I participate actively in the Businessweek Forum, the GMATClub, and occasionally in other forums like Student Doctor Network and MomMD. I have tended to avoid the pre-law forums because … well let’s just say I avoid them.
These forums can devolve into something worse than a waste of time and a way to vent immaturity and bile. Or they can be terribly helpful and a positive means of exchanging information, support, and similar experiences. I also found out today that they can evolve into a real professional network that lasts for years.
I had a chance to talk on the telephone with one of the recruiter special guests in today’s chat, David Karpelowitz, a Michigan MBA currently working for Alcoa, who participated in the Businessweek Forums in 2000. He told me that he has remained in touch with BW Forum members through their MBA programs and beyond. He is still in touch with a number of them today, five years later. He emphasized the long-term value of this virtual network.
Obviously he and his network were not on the boards making anonymous idiots of themselves. They were supporting each other and building relationships while showing intelligence, communications skills, and savvy. I am not saying you have to participate in a online forum to develop a professional network, but if you do participate, realize that it is an opportunity with long-term potential.
BTW, the recruiter chats were great this morning. Highly informative and the timing couldn’t have been better, given that the WSJ just released its MBA recruiter survey. I will let you know when the transcripts are available and probably highlight a few points next week.