The official CBS alumni network boasts 22,000 members. Alongside, many smaller alumni networks have been started and are run by CBS lecturers or alumni. Some are country specific; some are topic specific.
One of the newest examples of the latter is the alumni network for cybersecurity founded by Jan Lemnitzer, Assistant Professor at the Department of Digitalization.
“To learn something new in cybersecurity, you often have to ask businesses about their flaws or failures. It can be very difficult to get people to talk about this if you meet them at a standard alumni network function. With a topic-specific network, we can share information with each other in a tightly knit community,” says Jan Lemnitzer.
Besides the need to share information, he also appreciates the opportunity to remain in contact with former students in the business. The new network has already helped some of his students find internships in the cybersecurity industry.
Networks enable alumni to give back to CBS
Opportunities for mentorships for current students and maintaining connections with former students are some of the reasons Anna Patricia Dencker mentions when explaining why CBS makes a great effort to keep its alumni close.
As a relations manager, she works with the official alumni network.
“CBS alumni are a very important link to the ‘real world’ both in terms of recruiting mentors and guest lecturers. For alumni, it’s an opportunity to give something back to the university. In our experience, they are very proud of being CBS alumni and want to help current students,” she says.
The MBA alumni network, with 1,900 members, is one of the smaller alumni networks where this has worked exceptionally well.
As Maria Valentin Palgaard, Business Development Manager, with responsibility for the MBA Alumni network explains:
“Our alumni support the entire value chain so to speak: they are ambassadors and attract students, they participate in lessons, find speakers for lectures, are mentors and inspirational speakers, and provide important networking opportunities.”
The networks also offer alumni the opportunity to stay in touch with current research and post-graduate education.
Specialised network means more focused events
Even though a large official alumni network exists, Jan Lemnitzer feels that his network will still be relevant. He fears that messages about cybersecurity would drown in a larger forum and might not reach their intended audience.
Besides, he is looking forward to the specific alumni network hosting events on topics different from those of a business conference.
“One example is an event regarding the cyber war in Ukraine. At the first alumni meeting, we discovered that several of our guests would find it interesting to learn what is going on, and a forum like an alumni network is exactly the right place for that,” says Jan Lemnitzer.
For the alumni, the cybersecurity network represents an excellent way to connect with others in the business and meet up with old classmates. Alexander Schwaninger, Management Consultant at the consulting company Implement, attended the first meeting of the cybersecurity network.
“It’s nice to have a forum where new ideas and the latest developments in the field are presented,” he says.
He attended the first meeting on 6 October 2022 and described it as informal with a good mix of students and alumni.
The cybersecurity network plans to meet about once every quarter.