FDU Connects students with alumni mentors

FDU Connects
Introducing FDU Connects, a new mentorship opportunity for the FDU Community. A new kind of social network, FDU Connects links students and young alumni with alumni mentors. Click here to check out FDU Connects for yourself.


By Dan Landau
(July 28, 2014) — Mentorship is a huge part of education and professional development and thanks to a company called ProConvos, Fairleigh Dickinson University has a special online platform to help current students connect with alumni established in their careers.
Called FDU Connects, this platform differs from social networks like LinkedIn in that interaction is based on a much older social networking technology: the telephone. Lacking likes, visible follower or friend lists, and other accoutrements standard in today’s social networks, FDU Connects instead focuses only on connecting mentors with mentees.  
“FDU Connects is not a social network like Facebook,” says Cathy Love, director of the Metropolitan Campus Career Development Center. “Instead, it’s a great opportunity for students to talk with someone who has experience in and knowledge about the field they are looking at.” 
“Most social media is selfish,” says Paul Kim, CEO of ProConvos. “We deliberately eliminated the vanity metrics common on other platforms. Instead, FDU Connects is about altruism. We provide the avenue for alumni who want to give back to their university.” 
FDU Connects mobile screenshot
Fully optimized for mobile devices, the FDU Connects platform offers a robust networking and mentorship experience. Click here to see more.
To use the platform, alumni fill out a very short questionnaire, describing a little about their job and what they do. With FDU Connects’ powerful search function, current students can search for and find alumni by company or industry and then initiate a conversation. The platform provides phone numbers that the mentor and mentee call into — similar to a conference call — so they can talk together, while also protecting the mentor’s personal contact information. Once mentors feel comfortable, they can always elect to share their contact information. Because all the calls go through the ProConvos platform, there is no cost to the users.
“FDU Connects bridges the gap between our past and present,” says Karen Lewis, assistant vice president for development and alumni relations. “This unique platform connects our students with our alumni who are able to expose students to the realities, challenges and rewards in their varying fields.”  
To make the process as smooth as possible, users can sign into the FDU Connects platform using Facebook or LinkedIn. Signing up takes about five to ten minutes. The site is also fully optimized for mobile devices.
“The sign up process is akin to a dating site,” says Kim. “But rather than asking ‘what’s your job?’ and ‘what do you do?’ the questions focus on your core skill set and what you enjoy professionally.” 
Questions include:
“Knowing what I know today, I would have done a few things differently in my career, such as…”
“The physical (and/or mental) demands of this type of job include…”
“A common misconception about my firm/business is…”
Looking forward, the FDU Connects program has great potential for both FDU’s students and alumni. As Lewis notes, “Mentorship programs build student confidence and self-esteem in a way that inspires them in and out of the classroom.  The FDU Connects initiative fosters engagement in a meaningful way and provides both the mentor and mentee with lifelong skills.” 
To start using FDU Connects, visit proconvos.com/fduconnects.