New Strategic Relationship Management Solidifies Corporate Partnerships
For decades, the Whitman School has worked with alumni and corporate recruiters to help students find meaningful internships and jobs. Those relationships have run the gamut from companies that simply hire students to those that not only hire but engage on a deeper level with the Whitman School. It’s those engagements that have proven most sustainable for the school and the corporate partner.
Seeking to grow, evaluate and optimize current relationships with corporate partners, as well as identify new connections, Whitman recently appointed Sara Garvey to a newly created position in corporate relations. With a heavy emphasis on strategic relationship management and in collaboration with the Career Center, Garvey will interface with the school’s corporate partners to engage them with various programs at Whitman.
“We want to continue to offer opportunities our students need and want,” says Garvey. “But, at the same time, students may not yet know what they need and want. I would like to help provide them with a wide array of opportunities, some that they may never have considered.”
To that end Garvey plans to work with current partners to fully understand their needs, as well as look at areas for growth, including new locations and positions for students to explore.
WE’RE ALWAYS STAYING ON TOP OF THE TRENDS TO DETERMINE THE SKILL SETS SOUGHT BY EMPLOYERS SO WE CAN ENSURE OUR STUDENTS ARE JOB READY. ” —Sara Garvey
“Industries are shifting all the time,” says Garvey. “Corporate partners who historically recruited our retail management students are now finding themselves in need of business analytics students because of a need for more data analytics. We’re always staying on top of the trends to determine the skill sets sought by employers so we can ensure our students are job ready.”
Garvey is no stranger to business development and relationship building. A graduate of St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York, she is trained in business management and marketing. Before joining the higher education industry, she worked for Time Warner Cable for 11 years, working in various corporate communications roles. She came to Whitman from Syracuse University’s Office of Admissions, where she worked for three years in communications and student relationships management. Her expertise on the corporate side is part of what drew her to this new Whitman role, which allows her to marry her business acumen with her higher education and communications experience.
“I’m already reviewing and evaluating our current relationships to see if they can be enhanced for both sides,” she says. “Open communication is and will continue to be key for successful corporate partnerships.”
NEW ROLE PAVES WAY FOR INCREASED STUDENT ADVISEMENT
As Garvey focuses on facilitating corporate partner relationships, it frees up time for the Career Center advisors to spend with the students.
“We used to share the role of corporate development among all our career advisors,” says Kevin Coates, executive director of administration and strategic initiatives. “With this new role, our advisors can focus more on the students, while we develop our corporate engagement strategy beyond the Career Center into alumni, development, central partners and even future faculty involvement.”
“By having one person, Garvey, link career, alumni and advancement, Whitman can create a more comprehensive relationship with the corporate partner. It’s more seamless for the corporate partner and allows for more engagement and growth that can help both parties.”
The next generation of corporate engagement, as Coates calls it, is possible thanks to the strong foundation the Career Center team laid with past and present employers, many of whom continue to be connected today as highly engaged alumni, corporate partners and even supporters of student organizations and learning.
WITH THIS NEW ROLE, OUR ADVISORS CAN FOCUS MORE ON THE STUDENTS, WHILE WE DEVELOP OUR CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY BEYOND THE CAREER CENTER...” —Kevin Coates
“With our core partners, we’ve been working methodically and strategically on this kind of model for years,” says Kara Primrose, director of career services. “We’ve gained momentum, and this new capacity will allow us to further bring this powerful model into reality.”
“Our partnership with Whitman has provided us with greater insight about next-generation perspectives, workplace trends of the future and identifying up-and-coming talent,” says Neeraj Mehta ’96 MBA, executive vice president, chief executive officer of Payment Solutions and chief commercial officer of Synchrony. “Perhaps most rewarding is the opportunity for our recruiters and Whitman alumni employees to interact with the students on campus in their environment, such as Enactus, and in our workplace, through our externship program.”
WE’VE GAINED MOMENTUM, AND THIS NEW CAPACITY WILL ALLOW US TO FURTHER BRING THIS POWERFUL MODEL INTO REALITY.” —Kara Primrose
Mehta himself has taken a personal interest in the Whitman partnership; he’s been intrigued by the “convergence of earlier corporate recruiting and the buildout of Whitman’s experiential learning curriculum.”
OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH WHITMAN HAS PROVIDED US WITH GREATER INSIGHT ABOUT NEXT-GENERATION PERSPECTIVES, WORKPLACE TRENDS OF THE FUTURE AND IDENTIFYING UP-AND-COMING TALENT. ” —Neeraj Mehta
It’s that time, talent and treasure that makes these relationships so fruitful for the students, the employers and alumni.
Synchrony is just one of many examples of ways corporate partners have engaged with Whitman, Syracuse University and its students. Mehta says the company hopes to continue offering new experiences to students to provide opportunities for them to “test drive the real world and get to know Synchrony better.”
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