Responding to our 2015 Consortium alumni survey results

A Consortium alumni survey in November has yielded several initiatives here at headquarters responding to needs our community has shared — and one that we apparently anticipated before the survey even happened.

Nearly 4,400 alumni received a link to the online survey on Nov. 10, and then again on Nov. 18. The results of the survey indicated that Consortium fellows wanted us to help them connect with career opportunities; to provide more opportunities to network; and to create more outreach from The Consortium itself.

Alumni from nearly every Consortium school responded to the 2015 survey.

Alumni from nearly every Consortium school responded to the 2015 survey.

Based on the Consortium alumni survey results — and additional strategic planning at The Consortium — we’ve launched a number of initiatives that tie directly to the priorities alumni identified.

For example, we’ve created a new position at The Consortium dedicated to working with corporate partners and alumni to fill positions that demand experienced hires. We actually introduced the new assistant vice president, Brian Wesley, in a blog post recently. There, Brian described his role to “take inventory of those unbelievably cool opportunities from our corporate partners. Then, I match them with our alumni’s fantastic experiences.”

Nearly 44 percent of Consortium alumni survey respondents said The Consortium should create more networking opportunities. Meanwhile, nearly 83 percent of respondents said alumni chapters were the way they’d “like to engage with The Consortium.”

We hope to address both of those priorities. We’re actively working on an initiative to reimagine and reinvigorate our regional alumni chapters. A pilot group is in place to develop plans and alumni should have received an email recently with information about the process.

More Engagement Through Media

On the subject of engagement with alumni, the next three priorities for alumni engagement are initiatives that have already been underway. Forty-six percent of respondents said they’d like to see The Consortium provide more information and outreach on social media.

We’ve been working to step up our game on the platforms where we’ve been active — and where we’ve seen you. That includes our Facebook page; our LinkedIn page; our unlisted alumni LinkedIn group; our Instagram account; and our Twitter feed. We’ve even posted more videos on our YouTube channel and we’ve recently begun an informal social media team at The Consortium to help with our engagement on those platforms.

At the same time, 50 percent of respondents said “email outreach” and 40 percent said “newsletter” when asked about ways they’d like to engage with The Consortium. As it happens, we began an email newsletter for alumni just days before the survey went out.

The first Alumni Focus newsletter launched on Nov. 2 and goes out in the early evening on the first Sunday of every month. It includes profiles of alumni, donors, and students, as well as frequent features about the rich history of The Consortium or organization news. Here’s a link to the most recent edition, which went out on Sept. 4. If you’re not getting the newsletter, please let Jeff Farris know. You can find his contact information on the staff page.

Small Sample

While we did take much of the feedback from the survey to heart, we must note that the response to the Consortium alumni survey was relatively small. Less than 5 percent of recipients responded to the survey. The ones who did were heavily skewed toward the most recent classes.

Fifty-one percent of responses were from the class of 2010 and later. Twenty-eight percent were from the classes between 2000 and 2009. The other 21 percent were pre-2000 classes.

Alumni from one school accounted for 34 responses. One school among our 18 was not represented among alumni responses.

PICTURED ABOVE: Networking opportunities were among the highest priority for respondents to the 2015 Consortium alumni survey. Students networking at the corporate receptions during the 50th annual Orientation Program & Career Forum in St. Louis in June 2016.