Liberty Mutual is showing its commitment to advancing women by partnering with the Bentley University Center for Women and Business (CWB) to implement curriculum that helps address the gap in women leaders. Another successful example of a corporate partner making an impact is PwC, a founding partner of the CWB and a company at the forefront of diversity and inclusion. PwC’s chairman and senior partner, Tim Ryan, recently visited campus and spent the day with student leaders from the CWB and the Multi-Cultural Center. Ernst & Young has also been a strong partner, supporting curriculum development to ensure students remain competitive and relevant in the marketplace.
3. Provide avenues for sharing
Promoting the strengths of your college or university can happen digitally or in person. It is critical for an institution to assign a key account manager(s) who can be that bridge to the employers and provide customer service. I invite employer representatives for a campus tour and have faculty members join me at various points to highlight the education we provide our students, the research we conduct, and the engagement opportunities available between partner, student, and the university. For example, Bentley’s Service Learning and Civic Engagement Center may be unexpected at a business university but it’s very much a part of our student experience, providing a talent pool prepared for the nonprofit world and service.
4. Attend large-scale conferences geared toward corporate relationships
Professional organizations, such as NACRO (National Association of Corporate Relation Officers) and CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education), provide a platform to educate professionals in the field of corporate and foundation relations. They encourage the sharing of best practices and provide a forum to identify strengths and challenges. It’s important that institutions are willing to identify approaches that have been successful, as well as those that failed, for there is much to be learned from that experience.
5. Create an ecosystem
For colleges to be relevant in five years, we have to understand how to educate students today. Building corporate partners requires a holistic approach that leverages knowledge from various constituents, which comes from having an open dialogue with employers. They can assist in identifying the curriculum needs to prepare our students for the job market of the future and the skills needed for current internships or full-time positions. In turn, our students can share their experience as an intern and the skills they felt were necessary to be successful with their employer. This two-way conversation and open dialog allows for mutual success.
The goal for effective corporate partnerships is the building of a long-term strategic and impactful relationship, creating a true value exchange unique to that partner with mutual benefits resulting in a positive ROI for all sides.