Your network is your net worth. While it might feel that you can rely solely on yourself at the outset of your career, the truth is that you will need diverse and robust network connections to advance to higher levels of career success. More than 80 percent of executive positions are filled through networking. Therefore, the larger and stronger your network, the faster you can reach coveted career roles.
In truth, you should start networking as early as possible to maximize the number of valuable connections available to you. However, your undergraduate studies are a prime place to begin your networking endeavors earnestly. Here are a few tips for forming network connections during your undergraduate college experience.
The acceleration of the availability of online education is one of the most constructive developments of the pandemic era. Now, almost every college offers a wealth of online degree opportunities, from bachelor’s programs in business administration to graduate-level business school programs. Online education has all sorts of advantages, including higher convenience and lower cost. You might even opt for an online program if you are hoping to maintain employment while you pursue your degree.
Most online courses are asynchronous, meaning that students and instructors will complete coursework on their own time. Thus, providing little opportunity for eager networkers to interact with their peers. Thus, you will need to get creative to build your network through your online program. Here are a few suggestions that might help your networking efforts in online courses:
It is possible to complete an entire online course without communicating directly with your instructor even once. However, doing so will not benefit your future career. Before a course begins, you might introduce yourself to your instructor via email. You should reach out throughout the instruction period, asking for guidance in studying or feedback on completed assignments. You might also consider sending your instructor some form of thank-you note or gift when your course concludes. Additionally, you should try to keep in touch with your favorite instructors in the future.
Even if your school provides the online student body with some form of discussion board to facilitate connections, you should look for or create a group for you and your fellow classmates on a shared social media app, like Facebook or What’s App. On social media, you are more likely to generate a feeling of community, and you can commiserate about your school experiences without fear of eavesdropping by school officials. The relationships you build with fellow students could become lucrative tools for building your career, so you should do what you can to ingratiate yourself with other members of your courses.
Most people find it much easier to develop strong connections with in-person encounters. It is possible that some members of your online courses — and perhaps even your professors — live nearby. You might suggest meeting up in person, perhaps to review important course materials or complete a group project. If you cannot identify anyone residing within a reasonable distance, you might suggest video calls and other forms of simulating in-person contact.
Traditional business degree programs make it incredibly easy for you to connect with professors and fellow students. In addition to meeting students in your courses, you will likely be invited to a number of networking events hosted by your school. However, if you want to go above and beyond in your networking endeavors, here are a few ways to meet even more people during your business bachelor’s program:
Most universities maintain hundreds if not thousands of clubs. You should be able to join a number of clubs dedicated to your unique business interests, and you might consider forming a club of your own, as well.
Fraternities facilitate deep relationships among members. Thus, when you join a fraternity, you are unlocking a large network of valuable connections. As with clubs, there are many types of fraternities to consider, including academic fraternities, religious fraternities, professional fraternities, and more.
Every professor holds open office hours when you can visit them in person for any reason. You can and should use office hours to inquire about course materials. But you should also try to get to know your instructors during this period. Most professors appreciate students who go out of their way to form connections. Plus, the relationships you cultivate in this way could be lucrative.
The sooner you start networking, the better your career will be. No matter what type of business program you enroll in, you can and should start networking with everyone you meet.