By Alexis Menard On November 13, 2019 11:45 am
With many of UM-Flint’s graduate students only appearing on campus twice a semester for the Net+ program, one student sought out a way to encourage more connectivity amongst his graduate peers and alumni. The idea for the social network was created by a University of Michigan-Flint graduate student, Raymond Pirouz, in the Masters of Business Administration program. He devised a social network called UMF-SOM Graduate Student Network, that is hosted on the Mighty Network, to seamlessly connect with his classmates. It is a student facilitated network for current School of Management graduate students or graduate alumni.
Pirouz is a first-year MBA Net+ student with a concentration in Marketing & Innovation Management and expects to graduate in the summer of 2021. The Net+ program is a mixed-mode format with the majority of work being completed online along with two on-site residencies that are held each semester. Pirouz said, “The program is perfect for working adults, however, the flexibility also presents the challenge of keeping in touch with peers who may not follow one another on the same path throughout their experience with the program.” Pirouz has been the first to come up with an interactive platform for UM-Flint graduate students to connect outside of the classroom.
This idea to start a social network came to Pirouz when he attended orientation. He asked faculty and administration how the cohort functioned given that many of the students were not on campus due to the flexibility of the program. UM-Flint lacks a graduate business cohort and “it signaled an opportunity to develop a means by which a cohort – even if a virtual one – could be established through a shared environment like a private social network” said Pirouz.
Pirouz states that the UMF-SOM graduate student social network can help students in three ways:
- Provide graduate students with a persistent space containing peers with whom they can connect and remain in contact with throughout their time at UM-Flint SOM, thereby creating an experience otherwise unavailable.
- Give graduate students the ability to network and share tips, strategies for success at UM-Flint SOM and keep them abreast of get-togethers and networking opportunities and events.
- Serve as both an in-school social network as well as a professional alumni network beyond graduation.
Pirouz explains “My core motivation for launching the UMF-SOM graduate student social network was to create a persistent space for graduate students of all backgrounds and area concentrations to connect and remain connected no matter where their educational and future professional journey might take them.”
Pirouz also aims to make UM-Flint students and alumni more UM-Flint proud. He is hoping that clothing will soon be available on campus highlighting different departments so that students can showcase their academic unit. Pirouz believes this will strengthen the ‘brand’ at UM-Flint and spark new discussions on how many experiences can be improved.
Overall, Pirouz would like the UMF-SOM graduate student network to act as a persistent space for students to be able to check into for connecting with peers, keeping in touch, sharing tips and techniques for success at UM-Flint SOM, coordinating get-togethers and continuing to stay in touch beyond graduation, and finally serving as an educational as well as professional network.
Pirouz resides in Fort Gratiot, Michigan but grew up in Southern California and earned a BFA at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He hasn’t been a student since 1996 and chose UM-Flint because of the flexibility of program offering, and knowing he would have access to world-class University of Michigan faculty in a format that best fits his busy life. “One of the benefits of being a graduate student at UM-Flint SOM is the flexibility of the program in that one can mix and match course modalities to fit a busy schedule.”
If you are a current SOM graduate student or a SOM alumni interested in joining the network, visit www.umf-som.net and click the “Request to Join” button to get started!