London is one of the world’s urban powerhouses, a thriving city bustling with people and brimming with opportunity. As a student, what’s the best way of seizing these opportunities as they arise? How can you learn the art of building your contacts and enlarging your professional circle?
There is an element of truth to the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” – and this is not to undermine the importance of your education, but rather to emphasise how essential networking is in addition to your academic achievements. By combining effective networking with a solid foundation of education, you’ll have a recipe for success.
Here we look at the best ways to network in London:
Classmates of today will be the business leaders of tomorrow, so make sure you encourage good relationships with your fellow students. A solid foundation of camaraderie will make asking for help, advice, contacts – or even work – much easier in the future. After all, who’s to say that someone in your tutorial group won’t go on to become the next Bill Gates?
Squash, badminton, tennis – take your pick. A lot of business is done outside of the office, where people feel more comfortable. You’d be surprised at the connections you could make over a friendly match.
It’s all very well chatting with your classmates, working up a sweat on the court and going for endless coffee meetings, but all of that won’t get you very far unless you have a plan. That is: who are you hoping will notice you and where would you eventually like to work? Write out a list of your favourite companies and the key people who work there, then narrow your focus. Do you have any connections? Will they be speaking at any events that you can attend? Which brings us on to the next point…
The best way to get noticed is to be visible. At everything. Pop along to conferences and make use of the free business networking events on sites like Eventbrite or Meetup.
Some of the best networking opportunities open to you are right on your academic doorstep. From student unions to study groups, there are many ways to reach out, get involved, and connect with interesting and different people who may have contacts that will improve your career prospects.
Finally, no meeting is a waste of time. Every connection you make is honing your communication skills and developing your ability to turn small-talk into something more valuable.