Networking. It’s like cilantro; you love it or hate it. Very few are in the middle. For students, the idea of networking is often new coming into college. Because networking is so important in the jobs race students know that somewhere along their college career someone will teach them about networking. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of jobs are found through networking. At the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship we take it a step beyond job placement by teaching our students that building a network is an important step for founders or anyone who wants to become part of the startup ecosystem.
In fact, Dingman Center Managing Director Elana Fine tells students: “Never underestimate the power of your network. Making connections with people will have the highest ROI of anything you do.”
In November, the Dingman Center brought Wayne Kimmel, UMD alumnus and Managing Partner of SeventySix Capital, back to campus to speak with student entrepreneurs about the importance of building a network. He offered the following tips:
Networking is crucial. Even if you own an online business, you have to build relationships, so get off the couch! You also don’t need to wait for an invitation. If there is somewhere you want to go that presents an opportunity for you to network, GO.
Go to places where business people spend time. Modern technology allows you to easily figure out where people are, so there’s no reason why you can’t find them and talk to them. Over time, you’ll build relationships with the people you see at these places.
Once you get into an event, you have to work the room. Always have a business card ready. It’s a natural ice breaker.
Wear a name tag and always put it on the right side. When you shake someone’s hand, they’ll immediately see your name.
Give back. Networking is a two-way street. If you help make connections for others, they’ll help make connections for you. Keep up with your contacts, send congratulations on their successes, and be helpful when you can. It comes back around.
Say thank you! Time is precious. Be appreciative to those who take time to meet with you, talk with you at a networking event and make the connections that matter.
Collaborate provides a great opportunity for students to start networking with the local startup community. Members of the Dingman Center community can get a discount with our code: DINGMANCOLLAB. Whether looking for advisors, an opportunity at a startup, or potential clients, getting connected is an important first step.
About the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship
The Dingman Center has been at the forefront of entrepreneurship education and practice for more than 25 years. The center’s primary activities include helping students build their ventures, creating experiential learning opportunities and providing regional entrepreneurs with access to capital. Within the region, the center operates Dingman Center Angels, the area’s most active angel investor network with more than 40 members and 50 companies funded since 2005. In 2014, the Dingman Center received the prestigious NASDAQ Center of Entrepreneurial Excellence Award from the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers. See More Here