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Career Clubs

Mac Downtown Club – Saint Paul, MN

Macalester alumni are part of a special group of motivated, innovative, creative and socially-conscious individuals who span the globe and occupy special niches in every conceivable career. We learned to merge the creative with the intellectual. We have started businesses, excelled at corporations, invented with abandon, written our truths and walked pathways that few, if any, have ventured. We are connected because we have shared that special bond of the Macalester experience. Why not continue our shared connection through Macalester Career Clubs?

What are Macalester Career Clubs?

Macalester Career Clubs are organic “get togethers” or “clubs” which meet to promote, advance or assist in career exploration and connections, for all alumni of all ages and graduation dates. The intent is to engage alumni with common career interests, so that we help each other find the next level of career advancement, change or redirection. We wish to keep our bonds strong. At Macalester, the need to help is a primary driver…let’s help each other as well. The Career Clubs also serve as a reserve for Macalester; they do not work directly with current students, but they may also provide “the well” from which vital resources arise (internships, employment, technical advice and applications of a major). The Career Clubs may be created using a variety of formats and platforms, as will be explained herein. The goal is to gather around specific majors, fields of work, company or career emphasis or other common career connections, to promote and amplify our presence and assist in others in reaching personal goals.

Who Creates Macalester Career Clubs?

YOU DO! All alumni are invited to start a club. Macalester staff will help you in your quest for alumni names, emails, connections, common careers, etc. There is no set format for your Career Club, but ideas are provided in this Toolkit.

Why Create a Career Club?

For You
You may wish to reconnect with Macalester to assist your own career goals or explore those of your colleagues. How did others weave their major, interests and passions into a successful career? Is someone from the Macalester community looking for someone like you to advance their company or is there someone who needs your talents? Is your Career Club a good place to vet some questions about your newest venture or are there potential clients in the mix? Career clubs help everyone.

For the Broader Alumni Community
Have you wanted to be a community leader or volunteer with Mac, and didn’t know where to begin? Start with your Mac family and bring together “like-minded souls” for a better good. We, together, can help each other navigate shifting careers, while exploring new options. Be the agent of change and help others help themselves through connections. 

For Macalester
Career Clubs may serve as resources for current Macalester students, faculty and staff. Macalester alumni can reconnect with each other or re-energize/expand their career opportunities in a safe, like-minded environment. Likewise, Macalester commits to helping you with resources in order to conduct successful Clubs.

How to Use This Toolkit

This Toolkit offers options from which you can choose, from potential cohorts to platforms. Simply take a look at the wide variety of suggestions and match them with your interests, your goals for the Club, your career focus, your major at Mac or your preference in Club format. A successful Career Club should fit your personal style, in the format most comfortable for you. Typically, clubs will require from 5 – 10 hours per month for research, set-up, execution and follow-up.

Career Club Affinity Group Ideas

Career Clubs may leverage the wide array of professional pursuits which originated in Macalester classes and majors. Macalester staff is ready and willing to help you connect with those known graduates who may have common interests and career paths, or have bridged from traditional paths into new ventures. In general, Career Clubs may be coalesced around the following broad topical areas, and further refined based on location, specific industry or emphasis, or other criteria which help to bring together alumni with common interests, goals and approaches to success. These may include:

  • Academic/Educational/Technology or Science-based Careers
  • Community-Service Based Careers
  • Media and Publishing Based Careers
  • Government Based Careers
  • Not-for-Profit Based Careers
  • “From Hobby to Career” Pathway – Entrepreneurial
  • Business/Marketing/Sales-Based Careers

Within each broad category, there may be occasion to refine the group further, or expand the group, as many careers are synergistic and opportunities for cross-pollination are excellent bridges to new and exciting career openings, i.e.:

  • Women in (select field)
  • Technology and Robotics
  • Renewable Energy
  • Health Care
  • Etc.

Career Clubs may have roots in a particular major, a favorite professor or impactful internship. The point is to bring together those with common interests, who wish to share and form a resource community. It doesn’t need to be “perfect” – the point is to initiate dialog and become an idea-generating body of complimentary individuals. 

