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Why Networking Is so Important in College

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mich chapter.

While one would think that us studious students at the University of Michigan would be stressing about our finals, (that begin in two weeks wow) the campus is stressing about something else. Internships. Because what internship you get after sophomore year controls which internships you get after, and senior year which dictates which job you get after graduation. Scary stuff.

Through the process of seeing my little who is a freshman, my friends who are sophomores, and my friends who are upperclassmen all apply for internships, some with better luck than others, I have picked up on some trends.

Most importantly, the importance of connections. No matter if you are going into finance, PR, environmental science, or political lobbying.

My friend, who just accepted a position as one of 30 risk analyst interns at an insurance company was told during her first of three interviews that every single one of their interns for the prior summer got the job through a connection. She also received this opportunity through a recommendation from an employee at the firm.

I am currently enrolled in a psychology class about professional development if you have an undergraduate degree in psychology. One of the major assignments for the class was conducting an informational interview with a professional who has an undergraduate degree in psychology and writing a paper about it. After completing the interview, we had to give a three-minute presentation to the class about what we learned. While most of those responses were about how to prepare for an informational interview or whether or not they wanted to go into the field that the said professional was in, one student discussed how he learned how much easier it is to network when you are a student.

While for this assignment I interviewed my friend’s older sister, who is a recent Michigan grad, this student decided to use it as a way to build his network. He went on LinkedIn and looked up companies he found interesting, then made a specialized search for people who went to Michigan and received a degree in psychology. After a few emails, he got to conduct an informational interview, and even make a connection with an employee at the NFL.

He told the class how the lady said she got lots of emails from Michigan grads about making connections, but she only ever responded to students.

Not only are professionals more likely to talk to you when you are a student, but there are opportunities handed to you that give you the ability to network.

I actually learned this firsthand the other day when I went to a panel consisting of 10 University of Michigan International Studies alumni followed by a networking session. Every single alumni said that if we reached out to them on LinkedIn they would be happy to talk to us.

Well on that note, I’m going off to LinkedIn to make more connections in the two years I have left in college.




Images courtesy of teamlewis.com and themuse.com