10 Best Alumni Networks
The alumni networks that have been the most successful at driving engagement, strengthening relationships and providing the most value for their alumni.
Running a corporate alumni network allows your company to leverage lifelong relationships and make an investment in employee growth and development in today’s challenging labour market.
Employees are not looking to stay at one company forever. They're looking for opportunities that will support them in their career journey and future endeavors. What a corporate alumni network offers is the promise of continued lifelong career guidance. If an organization shows they value their alumni, it means they are more likely to value employees and offer more in way of opportunities.
So, whilst the paycheck is important, employees aren't just in it for the money. They’re looking for a place to build a foundation for their career. The best alumni networks have succeeded by continuing to drive career services for ex-employees. For many organizations, how they manage their Alumni is now part of a company's total workforce strategy.
Why Do Organizations Invest in a Corporate Alumni Program?
Alumni programs allow you to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with former employees who may someday provide significant value again, providing you with an excuse to remain in contact.
Once your alumni community is up and running, you have a huge audience of potential customers, professionals for trusted referrals and business opportunities, and a large talent pool that can potentially generate boomerang hires.
While the primary reason organizations develop alumni programs is frequently recruiting-related, lots of research demonstrates that investing in corporate alumni programs increases the sales lead generation and deal closing capabilities of the organization.
Making A Great Alumni Network
In compiling a list of the 10 best alumni networks, a number of factors were considered. The volume of recruits that return to the organization is a great reflection of the culture, but that alone does not give the full picture. We take into account the number of new business opportunities generated, the mentorship and collaborative programs or learning opportunities offered and how engaged the alumni community is.
We spoke to a number of individual alumni and employees of various organizations that take part in our annual surveys to identify the key strategies used to drive alumni engagement. You can check out our whitepaper The Business Case for an Alumni Program for more insights.
Top 10 Corporate Alumni Networks
- Bird & Bird
- Marks and Spencer
- Northwell Health
- Activision Blizzard King
1. BlackRock Alumni Network
19,800 Employees | World's leading providers of investment, advisory and risk management solutions
The BlackRock Alumni Network, otherwise known as #OneBlackRock community, is a unique opportunity for former and current BlackRock employees to connect. The platform promotes the value of connecting with others in your profession, networking and learning opportunities between the BlackRock generations. As an organization, BlackRock advocate a community of smart, ambitious and diverse people. Their alumni network unites past and present employees, so knowledge can be passed down and shared between alumni and employees.
2. PwC Alumni: Your Network for Life
328,000 Employees | The second largest professional services network globally and a Big Four accounting firm.
The PwC alumni community, otherwise known as #YourNetworkForLife, promotes building and maintaining lifelong connections throughout your career. With 52 alumni networks spread out and connecting people around the globe, PwC alumni are a diverse group of talented individuals that create friendships, relationships and opportunity. A highlight of the PwC network are their alumni stories, where they engage alumni by publishing stories of what alumni have accomplished after their time at PwC.
3. McKinsey Alumni Center
38,000 Employees | Global management consulting firm, advisor to governments and leading businesses.
The McKinsey Alumni Center is built to support McKinsey Alumni in their future careers, growth and development. Their alumni platform is a part of the business model: if you work at McKinsey you will be a part of their firm for life, even after you have moved on. They feature as one of the best alumni networks due to the high investment in their alumni, which they use as a selling point when hiring.
Their alumni network offers a multitude of events, learning opportunities and business opportunities by way of referrals. Events can include dinners, retreats, talks by industry experts and more. They run series such as 'Alumni Voices' where alumni can speak out about their current business or area of interest and make sure to mention alumni successes.
4. EY Alumni
365,399 Employees | One of the largest professional services in the world and a Big Four accounting firm.
Boasting over 1,000,000 members, the EY alumni network spans across 156 countries and their respective languages. In their own words, "EY’s alumni network is poised to connect you to more of the people you need to know", showing the foundation of their network is to build connections and relationships within their community. Their alumni have gone on to work in government, academia or do great things in business or entrepreneurship and they encourage the connections made from EY to continue for life.
Their alumni network is also a source for professional resources and industry insights that EY are happy to provide their alumni with, to support them in their future careers and keep them in the loop on industry knowledge.
5. Bird & Bird
3000+ Employees | International Law Firm founded in London with over 30 offices in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
The Bird & Bird Alumni program, otherwise known as two birds alumni, has just celebrated 5 years of their thriving network. What stands out the most about this program is how they have successfully built a close and engaged alumni community that is spread across the globe. With alumni in 33 countries and initiatives and events carried out to engage Bird & Bird alumni in all of them, not only are they seeing extreme success through referrals and new business, their employer brand and company reputation is flourishing from the good word of past employees.
