A new app for the Jindal School of Management makes it simple to network, gain work experience and receive guidance from alumni in the business world.
In February 2017, the Jindal School’s Development and Alumni Relations organization collaborated with their service provider to build a school-wide engagement platform. With the tag line “Wisdom. Offer guidance. Build a career,” JindalConnect utilizes Facebook and LinkedIn to facilitate the interaction and connection of students with Jindal alumni.
Assistant Dean of Development and Alumni Relations Erica Yaeger said the site allows students to find a group of alumni by industry, to find a mentor or job leads and to take advantage of the JSOM network.
“It also is a safe environment where they can ask job-related questions with guidance from those that have graduated from the Jindal School, but have had some experience under their belt in the real world,” she said.
Yaeger said students have connected with mentors via the platform, and alumni have used JindalConnect to post job opportunities. JSOM administration have also used it to promote their quarterly alumni networking events. As a result, attendance has increased and they’ve renamed these events “JindalConnect Live” to further build the platform.
Accounting junior Frances Beaflor created a JindalConnect account but has not yet connected with anyone on it. She said she prefers to use LinkedIn at this point because JindalConnect is intimidating for her.
“I’m curious to see how this website will grow in the future, but they need to advertise it and make it more navigable to garner (more) use and attention,” Beaflor said.
Jasmine Carter, director of alumni relations and the developer of JindalConnect, was part of the team that evolved JindalConnect from an idea into the diversified resource it is now.
“I did a lot of research … Since that point, I’ve been put on all of the marketing, pretty much spreading the word, getting alumni to sign up, getting students to sign up on the platform, getting faculty and staff to join the platform, a part of working with Graduway is the app itself is included in our package,” Carter said.
Out of 500 colleges and universities with platforms created by the software provider Graduway, Jindal was presented with “Best Marketing Campaign,” as well as a platinum certification, indicative of a highly engaging, highly active and functioning alumni platform.
“We are considered subject matter experts now with respect to this platform, how to engage alumni. We’ve basically achieved exactly what the product is supposed to do,” Carter said.
Since its launch on Feb. 14, Carter said JindalConnect has close to 5,000 alumni, students, staff, faculty and other resources that are considered friends of UTD. Graduway said the exponential growth that JindalConnect has seen in such a short amount of time since its launch is unprecedented.
There is a directory of all alumni profiles on the system, allowing students to contact the alumni they’d be interested in having as a mentor. There are also options for student-to-student mentoring or mentoring between alumni.
Additionally, JindalConnect has an events calendar, photo albums of events, class groups, a Facebook-style update feed and a function called “groups” where users can be matched based on commonality.
“Going forward, Graduway is working to continuously improve the site,” Carter said. “I do know the platform will have a revamping in the next few months and it will change a little bit of the layout. They want to bring forward more of the engagement side while ensuring that the social aspect is still there, but kind of creating it in a way that we make sure mentoring is more prominent in the platform as well.”
Carter said she really wants to get the word out to JSOM students about the resources JindalConnect can provide them and, most importantly, she said she wishes that students would remember that the administration is here for them and wants to be a place where involvement opportunities are endless.