Sam Farber first logged in to Bulldogs Connect when a mentor suggested he use the digital networking platform in his internship search. Farber, a sophomore Marketing and Finance major at Butler University, reached out to Greg Jung, MBA ’98 to talk about potential internships. But Farber ultimately received valuable advice for a business he was preparing to launch. Jung, a marketing professional whose Bulldogs Connect profile indicates he is willing to help Butler students with “advising about specific industries or careers” and “finding jobs and internships,” provided website and other business advice to Farber ahead of the launch of Twillows—a company that creates customized hoodies, pillows, tank-tops, mugs, and more.
Butler launched Bulldogs Connect for students and alumni in 2019. Two years later, when so many activities have transitioned to a virtual format, the ability to connect with fellow Bulldogs digitally is more important than ever. The platform is exclusive to members of the Butler community, and it allows for students to connect with alumni who want to help students reach their career goals and find success after graduating. Serving as a database of engaged alumni, it is also an avenue for peer-to-peer connections to be made among alumni who are looking to build their own networks.
Farber is a frequent user of Bulldogs Connect and has explored many areas of the platform. He says he likes the layout of Bulldogs Connect, and he shared that the Communities feature makes it easy to see where people live. When it comes to sending that first message to an alumni user, “Don’t be nervous at all,” he says. “Just ask them about their job and things you may need to know for the future. People like to talk.”
Finding himself on the receiving end of those messages from students, Jung agrees. “Butler alumni who are signed up for Bulldogs Connect have already shown an interest in helping,” he says. “Go reach out!”
Bulldogs Connect is essentially a database of alumni who have already raised their hands to help students. Their profiles show everything you’d see on LinkedIn, such as professional experience and education, but also list specific areas in which Bulldogs are willing to help Butler students and fellow alumni navigate their own career journeys. These areas of assistance include finding job opportunities, reviewing resumes, advising about graduate school, and more. The difference between LinkedIn and Bulldogs Connect, Jung says, is that the people on Bulldogs Connect signed up because they want to engage with students. Jung’s LinkedIn inbox is full of solicitations, but a message from Bulldogs Connect never goes unread.
With a catalogue full of dedicated alumni who want to share their experience and expertise, there’s also an opportunity for alumni to make peer-to-peer connections to build their professional networks. They can leverage their Butler alumni community while navigating a career change or considering graduate school.
Zach Rodenbarger ’11 joined Bulldogs Connect when the platform first launched. He was working with startups on forecasting and building their financial models. When he heard about Bulldogs Connect, he thought, They’re trying something new. Let’s see if it works. He began using the platform to find other Butler graduates working in the finance industry.
“It was great to be able to find alumni in specific industries that I could ask questions of and who could support me in my business endeavors,” he says. “It was nice to have a linking connection (Butler), and that we understood the same industry, but had Butler to start the conversation.”
Like Farber, Rodenbarger also connected with Jung through Bulldogs Connect. They became close professional contacts and met regularly before the pandemic eliminated their in-person meetings. Jung was able to advise Rodenbarger on marketing strategies for his work with Selfless.ly, a software company that Rodenbarger ultimately joined. Selfless.ly helps businesses engage their employees in giving back to the community.
Rodenbarger and Jung agree that alumni on Bulldogs Connect are likely to be more responsive to messages because of the shared connection to Butler. If you receive a message on LinkedIn, you would have to visit a person’s profile to see that you are both Bulldogs. “This is already filtered for you,” Rodenbarger says.
Bulldogs Connect is available to current students and Butler alumni. A partnership between the Office of Career and Professional Success and the Office of Alumni Relations and Engagement, Bulldogs Connect is a cutting-edge tool that brings alumni and students together to help build networks, find mentors, and create pathways for life after Butler. Whether you’re looking for a job, career advice, information about your new city, or volunteer opportunities, Bulldogs Connect is the place to start. Once you’re logged in, take a peek around. Join the communities that interest you, and start connecting. Butler students and alumni can join here.