Why You’re Missing Out If You Aren’t Participating In Campus Affiliate Programs

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Strong relationships with faculty, continuous contact with students, and a direct say in curriculum. Want in?

If you said yes, the answer is simple: Get involved with corporate affiliate programs. The system works like this—your company pays an annual membership fee in exchange for participation in the program. What you get out of the relationship depends on the particular school or department. Some schools offer various prices for different levels of involvement.

Your membership can get you things like a seat on the Executive Board (this fancy-pants title might also mean that you get a say in the curriculum), the ability to post jobs and internships on the school or department website, and attendance to exclusive events where you can get your brand in front of select students.

Sounds good, right? Here’s how you can get involved…

It’s pretty common for STEM departments to have established affiliate programs, but you may also find them in business schools and other departments. The best way to find out if a program already exists is to check the department website at the school where you’d like to get involved. If there’s nothing listed there, your next stop should be the school’s career services website.

If you don’t find anything there, either, that means they probably don’t have an existing program. That’s not a deal-breaker, though. You may need to contact department offices and career service centers directly, but most schools will be open to some sort of arrangement.

Some real-life examples

Let’s take a look at a few specific corporate affiliate programs to learn more about how they function.

1. Brown University School of Engineering

The Brown University School of Engineering offers an Engineering Corporate Affiliates Program (ECAP). In this case, becoming a member of ECAP gives you advantages such as the ability to post internships and jobs directly to students and the possibility of coming to the school to give a job talk about your industry and company.

2. UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering

The UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering Corporate Affiliates Program (CAP) offers a range of benefits to participating sponsors, including a seat on the CAP Executive Board and the ability to shape curriculum development and future research focus.

CAP also offers a Team Internship Program for corporate affiliate sponsors, which can help you to establish your talent pipeline. Jacobs School of Engineering also holds a variety of campus events exclusively for corporate affiliates.

3. University of Washington Human-Centered Design and Engineering

The University of Washington Human-Centered Design and Engineering Corporate Affiliates Program also offers a selection of activities for you to participate in. They have a career fair and a corporate affiliates day where students, faculty, and companies all get together and share information. They also have creative events where students and alumni connect via a mentoring event which is sponsored by one of their corporate affiliates.

Now that we’ve looked at a few examples of existing programs, let’s imagine that you’d like to set one up for yourself. How would you go about doing that? Start by reading the following case study.

Case Study: Small But Beautiful Bay Area Tech Start-up ISO Computer Science Rock Stars

Let’s say that you’re a small (<50 person) tech start-up based in the Bay Area. You’re looking to hire computer science majors to help support your website, apps, etc. You’ve never been involved in affiliate programs before, but you’re interested in giving it a go. What do you do?

Step 1: Research Bay Area Colleges With Computer Science Departments

We’ve decided to narrow our focus on Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of Santa Clara, the University of San Francisco, and San Francisco State University because they’re all in the Bay Area and they all have computer science departments. You might also think about things like which schools are your current employees’ alma maters or schools whose departments focus on a specific area within a given discipline (e.g. if we were looking for Computer Science majors who were particularly adept at machine learning, we might search further afield for schools that have strong machine learning curricula).

Step 2: Examine Schools’ Current Affiliate Programs (If Any) And Weigh The Pros And Cons

After I spent a little time poking around on each school’s website, computer science department site, and career services site, I discovered the following tidbits of information.

Stanford: Computer Forum contains a list of 115 affiliates includes Adobe, Apple, Google, Pixar, and Twitter as well as smaller companies like Box, Evernote, Udacity.

Pros: Established program, easy to join

Cons: Major competition includes global leaders and young, hip brands

Berkeley: Doesn’t list affiliates specifically, but provides contact info for office of Corporate and Foundation Relations.

Pros: Established programs so you won’t have to start from scratch

Cons: Doesn’t provide list of current sponsors, so it’s difficult to assess competition

University of Santa Clara: Welcomes corporations who would like to share their expertise. Has contact information for Corporate and Foundation Relations. Also has contact information for Career Center, which allows you to post jobs and internships and connect with student clubs.

Pros: Not as established as other affiliate programs, so there’s less competition

Cons: Requires more work on your part to establish connection and decide what your contribution will be

University of San Francisco: Career Services Center doesn’t list any affiliate programs specifically, but does give employers options for connecting with students like participating in panel discussions and getting involved with student clubs. I browsed through their clubs and didn’t find any computer science related ones, but Women in Science might be worth contacting. You could also trying reaching out to one of the Computer Science department contacts.

Pros: No established programs, so no direct competition

Cons: Will probably require a lot of legwork until you find the right person/people

San Francisco State University: Offers a Vendor Program through the Student Involvement and Career Center. Companies can connect to student organizations and sponsor their activities. The Computer Science Department doesn’t specifically mention an affiliate program, but it does thank IBM Almaden Research, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Corporation, Emulex, and Claritics, which makes it sound like those employers must be involved in some type of sponsorship or corporate affiliate program.

Pros: Vendor program sounds like an interesting option with lots of direct involvement with students

Cons: Several large and well-established competitors; information on participation not readily available on website

Step 3: Make A Decision

In this scenario, you may choose to avoid a school like Stanford because the competition is too fierce. Or, you might decide that Stanford would be the best option because the program is already established so it’d take the least amount of legwork. You’d just pay the fee and be able to participate. It depends on what you think your recruiting department’s strengths are. Would you be able to sell your company and stand out against the big guys? Or would you rather put in some extra time to work out the details with a lesser established program and not worry so much about fighting for students’ attention? The choice is yours!

The next step: Think you’d like to participate in an affiliate program? Who are you looking to recruit? Follow our case study based on your own location and recruiting needs and decide where you’d like to get involved.


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