What do Donald Trump, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett have in common? They are all members of business school alumni networks, which claim to be some of the most influential business networking organizations in the world.
For MBA students, who you know can be as important as what you know. Building a powerful and responsive alumni network is one of the key selling points of a business master’s degree. In business school, students often learn as much from each other as they do from the professors. And when they graduate, alumni can be an invaluable store of advice, connections and contacts that help each other as they progress in their careers.
MBA alumni are generally split into chapters, regional and affinity groups across the world in a wide range of countries and cities and representing scores of nationalities and countries. They have access to extensive career services including real-time job postings, resume reviews and interview preparation.
The best MBA alumni networks may also provide access to executive coaching and lifelong learning in the form of discounts or entirely free executive courses. There are also discounts on publications, financial services, insurance and travel. More extensive still are the range of events, webinars, masterclasses, workshops and networking opportunities with alumni and senior business leaders. There are also vibrant social networks.
Some schools charge membership fees for access to their MBA alumni associations, but many alumni are happy to donate to their alma mater to support the next generation of business leaders.
The Stanford Graduate School of Business in California has the best alumni network for getting a job, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek poll exploring the quality, range and responsiveness of alumni networks. The school has a variety of global alumni communities, both online and in person, over 30,000 strong. There are 60 volunteer-led chapters across the world, including diversity chapters. Alumni also have access to lifelong learning and career resources. Many stay close by in Silicon Valley.View School Profile
Harvard Business School came second in Bloomberg’s poll. Students join a network of more than 80,000 alumni in over 160 countries, while also gaining access to discounts on programs and publications for continued professional development. There are more than 100 clubs that help alumni to network and grow in their careers. Some of the world’s most powerful businesspeople are members of the HBS network, including Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and the former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.View School Profile
Dartmouth Tuck is renowned for its powerful MBA alumni network, which is consistently ranked among the strongest and most engaged in the world. Students build lifelong connections in relatively small class sizes. The network numbers 10,700 globally with myriad international chapters, clubs and affinity groups. Alumni have access to career services and coaching.View School Profile
Henley Business School tops The Economist’s rankings of alumni networks. The school has 80,000 alumni spread across 160 countries, with scores of regional and global groups as well as vibrant social networks. MBA alumni enjoy a lifelong relationship with Henley and are granted access to networking events, webinars, masterclasses and workshops, both online and in person.View School Profile
The alumni network at INSEAD is extensive and diverse: there are 59,000 alumni in 175 countries with 166 nationalities. There are 49 national alumni associations that support members with a wide range of professional and social activities. Over 60 years, the INSEAD Alumni Association has played an important role in keeping alumni connected through career development and lifelong learning. INSEAD’s MBA alumni network are a supportive bunch, having clubbed together to drum up funding for prospective students who could not afford the tuition fees.View School Profile
The HEC Alumni association brings together 60,000 graduates from 152 countries, including 12,000 from outside France. The network represents more than 100 nationalities in 89 international chapters. HEC Alumni was founded in 1883, to support alumni throughout their career through networking, coaching, seminars and webinars. The school also hosts a prestigious annual alumni gala as well as 1,000 other events throughout the year in France and abroad. More than 1,200 alumni voluntarily donate to keep the association running, on top of membership fees.View School Profile
USC Marshall has among the largest alumni networks in the world, with 90,000 living members in more than 100 countries. The “Trojan Family”, as it is known, claims to be one of the most influential business networking organisations. MBA alumni have access to exclusive benefits such as career services and discounts on financial services, insurance and travel as well as executive education. MBA graduates automatically join the wider USC alumni network that numbers 437,000.View School Profile
Wharton has more than 99,000 alumni worldwide. Notable alumni include Donald Trump, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett. Alumni have access to events for professional development and networking with senior business leaders. MBA alumni also have access to lifelong career services such as resume review and interview preparation. Graduates also receive a 25 percent discount on more than 30 executive education programs in leadership, finance, marketing, strategy and innovation. MBA alumni from 2010 onwards can attend one program completely free.View School Profile
Berkeley Haas has some 40,000 living alumni worldwide, representing 81 countries and over 20,000 companies. Alumni are split into a wide range of chapters, regional and affinity groups in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. MBA alumni can access a wide range of professional resources including access to real-time job postings and lifelong coaching. They can also access lifelong learning, whether executive education courses or auditing the MBA program.View School Profile
Michigan Ross puts on hundreds of events each year to connect more than 52,000 alumni from 111 countries. There are also extensive career resources to help alumni change or accelerate their career, and lifelong learning in the form of full-tuition scholarships to executive education, and partial scholarships that can be gifted to colleagues.View School Profile