What is a system?
The system is capable of converting the
collected data from the routine user and machine interactions in to the
effective information which later on is used by the decision makers to make
efficient decisions. In the management information system, the most important
entity is system itself which is set of defined and interrelated components
which are generally described as all of the direct or indirect complex
components or elements that are related in a casual network. Within any
particular time period, all of these complex components are related in more or
less stable way with at least some other components (Thierauf 1984). So a well
developed and interactive system is one which provides best and useful
information to the managers at all levels.
2.2.2 What is an Alumni system?
Alumni systems are web-based information systems which are
made by an academic institution to keep up relations with its students after
they graduate. Institutions utilize the system to gather graduate information
and sort out outreach exercises. These systems gather data about the present
area, work environment, work data and even side interests of the graduated
class. Below are some core concepts of an alumni system.
about the University
membership in the site
money for the university
2.2.3 Traditional Alumni Systems
Prior to the internet revolution, institutions had limited
ways to engage their former students. Communications were through postal mail,
letters or magazines and since the alumni are likely to be geographically
scattered in search of their own careers, the institutions ‘efforts to reach
alumni was affected by publication and mailing costs. Most communication were informative
in nature and not interactive. Alumni interest and participation in university
news or its affairs was usually higher in individuals who were stationed within
a geographic proximity to the university, or in people who se family or friends
still study at the university.
Following the internet revolution, though official alumni
systems were put in place, most of them were an add-on to university websites
and not a lot of alumni would get involved with it. These early alumni systems
suffered from sever al drawbacks. The focus of early alumni systems was mostly
for collecting university funds and due it its rudimentary structure offered
little to no channels for interactive communication. In addition, the number of
alumni actually participating or retaining university relations was only a
fraction of the total alumni population due to limited access or technological
means to use alumni systems.
Currently the existing system of managing the alumni is
manual in nature, college people wants to maintain the information about the
students who have passed from the college but it getsvery complex doing it.
The challenges faced by current alumni systems are:
organize and enhance the stature of the application to make managemnt less
tedious and time consuming.
transition from a manual based management approach to an automated information
disseminate information across alumni through an online communication system.
collect useful data related to alumni from social networks and financial
keep privacy and security a top priority for this system.
get current students involved through the easiest possible way.
2.2.4 Why the need for Alumni System? Determinants of Alumni
The need for maintaining alumni systems has been highlighted
by Arceo in his study on the role of student and alumni. According to Arceo,
student and alumni associations serve as a bridge or boundary spanners between
the educational institutions, their people (students, alumni, professors and
political sector) and the job market. Eventually, these associations grew in
their presence to decision – making bodies which helped retraining of the
unemployed youth and thereby contributed towards development of people’s lives
through decreased unemployment.
One of the early efforts to establish an interactive alumni
association is due to Spasi? and Pejak 26 at Faculty of Mechanical
Engineering, University of Belgrade. Based on experience with previous alumni
association Spasi? and Pejak established an interactive alumni system called
ALFaMEB or ?ME?, which would cater to quality assurance in higher education.
Feedback information was collected through various activities as well as
questionnaires about industrial expectations; knowle dge obtained at university,
and need for improvement in teaching and research activities. The alumni
ALFaMEB activities helped continuously improve the teaching and research
undertaken at the university and thereby broaden the limits of university
Although the work discussed above makes novel a ttempts to
improve alumni based networks systems, they are severely limited in their
communication capabilities and fall short of harnessing the full potential of
extensive interactions between alumni themselves and the university.
The two factors — relationships with alumni and marketing —
can be seen as some of the many reasons to initiate alumni systems. With
changing times , the perception of universities with regards to the use and
scope of alumni systems has also evolv ed . It is envisioned that such alumni systems
are beneficial not only to the universities but also to alumni. It could serve
as a platform for current students to interact with their senior alumni and
receive mentoring from them with regards to career paths, real world
expectations and so on. A noteworthy work in the present context is by Barnard
who proposed an online community portal which is beneficial to both alumni and
higher education institutions in South Africa. The portal was a web – based
secured database which allows f ree sharing of information between alumni management
teams and its members. From the alumni point of view, benefits of participating
in alumni groups allow them to stay in con t act and meet their fellow class
mates, professors and university personnel , even after several years beyond
graduation. It also allows alumni to shar e professional or personal advice,
explor e mutual interests and exciting new opportunities in a collaborati ve
Anothe r important factor which necessitates alumni systems
is the university’s need to market itself as a leading place for education and
to attract new students. Given the tre mendous amount of competition in
attracting good caliber students from around the worl d , universities are
competing to stand out as leading educational institutions that produce quality
professional s and successful pioneers. Prospec tive students , on the other
hand , could use it to learn more about courses, college routi ne from current
students.Most universities tend to boast about their alumni ‘s research works
or achievements as one of their own. It is not surprising that some of the high
profiled universities have most structured graduate follow – up programs, where
employment of their alumni and their achievements are tracked continuously.
Many factors necessitate the alumni systems. In view of many
potential benefits, some universities initially set up alumni systems as a
means to collect funds from the alumni. Looking at the educational system in
Ghana, has led to severe cuts in government support for development and
educational activities at most universities. Educational institutions need to
secure alternative sources of cash inflow to avoid being victims. It is
beneficial to the university to maintain healthy relations hips with the alumni
who have the financial solvency to donate to their home university. Hence, there
is the need for a system in place to support and manage these finances.
The foundation of any successful
alumni relations program is an accurate alumni record database. Gaskins explores
an alumni network formation for a university’s recreational sports department
and emphasizes the constant attention alumni record-keeping requires and the
steps to expanding it through existing alumni connections acting as ambassadors
to their classmates (2006). Along with current contact information and job
title, alumni records should include student affairs data such as affinity
group affiliation to better provide specialized messaging and programming based
on identified interests (Rissmeyer, 2010).
Determining the factors that
lead to high post-graduation engagement is the first step in successful alumni
programming. Across the reviewed literature, authors overwhelmingly agreed that
a major factor in alumni generosity is a positive and successful undergraduate
experience (See e.g. Monks, Rissmeyer). Conley states that alumni who continue
to have a strong connection to the institution may be more likely remain the
most engaged (1999)