AlumNetworks: Revolutionizing Alumni Engagement for a Transformative Future in Education

An Interview with Mr. Chandra Shekhar Chitrala, Founder of Alumnetworks

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In the dynamic landscape of education, the connections forged between students and their alma maters extend far beyond the halls of academia. These bonds, when cultivated effectively, hold immense potential for both the institutions and their alumni. Yet, harnessing this potential has long been a challenge and alumni relations is seen almost universally as a cost centre. It is this landscape of alumni engagement that Mr. Chandra Shekhar Chitrala, a visionary entrepreneur, and his DPIIT recognized startup AlumNetworks Private Limited, are reshaping.

 

Mr. Chandra Shekhar Chitrala’s entrepreneurial journey began in the early ’90s when he embarked on his own venture a couple of years post his PGDM from XIMB, laying the foundation for a career marked by innovation and resilience. It was in late 2021 that the seeds of AlumNetworks were sown, with the company officially founded in 2022 to revolutionize alumni engagement.

 

 

Committed to empowering educational institutions and alumni associations to unlock the full potential of their alumni networks, AlumNetworks has emerged as a transformative solution, bridging the gap between alumni, educational institutions, and brands.

 

The genesis of AlumNetworks stemmed from Mr. Chandra Shekhar’s extensive involvement with the Alumni Association of XIMB (Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar) for nearly a decade, with the past five years as Vice President. During this time, he identified common pain points faced by educational institutions in harnessing the potential of their alumni networks and inspired by the philanthropic alumni culture of Ivy League institutes like Stanford and the IITs & IIMs in India, he recognized the untapped potential for alumni engagement in India’s educational landscape.

 

His insights underscored the immense economic potential latent within alumni networks – with thousands of institutions and millions of alumni, the cumulative spending power represented a vast reservoir of resources waiting to be tapped. He realized that by seamlessly integrating alumni contributions into their regular expenditure, it would be possible to create a win-win solution for all stake holders, where alumni could contribute to their alma mater without needing to dip into their savings.

 

AlumNetworks’ innovative AI Enabled Alumni Engagement Platform, that has enabled them to receive a grant under the prestigious Startup India Seed Fund Scheme, consists of a cutting edge alumni portal with iOS and Android apps, processes to involve students, faculty and admin, and a weekly e-magazine (AlumZine), customized to each institution’s needs. The best part is that the entire Alumni Engagement Platform is available absolutely free of cost to educational institutions and alumni associations and transforms alumni engagement from being a cost centre into a revenue centre.

 

One of the most important aspect of the AI Enabled Alumni Engagement Platform is that it empowers alumni to reconnect with their alma mater in meaningful ways. Through the AlumZine, alumni receive weekly updates on happenings at their alma mater, alumni achievements, job opportunities, high quality curated articles, entertainment info etc.. Along with all this content, alumni are given access to exclusive alumni only offers from premium brands – offers that are better than anything available across all platforms including the brands own sites.

 

This ongoing engagement has another benefit – it rekindles alumni pride and engagement with their alma mater, something that drops significantly once they complete their studies. In the long term, this increased engagement encourages philanthropic as well as other contributions towards institutional growth.

 

Central to AlumNetworks’ success is its ability to attract premium brands eager to tap into the affluent alumni demographic. By aggregating alumni across institutions, AlumNetworks offers brands unparalleled access to a coveted audience segment giving them the ability to showcase exclusive offers in AlumZine and build brand loyalty through their association with the virtuous activity of contributing to the alumni’s alma mater.

 

AlumNetworks’ success is measured through tangible metrics, including alumni engagement and brand interest. With consistent open rates and click rates, AlumNetworks has demonstrated the effectiveness of its business model as a potential high value startup that can scale globally as well as exponentially. It is no wonder that it is already among the top results in Google globally for free alumni portal!

 

The secret to AlumNetworks’ extraordinary performance is the culture of innovation and excellence and the ability of their team in functioning effectively despite working from different locations. While Mr. Chandra Shekhar Chitrala, the Founder & CEO works from Bhubaneswar, Mr.Dwarika Prasad Tripathy, the Co-Founder & CTO works from Pondicherry. Similarly, the CMO, Mr.Shivank Sidhu works from Gurugram while the COO Ms.Smaranika Sahu works from Bengaluru. The skills and experience of the team – Mr.Tripathy with more than 20 years of building IT applications, Mr.Sidhu’s 20+ years in advertising and marketing with his last role as CMO of Jawa Motocycles, and Ms.Sahu’s more than a decade of running IT operations, have helped AlumNetworks in developing the cutting-edge technology & marketing solutions and nurtured strategic partnerships to drive the company’s growth.

 

Looking ahead, Mr. Chandra Shekhar Chitrala envisions AlumNetworks as a catalyst for transformative change in the education sector, not just in India, but across the globe, for even in geographies such as the US, other than a few Ivy League colleges, most educational institutions still face the same problems with alumni engagement. With plans to expand the platform’s reach and functionality, he remains dedicated to empowering educational institutions, alumni, and brands to collaborate for mutual benefit and societal impact and a future where education thrives, powered by the enduring bonds of alumni solidarity and philanthropy.

 

 

 

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