Local alumni chapters: staying connected to the RSM community
When the close-knit RSM student community graduates each year and quite literally goes global, the challenge is on to retain and nourish ties between alumni forging a career path around the world and their alma mater in Rotterdam. The in-the-field initiative shown by the more than 40 RSM alumni Local Chapters is key to maintaining a bond that continues to serve the School and alumni alike.
Story by Kevin Titman
Markus Lodensträter, an alumnus of the International Full-time MBA Class of 2013 and an active member of the School’s Germany and Switzerland Local Chapters who secured his last two jobs via RSM alumni, says that: ‘Via the range of events we set up, our aim is to get fellow alumni off the sofa on a Friday evening after a week at work and get them involved.’
Getting busy professionals to give up some of their spare time to maintain ties with their former school can represent quite a challenge. Making the benefits of membership of an ever-more global alumni community is key, especially when the community in question now totals over 36,000 and is spread over 120 countries.
Business and pleasure
The Local Chapters are crucial in achieving this objective, Markus believes: ‘We don’t necessarily have the time or the opportunity to keep travelling back to Rotterdam. Hooking up with like-minded alumni keeps us connected with RSM, plus the personal and professional perks are too good to pass up.’
It is precisely the work-and-play side to Local Chapter events that draw numbers to such initiatives, be it a simple BBQ-type happening, a skiing weekend or a more high-brow conference, breakfast meeting with a CEO or multi-school event such as those run by the Spain Chapter under the umbrella of the country’s Ryder Club, an organisation encompassing alumni clubs from a host of prestigious international universities and business schools.
As José Enrique Viniegra Escanero of the Spain Chapter underlines, a strong end-to-end offer is of great importance: ‘We want people to have a good time on a personal level but also grow their professional network. Our mission is to set up interesting events with strong speakers that will get alumni mingling socially and developing professionally. When the School gets involved in an official capacity, the event and the brand are boosted even further still.’
Graduation isn’t goodbye
Every good alumni community can call upon a team of dedicated professionals to develop and apply an overarching strategy and squeeze palms at alumni events. Sue Martin (RSM’s Director of Corporate and Alumni Relations) and her team are tasked with pushing the existing vibrant network forward, a drive that includes such targets as raising the bar in terms of alumni communications, bringing Local Chapter leaders into closer contact with one another, promoting the RSM brand internationally via alumni in their ambassadorial role, and re-connecting with alumni from the early years with whom links have been partially lost.
As Sue notes, ‘Graduation isn’t goodbye, but rather the start of another journey. One of the reasons we ensure that current students benefit from direct contact with alumni is for them to see the advantages of such a connection and to create the desire for them to support the school and the next generation of students in advance of the day they complete their studies.’
These objectives will come into even sharper focus as the community looks to expand, duly supported by the School’s highly professional team. While the alumni network is already well represented by the establishment and frequent activities of Local Chapters globally, there are ambitions to strengthen and expand the network more locally. Benelux is one area very much in the plans of the RSM Alumni team. Providing a greater level of support to existing chapters and helping them to grow their membership also figures high on the priority list.
Caring and sharing
Another success story comes in the form of the London-based UK Local Chapter, currently headed by Petar Kolev, an alumnus of the International Full-time MBA Class of 2017. Local Chapter leader for the past year and fresh from a recent event in the capital attended by around 100 alumni and RSM representatives, Petar saw for himself the short and longer-term advantages of active alumni community membership and participation.
‘When I was looking to relocate to the UK after my studies I was able to get in touch with established alumni and receive help from people who cared about the School. The co-operative nature of RSM and the open-mindedness and curiosity of its alumni add up to a supportive community that can contribute to RSM’s continued success in rankings. Anything we can do to carry the brand forward whilst gaining personally and professionally and we are available.’
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China. www.rsm.nl
For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.