The army of alumni volunteers behind our student recruits
“The expertise alumni bring is critical. We rely on them.”
Hundreds of alumni recruitment volunteers offer something Greg Moore, one of the Admissions Manager of the Masters in Finance (MiF) programme at LBS, simply can’t: first-hand experience of being a student.
“Alumni are the programme – they are the School,” says Moore. Without them, he admits, he couldn’t do his job. Moore’s responsible for reviewing applications, shortlistling candidates, matching alumni with interviewees and presenting each candidate’s case to the admissions committee for the final decision. He also coordinates scholarships, manages student ambassadors and guides alumni through the various recruitment volunteering opportunities worldwide.
Alumni support Moore’s team in three ways: by speaking at information sessions, interviewing candidates and hosting club and conversion events. They are at every touchpoint of the LBS talent pipeline. And because alumni have walked the walk, they bring a personal touch to the admissions process that’s impossible for Moore’s team to replicate.
How alumni tell a different story
Choosing the right programme is a critical part of the admissions process. Information sessions enable prospective students to unpick the benefits of the School’s suite of programmes. At each event, Moore hands over to an alumni panel who answer questions about the LBS experience. “The warmth that comes across from alumni in these panels makes the School look better than I ever could,” laughs Moore. They tell a different story: people want honest answers, not the latest advertising tagline.
A guest at a recent information session in Peru claimed that LBS alumni set the School apart from its competitors. Moore explains: “A prospective student, who went to another top-tier school’s information session the previous week, told me, ‘You could tell that LBS alumni love London and the School. Their answers were honest; they weren’t scripted.’ It won him over.”
Why it’s alumni asking the questions
Once prospective students are sure the MiF is the right fit for them, they submit an application and, if successful, are shortlisted for interview with an alumni member.
“The expertise alumni bring is critical,” says Moore. “We rely on them. It's more valuable having someone working in finance asking the questions than staff or faculty because the MiF is a practical programme for experienced finance professionals.”
Alumni offer time to interview candidates for many reasons, says Moore. But they mostly do so to protect the School’s brand and ensure their investment in the programme is as valuable in 10 years’ time as when they graduated.
“When alumni help choose the next generation of students, they have a stake in the quality of the people and the programme’s direction. We ask alumni to report whether they would want the candidate in their class or study group. Their answers speak volumes.”
Just as employers should sell the job at an interview, this stage is a chance for alumni to sell the School. And who better to do it? “Candidates get to speak to alumni who’ve been through the intensive experience and got a job at the end of it. They know the pressures the students will face and the great experiences they’ll have: I can’t explain it like alumni can.”
It's also a great networking opportunity for both parties. Applicants are paired with alumni from the same region. They are also matched in terms of their backgrounds or career aspirations.
Building a global community
The MiF class is a diverse global group, with a large number of students from regions such as Latin America and Asia. But there’s also a concentration of students from global financial hubs, says Moore, including New York, Singapore, Tokyo and London. “Being a post-experience programme, we recruit students working in finance from all over the world,” he explains.
“It’s a virtuous cycle: alumni interview prospective students, successful applicants become students who eventually graduate and then reinforce the global alumni network – particularly in these key hubs.”
Some volunteers go above and beyond, Moore admits. He shares the story of an alumna based in New York who interviewed three successful applicants and then volunteered to arrange send-off drinks to celebrate their success and introduce them to one another. “The students have all been in touch to say she made the difference. They came to LBS because she gave them her time. That’s powerful.”
These informal drinks are just one way alumni help. Alumni volunteer their time to host conversion and club events, ensuring admitted students receive a true LBS welcome. “These events are a chance for alumni to increase their network,” says Moore. “By getting involved, alumni are helping themselves, helping the club and helping the School.”
60 seconds with Greg Moore
What brought you to LBS?
I joined LBS in April 2014. I worked for another university in London before that in a back-office role. I wanted to move into a customer-facing position as that's where my strengths lie.
What's the best thing about your job?
I love travelling the world, meeting smart people. LBS is an inspiring, dynamic place to work. But personally, the best thing is seeing the students come through the application process and land their dream job at the end of it.
If you could do any other job, what would you do?
I had a small stint in politics and, although I didn't pursue it, working in government is still something I’m interested in.
If you were to launch a business, what would it be?
I have a business idea. It's an eatery that serves ice cream in the summer and soup in the winter: 20 flavours of each.
Do you volunteer?
Yes. The School is great at organising volunteering opportunities. I’ve been able to support local school children at employment workshops using my CV reviewing and interviewing skills and at events for budding entrepreneurs.