Increase networking in your organizations & colleges with easy coffee hours!
As graduate students, we are confined mainly to our departments, interacting primarily with those students in our labs and cohorts. While this allows us to build deep bonds with our current and future colleagues, our network can easily remain small. For part time and professional students, the network can be even smaller. Unlike the undergraduate culture, our work styles are not conducive to frequent opportunities to meet and interact with other students. Club participation and student group activities often don’t feel relevant to graduate students.
But you don’t need to stay in your lab bubble! One particularly interesting talk at WE18, given by Marlo Abramowitz of HDR, introduced a new model for easy networking. Marlo created a randomized coffee hour to encourage employees at her company to create more internal connections. All employees interested in participating in this networking program signed up through a link. Marlo then randomly assigned the participants in pairs. The pair was emailed and asked to set up their coffee meeting. This coffee hour is an easy way to network and build connections with both people you already know as well as those in other departments. In companies and organizations, the pairs could be lateral matches as well as matches containing people at different levels which could lead to potential mentor pairs. Marlo decided to set up these meetings approximately once a month, for a total of 8 months a year (no meetings during holiday and summer months).
Interested in meeting more graduate students at your university? Try setting up a similar program and let us know how it goes!