What Bird & Bird program leaders found was that the more events and activities they ran for alumni, the more suport alumni offered to the firm as well as former colleagues. They have alumni reaching out them stating how supported they felt in their careers after leaving 'the birds nest', and one such alumnus talked about previous colleagues referring her new business when she was getting her own law practice off the ground. We recently hosted the Bird & Bird alumni team for a webinar, which we invite you to watch.
6. Marks and Spencer: Then, Now & Always
72,316 Employees | Global British retailer bringing quality food, clothing and homeware to millions of customers.
The Marks and Spencer Alumni network, otherwise known as the M&S Family, is built on the foundation that working at M&S brings you into a community for life. Every employee has an impact on the brand and its reputation and the alumni network is for M&S to say thank you for the time their employees dedicated to the company.
If you worked at M&S in the past they want you to stay in touch, keep purchasing from their stores and never forget the fond memories you had working there. They do this through offering alumni great benefits and awards on the M&S Mobile App "Sparks", contributing to their former employees futures through rehiring drives on their alumni platform to fill seasonal roles, and through career fairs, learning or networking events and webinars.
7. Chalhoub Group Alumni
14,000 Employees | Partner and creator of luxury retail experiences in the Middle East with 8 owned brands and over 300 international brands.
The Chalhoub Group Alumni Program is open to employees who spent two years or longer working under Chalhoub Group or one of its partnering brands. The luxury retailer have made it a priority to keep former employees engaged and have rolled out a stream of benefits for their alumni after they have joined the platform.
Not only do their alumni get to stay in touch and stay connected with a massive global network, they unlock discounts of up to 25% off at Chalhoub stores, get full access to the Digital Library on the Chalhoub University platform, take part in 'The Greenhouse' a knowledge sharing spot for start ups, and receive updates on personalized career opportunities.
8. LinkedIn Alumni Network
19,500 Employees | The world's largest professional digital network.
The co-founder and Chairman of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman co-authored The Alliance, a book about how the expected lifespan of relationships between employees and employers will decrease significantly. As part of a new model of thinking, LinkedIn decided to invest in their alumni and get to work building relationships that are destined to last a lifetime.
This shift in thought meant that LinkedIn did not ask employees to commit to them for a lifetime, but rather asked how they can support getting them where they want to go. The understanding of LinkedIn of how much they can help their alumni - and how much they know their alumni can help them - are the foundations to a strong healthy alumni community. An example of this is seen in their events, where they give alumni from all over the world the chance to network and build meaningful relationships.
9. Northwell Health Alumni Network
81,000 employees | New York's largest healthcare provider with clinical care, community health, education, research and entrepreneurship.
The Northwell Health Alumni Network is one we're very excited about. Reaching 1,000 sign ups in record time, this newly launched platform created an engaged and empowered network for its former employees. Starting with a launch event that included the most important Northwell figures, including the CEO and CHRO, showed that Northwell Health really do care about the success of their former employees.
Their platform now offers fantastic advice and support for people throughout all stages of their career, a highly engaged community of healthcare professionals, and a long list of alumni events and meetups. In return Northwell Health has seen high engagement in boomerang hires and job interests.
10. Activision Blizzard King Alumni Network
17,000 Employees | Leading developer, publisher, and distributor of video games worldwide, namely Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush.
The Activision Blizzard King Alumni Network put every other network to shame with their thrilling narrative, authentic voice and fun engaged community. Naming their alumni 'heroes' in theme with the gaming narrative, they keep their alumni engaged through their fun storytelling techniques and events. Visit their alumni network to take a peek at their compelling sign-up video (and make sure to take notes).
What is an Alumni?
The new definition of 'Alumni' is “anyone who has had an affiliation of some form with an organization". The term organization has been expanded to include corporates, non-profits or educational organizations. The term "affiliation" includes anyone from part-time, full-time, seasonal or freelance workers.
There are many reasons for investing in an alumni network that will rival these top 10 and provide you with lifelong relationships with former employees. A couple of tips we have for you in creating the kind of network that compares with these are: firstly, to focus on the community values and let the benefits roll in later; secondly, to consider carefully what platform you use to engage with your alumni and whether it is optimized for you to create one of these networks that holds value.
For more tips on how to run a successful alumni platform, check out our guide.