on Facebook and LinkedIn.

These are but a few examples of how a strong alumni network can support and help B School students succeed even after they graduate, and this is a criteria that should be given due importance when choosing a B School.

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