Most schools rely on company partnerships to help the institution financially healthy and to help students find internships and later, their first job after graduation. However, choosing which companies should sponsor the institution is not always easy. The good thing is, any company that fits one of the three criteria in this article should be a great company to target for your next partnership agreement!
Companies that need your students
Let’s start with the companies that will need the least effort convincing: those that already hire your students. They may have huge recruitment needs, or limited but regular ones, or be local companies that enjoy hiring people who know their geographical market. Finally, these companies (or nonprofits, or governmental institutions, or research labs…) are at the core of partnership agreements with highly-specialised schools.
There are two ways to know who they are. The first one comes from data you already have and focuses on internships. Where do your students do their in-company training? Do you see several of them going to one or two big groups, or maybe you hear about them at every internship period, when signing internship contracts? Gather the data from companies that use your job posting submission form, and look at the number of listings they post. The higher the number, the more likely they will become a partner.
The second way requires a little bit more research, as you will have to keep in touch with alumni the best you can. It works the same way, but for first jobs. Do your students get hired massively by one company? In that case, reach out to suggest making the partnership official and enabling them to receive even more qualified profiles from your institution. The same thing goes for smaller companies that may only hire one person, but do so every year. They may be interested in small-scale, but very impactful, partnerships. Reach out to them as well!
As a side note: this means that your alumni database needs a regular update. The easiest way to do so is to send an email once a year for them to update their phone number, current company and position, and email address.
Companies with happy alumni
We’ve just talked about keeping in touch with former students: it’s even more important for this second type of companies. They know your institution and its students inside out and will be glad to help you in a vast majority of situations.
By maintaining a good relationship with former students, you also get to know where they work now. If they love their job, they will often want to share opportunities with the following generations of students. Give them an easy way to do so: let them share offers on your internal job board, for example, or privileged access to workshops.
If they take advantage of the small attentions you give, great! Suggest signing a more extensive partnership deal with the whole company rather than only with the individual. They will be happy to support both their former school’s funding and their current company’s notoriety.
Companies your students would like to work for
In every school, some students are dead set on working for one company when they graduate. This company is not always Google and Dior.
Growing startups and local medium-sized companies, or organisations that target a specific niche that appeals to one particular study path in your institution, are great choices. Having a little questionnaire that your students can fill out, telling you what field they want to work in or even directly what company would offer their dream career, can give you a lot of new insights on what your students want.
Once you know what they would like to do, don’t hesitate to reach out to these organisations, offering to talk about your students’ profiles in more detail and giving them information on why they would benefit from a partnership. Seeing that students already like them and that they would have minimal effort to do once your institution showcases them is a great incentive for these companies to start working with you!
When in doubt, keep in mind that the best companies to sign new partnership deals are those that will have the best relationship with your students. Maintain close links with companies where your alumni are happy, reach out to companies that your students would love to work for, and work closely with the companies that need your students the most.
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