Focus on Networking
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Frank Leleu (EPITA 92), Consultant at ON-X and president of the Alumni Association at EPITA visited the school in mid-March to partake in the “Business Projects” week, aimed toward our 1st year Engineer students. He answered some questions concerning the function of networks in the workplace and the role of the alumni association of the school.
EPITA: How to build our network?
Frank Leleu: I had the opportunity through my journey to test the importance of networks. Indeed, Epitean from the class of 1992, I faced three major crisis during my 20 years career: the bursting of the dotcom bubble in 2000, the telecom crisis in 2002 and finally the more recent sub-prime. During these difficult times, I have enjoyed the support of colleagues, friends, and alumni like myself have evolved in the information and telecommunications sector.
During my speech I told the students that a network starts building very early and they needed forming strategies to expand it quickly. To this end, they have several tools: social networks like Viadeo, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, as well as the newspapers and the press, which are good sources of information on their courses, their initiatives, the alumni association, and last but not least – keeping their own relationships active.
E: What is the motto of the EPITA Alumni Association?
FL: EPITA is now a strong network of 5,400 alumni, operating in sectors as diverse as service companies in Information Technology (IT), software development, industry, banking, telecommunications, consulting, construction, distribution or broadcasting, to positions of higher and higher importance … The association’s role is to raise awareness among alumni and future young graduates of the importance of giving their time to the network. This is done mainly through the organization of thematic or technical events as well as playful and relationship building events, the main difficulty being bringing together peers from different cohorts and different specializations.
Organizing a poker night like the one that will take place on April 15, a workshop on molecular kitchen or high-tech meetings on subjects such as Social CRM (the introduction of social networks in the management of customer relationships), which interests many people, or boat trips driven by the sailing club are initiatives that respond quite effectively to these needs.
E: How would you develop the association?
FL: Several projects are under consideration or in development: improving the rate of visits on the Association website, creating forums that act as places of exchange and sharing, the establishment of a valid email address for life for all alumni, the new edition of the paper version of the alumni directory, founding a club for entrepreneurs and club for consulting. These projects are used to develop the pragmatism of current and former students, raise awareness to the problems posed by career management, encourage synergies between graduates of the school and effectively counteract the influence of the alumni networks of other schools.
<font face="But if the association is taking initiatives to develop links, it is also important that students realize that the network will bring them something if they themselves are making an effort to bring something to the network. There is no relationship possible in just one direction. They can perform this contribution in a variety of ways: interviews with veterans in the newsletter of the alumni for example, or writing papers on some useful topics that are not always in the forefront of business to raise awareness among professionals and so on. All kinds of innovative initiatives can be taken into consideration. I have the example of a student who has built a networking dinner for the department " A the of and before.