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KGI Connected Platform Provides Value in Networking for Students

Get Connected on KGI Connected

When Faizan Ansari needed advice about preparing for internship interviews, he initially turned to the professional networking site LinkedIn. When that produced no response, the first-year student in the Master of Business and Science (MBS) program tried KGI Connected, a new platform specifically for Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) students, alumni, faculty, staff, and trustees. This time, he found answers.

“The response was so prompt and helpful, whether to schedule a meeting or a phone call,” says Ansari, who contacted more than 15 KGI graduates to review his résumé and share information about the business development function and effective strategies to obtain a position at their companies. “They gave me good insights about the job function and a much clearer idea of what goes on in their companies. I wouldn’t have been as well prepared if I hadn’t consulted the alumni.”

That’s exactly the kind of positive outcome Christa Oudshoorn-Hobo, KGI’s alumni engagement manager, had hoped for when she launched KGI Connected last fall. Since then, KGI Connected has attracted 436 users, including 215 alumni and 165 students.

“It’s like LinkedIn on steroids, but only for the KGI community,” says Oudshoorn-Hobo. “It’s not simply an alumni directory. It’s a place for alumni to find each other, for people to find jobs and mentors, and to sign up for events. There are news and discussion boards. Students and alumni can find long-term mentors or get short-term ‘flash mentoring.’ The platform also offers great tools, tips, and resources, such as a mentorship game plan, and many of our webinars and industry talks have been recorded there.”

Ankit Lodha, MBS ’13, has been on the receiving end of requests like those Ansari made to alumni. The analytics operations lead for Amgen has responded to students looking for course recommendations and mentorship. He says, “It was the most seamless platform I’d ever seen. I found it very good that I had the ability to control the interactions and could set up meetings through the tool.”

Lodha has discovered several other benefits to KGI Connected. For example, he has returned to KGI several times as a guest speaker and notes, “The beauty of KGI Connected is that all the talks I’ve done sit on this platform, so if people couldn’t attend, they can still see them.”

He also values the networking opportunities KGI Connected makes possible. Lodha explains, “My buddy at Amgen is looking for summer interns and drafting a job description to post on KGI Connected. And I want to connect with alumni who graduated before me. I also met a KGI board member but didn’t have his contact information. Now I can connect with him directly through this tool.”

For Assistant Professor of Strategy and International Business Jay Chok, KGI Connected made it easier for his students to interview industry opinion leaders as part of their Team Master’s Project (TMP) investigating how big data can transform an organization. Using KGI Connected, the students were able to obtain insights from alumni who had recently come to the campus to participate in a “Focus Friday” panel for Business of Bioscience majors.

“Before, I would have been their connection. Now they can go on KGI Connected,” says Chok, who views the platform not only as providing professional network, but also helpful feedback and advice about such issues as work-life balance and immigration and visas for international students.

All of their experiences affirm Oudshoorn-Hobo’s belief that KGI Connected is the right tool for the community it serves. She says, “There are other systems, but they are limited in what they can do. Students would ask me all the time whether I could connect them to alumni. KGI Connected streamlines this by empowering students and alumni to help themselves.”