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ILP Institute Insider

October 9, 2018

Ellen Stahl: Advancing the careers of MIT Alumni

Ellen Stahl heads Alumni Career Programs for the MIT Alumni Association. She is dedicated to connecting experienced MIT alumni to potential employers.

Daniel de Wolff

Ellen Stahl developed and heads MIT Alumni Association’s Alumni Career Programs. It’s a scalable new model of career programs and services aimed at serving all 136,000 members of the Alumni Association. Which, as you might imagine, is a very deep talent pool. Ellen points out that while the Institute is justly admired for its engineers and computer scientists and their contributions to their fields, MIT alumni and their talents cover a broad swath. “Our alumni are working in every sector and in every role you could possibly imagine: from government to technology, research and development to finance, and everything in between.”

Ellen worked in the MIT Careers Office for six and a half years before taking her skillset to the Alumni Association where she was asked to fill a very specific need. Founded in 2013, Alumni Career Programs is the direct result of feedback received from alumni who requested more career programs and accessibility to jobs. It is tailored and relevant to MIT’s unique alumni base in the areas of career development, career management, and continuing career education. “It’s a fantastic way for alumni to connect with employers that are looking for top talent, and it’s a terrific way for employers to pipeline those talents into their organizations.”

Ellen Stahl
Alumni Career Programs,
Employer Relations,
& Career Counselor
MIT Alumni Association

In the first 16 months rolling out Alumni Career Programs, it successfully engaged over 10,000 alumni through a new suite of career programs tailored to the needs of MIT’s diverse population. The initial programs have now expanded to showcase alumni virtual career fairs, an alumni-exclusive job board, Career Lunch & Learn Webinars, corporate recruiting events and roadshows for alumni and employers, and an employer affiliate program

Virtual career fairs, which have an average of 1,000 registrants, allow alumni from across the country to meet and engage directly with employers who can screen top candidates from the convenience of their own desks. Career Lunch & Learn Webinars draw audiences of up to 2,200 alumni presenting career-centric topics and provide customized professional development live, or viewable later in Alumni Career Programs’ library of recordings.

Overall, the programs have attracted mid-level, experienced talent who hold advanced degrees. “We believe very strongly in offering this service to alumni,” says Ellen. “Later in your career, in life, you may be at a point where you have had time to reflect and re-evaluate your options. Perhaps you’re even ready to try something new. That’s what we’re here for: to help MIT alumni continue on their path.”

As a seasoned employer relations specialist and career counselor, Ellen notes two interesting trends in the current job market. First, organizations often have a difficult time sourcing top talent. Second, there are a tremendous number of currently-employed, passive job seekers. In her view, MIT Career Programs is the ideal way for potential employers to identify and gain direct access to talented individuals that might be in organizations similar to their own. For alumni, it represents an opportunity for meaningful engagement with organizations targeting them for their specific skills and professional experience.

Ellen sees this as the natural progression in the lifecycle of the relationships MIT has helped foster between its students and employers. Organizations come in droves to hire fresh talent recently graduated from MIT. It’s only logical that they should return to the well when looking for more experienced professionals to fill their employment needs later down the line.

She notes that MIT alumni are individuals who are often geared towards tackling the big problems of the world. So, it should come as no surprise that she can rattle off a list of top tier corporate participants who have collaborated with MIT Alumni Career Programs in an effort to harness that talent and those desires. Companies like Amazon, Samsung, and Goldman Sachs have all sought out the benefits of MIT Alumni Career Programs.

Ellen Stahl is passionate about helping people by generating mutually beneficial relationships. She has built an alumni-employer relations program designed to connect MIT alumni talent to job opportunities around the globe. She’s guided the programs to provide companies exclusive recruiting engagement and access to experienced professional hires, while taking into consideration the unique needs of MIT’s exceptional alumni talent pool. “Alumni employer relations is a very new trend,” says Ellen. “MIT is very much at front of this wave, defining best practices for employer-alumni relations and recruiting. We’re excited about our role and hopeful that other schools will learn from our model.”

ILP members interested in exploring what MIT Alumni Career Programs has to offer their Organization can visit https://alum.mit.edu/careers for more information.

The MIT Job Board is also a great way to tap into MIT’s diverse alumni talent pool: https://alum.mit.edu/careers/alumni-job-board.