MBA alumni reunion: friendships renewed
How long can a reunion last? This year, the buzz started six weeks before an MBA reunion in early October. Messages and forgotten photos of ‘that time when…’ and new photos of growing families from all over the world were added to rapidly expanding WhatsApp groups. Then virtual networks were turning into real ones as MBA alumni met at airports and on connecting flights en route to Rotterdam.
Story by Dorine Schreiner and Justine Whittern. Photos by Chris Gorzeman.
When alumni from the RSM MBA classes of 2012, 2007, 2002, 1997 and 1992 returned to campus, old connections were re-made and old memories revived; reminding everyone that being part of a student group can be a fundamental part of who we grow up to be.
A big, strong family
‘We are all different and we are also similar in many aspects,’ said Gloria Chang (Full-time MBA 2007), adding that a storytelling workshop put together for the reunion was a great way to connect with other alumni and cohorts by sharing class stories. ‘The reunion made me feel part of a bigger, stronger RSM family. It’s also the most effective way to learn about RSM’s current programmes, student mix and to make our voices heard,’ said the Taiwanese-Italian alumna who lives in Milan.
The magnetic pull of the gathering of the RSM tribe started before events kicked off. While waiting for his flight from Washington DC, alumnus Eric Olsson (Full-time MBA 2002) met Alina Kish (Full-time MBA 2002) and Bill Decker (Full-time MBA 1992) who took the same connecting flight from Colorado.
‘Being in Rotterdam with my classmates made me feel part of the old group again. I also re-established contact with classmates I’d unintentionally fallen out of touch with, and several more who couldn’t make it but are now connected by WhatsApp,’ Eric said, adding that he still has a lot to learn from his classmates and takes advantage of the resources the school has to offer, including RSM alumni and recruitment events in Washington DC.
With social media and apps, staying connected is easier and easier. More than 90 former classmates are part of the Class of 2002 WhatsApp group. ‘It felt very good to be a part of this group,’ says German-Swiss alumna Nicole Seitz (Full-time MBA 2002). ‘We started chatting in the app six weeks before the reunion and there were daily entries of photos, messages and comments from all over the world. So for us as a group, the reunion actually lasted longer than the weekend in October.’
It is really valuable to renew friendships, share experiences, and discover where people have relocated to, said Nicole. ‘They’re a great source for information and travel ideas in case we plan to move there or go on vacation. Having been part of RSM is something that we share and what connects us.’ Nicole said she stays connected to the school through the alumni newsletters, attends local RSM chapter events in Zurich, has organised and attended weekends in London, Rome, Brussels and Barcelona, and has even hired RSM alumni in her previous organisation.
Anuradha Banerjee (Full-time MBA 2007) now lives in London, and said it was particularly special to catch up with her MBA colleagues who don’t live in Europe. ‘The connections you make are probably the greatest return on investment you get from doing an MBA. As time goes by I find myself more connected with the people I met.’
Will it be your class’ turn to join the MBA Alumni Reunion in Rotterdam in 2018? Check the website, and save the date: 12-13 October 2018.