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Careers Service

Take an Alum for Coffee

This scheme enables students to contact and seek advice from alumni already working in the sectors, industries or roles that they may be interested in pursuing. You can either literally ‘take an alum for coffee’ at a mutually convenient location, or you can meet with an alum virtually (e.g. over Skype).

Guidelines

Take an Alum for Coffee is a collaborative project developed by the Careers Service and Alumni Relations at SOAS. Its overarching purpose is to facilitate meetings between current SOAS students and SOAS alumni. This document sets out guidelines on how the student/alumni relationship could work. However, it is recognised that the individuals involved may, by mutual consent, adapt their relationship to suit their particular needs.

Objectives
  • to enrich the experience of the learning/research process for SOAS students who are gathering careers-related information
  • to enable alumni to offer their expertise, information and advice to current SOAS students
  • to increase awareness of effective employability strategies in current SOAS students
  • to encourage the sharing of good practice and learning across the SOAS community
Who can take part in this Scheme?

In principle, any current SOAS student, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, can take part in this scheme.

How does it work?

Students register their interest in meeting alumni with the Careers Service. You’ll be asked to complete the online registration form and we will do the research for you. A member of the careers team will be in touch within 10 working days with the contact details of up to 3 appropriate alumni who ‘match’ your interests. It is then your responsibility to get in touch with them. We recommend that students email their contact/s in the first instance and wait for a response. Once contact is established, it is up to the student/alumni to decide how to take that forward. Whatever suits both parties is best – that might involve email, phone, Skype, or face-to-face meetings. You’ll need to agree with your Alum how often you can contact them and over what period of time – remember, our alumni are in busy jobs and may have only limited time.

Top tips for a successful relationship with alumni
  • agree ground rules (i.e. how often you can call or meet; certain times of day when NOT to call; alumni may prefer email contact only, so that must be respected; if/when alumni want/need the relationship to come to an end, you must abide by their wishes)
  • clarify from the outset what you’d like to get from the relationship
  • try to arm yourself with a list of questions prior to each contact to ensure that you use your time effectively (if you’re unsure, the Careers Service can help you with that)
  • if your objectives have been met, the arrangement either comes to an end or a new set of objectives may be drawn up check that the arrangement is working – if not, either
    you or the Alum may need to decide whether you/they wish to continue with the arrangement.

For further details, please email us on careers@soas.ac.uk.