As you make connections with alumni through the Odyssey Mentoring Program, you might wonder about effective ways to grow those relationships and make the most of them.


Regardless if you’re looking to connect or to begin a mentorship, it’s important that you respect the alum’s time and be prepared to fully use that time.

It can be helpful to get the ball rolling by talking about your personal lives and interests. You can start with learning about each other’s Columbia College experiences, or to discuss career — work environment, job responsibilities or industry trends.

From there, it’s good to establish goals and expectations because, ultimately, it’s up to you and your connection to define the terms of your relationship. That way, you ensure you’re both on the same page.


If you initiated the connection, it’s important to send a thank you note within 24 hours of your meeting or conversation. For helpful tips on what to include, please refer to the Thank You Letters resource from Columbia’s Center for Career Education.

CCE recommends that additional follow-up is appropriate after you have taken someone’s advice and have an outcome to report. Examples of this include contacting someone they recommended, joining a professional association and/or reading an article they suggested.

You can also follow up when you have an update to share, such as a job opportunity, an upcoming event or something as simple as an article that’s relevant to their industry or interests. These are the kinds of interactions that will help you keep up with your network. With some time, you’ll find a cadence that works for you and your contacts.