In science, job changes are part of one’s career. BAM founded an alumni network in September 2017 to facilitate networking with its former staff. The idea behind setting up the network is for former employees to be able to become advisors, cooperation partners and supporters of BAM. In return, BAM creates numerous networking and information options for the alumni. The network is aimed at anyone who has carried out research, completed their Ph.D. at BAM or supported scientific work through their activity.
At BAM, contact with former employees is the management’s responsibility. In founding the Alumni Network, BAM President Prof. Ulrich Panne emphasised: "We intend to use the newly founded Alumni Network to provide the impetus for innovative research". There is great interest in the network, especially among young scientists who leave BAM after having successfully completed their Ph.D. "To prove themselves and gain experience in another environment is an important career step," explains Venio Quinque, head of Corporate Communications and Alumni Network Coordinator.
BAM can also benefit from the career steps of its former employees as the alumni are ideal initial contact points for professional exchange and cooperation. This is exactly where the newly founded alumni network comes in: "If we qualify young people, it's a logical next step to stay in touch with them when they work at other research institutions or companies," says Quinque.
The time was ripe: founding impulses from several directions
There were several initiatives to launch an alumni network. "The working group of Ph.D. students was looking for a platform to make sure that the contacts between the young scientists and BAM do not break off," says Quinque. The staff of the divisions also maintain contacts and seek professional exchange with the alumni. "The idea of an alumni network has been on the agenda in many discussions for some time," says Quinque. Not only does the network create identity, it also presents a picture of BAM´s capabilities and qualities to the world. "This is how alumni become supporters for BAM’s work," explains Quinque.
Alumni meeting in BAM: meet old acquaintances, start new collaborations
The alumni meetings take place annually. The experiences of the first events show that they are welcome occasions for the participants to visit the "old workplace". The alumni find it easy to establish links to today´s young scientists as the alumni meetings are linked to BAM's "Ph.D. Days".
In addition to sufficient time for networking, the alumni meetings offer more: "We want to offer interesting events, for example on the topic of start-ups, in which ideas and information are exchanged," explains Quinque.
Personal contacts facilitate cooperation
In addition to the annual meetings, the alumni network offers its members further information and networking opportunities. Alumni can attend presentations, workshops and events on a regular basis and exchange ideas directly with BAM staff. "The network will not only facilitate collaborations with industry or other research institutions but also expand their thematic scope," says Quinque. The reason is that many young scientists continue to work in the fields of research that BAM is dealing with after changing their jobs.
To start a cooperation, it is a great advantage if future partners know each other and thus know in advance which skills they can contribute in each case. "Science is ultimately a 'people's business' despite the sometimes very specific issues," adds Quinque.
This can lead to alumni becoming new colleagues again: "For us, alumni are also a pool of highly qualified potential employees who, after their station in industry or another research institution, may wish to continue their scientific career at BAM."
This is how the alumni network becomes a real career grid.