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In Spring 2015, Lisa Corcoran at Cardiff Metropolitan University ran a focus group consisting of four sets of bright-eyed students from across a range of years and degree disciplines.

They were asked for their thoughts on eMentoring (as demonstrated via our Aluminate platform) and we are delighted that their experience and feedback was consistently positive with resounding approval throughout the group.

The Alumni Office stated that, “

[it was a] unanimous yes! Every student who took part in the focus group was positive about eMentoring and could see the benefits of it”.

The overall conclusions were that an eMentoring system provided the ability to access a wealth of contacts from various backgrounds. Also appreciated were its international reach and the ability to search and match on location, as well as the easy accessibility of additional opportunities and advice from alumni.

It was clear from the focus group that an eMentoring platform must have a professional, clear and easy-to-use interface and intuitive user experience. Overall they felt it offered a real benefit in helping students and alumni, and really encouraged them to network.

Interestingly, the general consensus was that the platform offered an advantage over networking events and contacting companies directly, especially for less outgoing and confident personalities, making it quick and easy to approach relevant and useful connections who were already willing to offer opportunities, work experience and advice.

The focus group did however highlight the importance of internal departments promoting any eMentoring service.

7 eMentoring Marketing Tips Learned from Student Focus Groups

1. You must have appropriate advertising and promotion through a variety of channels, including social media, email communications, letters, alumni events and careers fairs.

2. Include the service in your list of alumni benefits on your institution’s website and marketing collateral in order to obtain a good spread of alumni mentors.

3. Targeted communications are essential – students from particular departments or subjects will respond to mentors relevant to those subjects. A poster in Engineering must promote an interesting engineering mentor – likewise a Law department should showcase a top solicitor or barrister.

4. Timing is key. Drive awareness of the service at key times throughout the year e.g. when people may begin to think about applying for internships, at the beginning of the year, before exam revision periods and after graduation. Think how this changes for second and final year students.

5. Involve your Careers department and run a student training session/lecture to create awareness of the platform and how it can be used before and after graduation.

6. Partner with lecturing staff to promote the platform after lectures.

7. Constantly and systematically gather success stories – these are the heart of your future campaigns.

Many thanks to the Alumni Office at Cardiff Metropolitan University for their research efforts and obtaining this useful and highly encouraging verdict!

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