Monday Motivation: Unofficial Ambassadors of Goodwill!

I often wonder whether a student’s journey with his/her education institution ends when he/she passes out of its portals? When I see the alumni network of some of the Ivy Leagues such as the Harvard University and the London Business School, I’m surprised to see how well the alumni are connected and engaged with their Alma mater!

Symbiosis also has a great alumni network, not only of alumni from our business schools but even alumni from our Symbiosis Primary and Secondary Schools who are equally connected and active. With the vast number of institutions that Symbiosis has, these alumni networks were limited to respective institutions. SIBM has its own network and likewise SCMHRD and other B schools of Symbiosis. However, I felt that we needed a common Symbiosis Alumni Network which cuts across all our institutions. We did that by establishing the Symbiosis Centre for Alumni engagement.

Symbiosis’ motto Vasudhaiva Kutmbakam, has always inspired me and thus guided by it we decided to bring together the alumni together based on the world-regions they reside in. We undertook the herculean task of connecting alumni who had been in Symbiosis even as early as 1971. The fact that our alumni are spread all over the globe makes us proud but made the task of bringing them together, equally challenging. You may realize the enormity of the task when I tell you that in the Gulf region we have alumni from the countries of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and Iran. From APAC we have alumni in Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Nepal et al. In Europe we have alumni in UK, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Spain et al and Africa the countries of Burundi, Mali, Congo, Cameron, Kenya, Egypt and many more and we have a very strong base of alumni even in USA and Canada.  In India, of course we have the largest numbers spread across different states.

In our continuous effort to remain connected with our Symbiosis Alumni we utilize the power of digital platforms and technology. We connect through our internal alumni portal, Social media platforms (LinkedIn, Instagram, FB, Tweeter) and messaging platforms (WhatsApp and Telegram). We formed alumni groups based on geography on WhatsApp and telegram so besides being connected to their Alma mater the alumni from our different institutes, living in same time zones can interact with each other too.  Based on profession, industry verticals, we have created special interest groups as well. Besides the Social media, messaging and web portal platforms, we also consistently communicate with alumni through virtual or in-person meets to understand their suggestions and align out short and long-term goal of the initiatives.

These groups and digital channels of engagement have opened a new world of opportunities for not only our alumni, but also for our students as these alumni teach and also mentor our students. The alumni are socially connected as well and so if an alumnus travelling to a particular region just posts on the group for any help or for meeting over a cup-a-tea there are so many who respond and offer help! The senior entrepreneurs, investors share their experiences with the blooming ones.

We run “WoW Wednesday” Series for our alumni wherein their achievements are published on various platforms to motivate fellow alumni and students. The “Throwback Thursday” are a place where alumni post about the past and rejuvenate their memories.

During the pandemic the alumni helped in setting up COVID specific centres through their individual or CSR endowments. They also have constituted gold medals for their fellow alumni for the encouragement.

In the future we look forward to creating a platform – “Symbiosis Alumni lecture Series” for mentoring and coaching fellow alumni and our present students.

We recently had the Symbiosis Alumni meet in Dubai and I was pleased to meet and interact with them and felt proud about their success stories. These alumni want to establish a Symbiosis Alumni Chapter in Dubai and likewise the Singapore Alumni have also shown interest. Thus, I would say that alumni are the true ambassadors of goodwill.

I hope to see the Symbiosis alumni network growing and spreading across the world and contributing to our motto of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – the world is one family!