As coordinator for your Career Club, you may choose to engage alumni from all class years, from younger graduates (1 – 10 years removed), from mid-career years (11 – 25 years), or experienced professionals (26 – 40 years). There may be additional opportunities for those who have retired and are beginning a second productive career, in a completely different field of interest. The aim of the Career Clubs is to effectively engage those with similar interests, with the intent of leveraging the knowledge of the entire group. Ideas, concepts, pathways and opportunities may be explored between like-minded colleagues, with the aim of helping each other.

Career Club Venues

There are a wide variety of venues and formats which make a successful Career Club. Based upon the career, major or field of interest, members are motivated to join through an array of formats. Some decision points may be the following:

  • Will your Career Club be for those living locally only?
  • Can you or do you wish to use a virtual format for further outreach?
  • Will your Career Club be centered around a social setting (bar, restaurant, etc.) or will you meet virtually, with break out groups? What other formats interest you?
  • Will your Career Club focus on Macalester alumni within one company of interest (i.e., 3M) or does it span a variety of synergistic companies?
  • Do you wish your outreach to be local, statewide, national or even international?
  • Will the format be loose (informal, conversational) or structured (presentations, panel discussions, guest speakers)?
  • Will you have goals for your club or is it mostly free-form?
  • How often do you wish to meet?
  • What will attract new members and retain others over time?
  • How much time do I have to devote to this effort?
  • What help do you need of Macalester?

Brainstorming and formulating your “ideal” Career Club may take thought, and Macalester is here to help. Some interesting concepts are the following:

  • Virtual meetings, with breakout rooms based on specific interests or knowledge exchange, round-robin style
  • Meetings at member company offices, for formal presentation and exchange of ideas on topics at hand
  • Roundtables (virtual or in person) based upon a topic or developments within a business sector 
  • Informal meetings at a local establishment, with embedded games, icebreakers or methods of information exchange
  • Meetings (virtual or in person) to “work on a project together”…both social and structured
  • An educational meeting, where a speaker or panel lead a discussion and dialog is encouraged
  • Mixed

Tips and Tricks for Career Club Success

There are as many ways to reconnect with Macalester alumni as there are interests within our common community. The following are suggestions for successful Career Club development:

  • Make sure you have a goal for your club, albeit simple. A simple goal with a simple message is a great start to gathering the clan. Why does the group stay together?
  • Investigate your resources and options…and compare them against your time. Maybe initiate a club over the period of 2 years only, with meetings 3-4 times a year.
  • Leverage the talents and data from Macalester.
  • Meetings can be free or activity-fee based. 
  • Match your club to the most appealing format for your group (do they like to listen to presentations or do they simply want to connect with each other?)
  • Plan your meetings, MAKE them fun and engaging, and listen to the needs of Club members. As a group, they may wish to change the direction of the Club or focus on other aspects of their career journey, or seek additional methods for information gathering. 
  • Be patient. Clubs take time to cultivate. Leverage your group and become their reliable connection to Macalester.

The Engagement Team is Here to Help

  • Once you have the dates, times, and locations confirmed, reach out to the Alumni Engagement office and share your event details.
  • Please submit your event details at least SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS ahead of the event date. This allows enough time for our team to coordinate communications and effectively promote your event in your area
  • Please complete this event form. An Engagement staff member will be in contact with you regarding your event and provide back end support for communications, registration and promotion.
  • The Alumni Engagement office can assist in sending the invitation to the audience you have identified and share the event details on the college events calendar and other social media networks as desired.
  • If your event is in-person, you will receive a packet for the event containing blank nametags, a sign-in sheet and Mac swag to help brand your event.
  • After your event, be sure to send us the list of attendees and a photo! The Alumni Engagement office can send thank you emails to attendees and obtain feedback on the event.

Contact the Alumni Engagement Office to Get Started

Ready to set your plans in motion but have questions or need assistance?
Contact Rebecca Kline ’18 at [email protected].