Insights from the 2015 NACRO Conference
NACRO conferences are a wonderful way to learn from corporate relations specialists around the world. At this year's conference, some of the insights I gained included:
- the length of time that it takes to develop deep corporate relationships and achieve the "big wins" which university leadership looks for. It was suggested that on average it is likely to take 7-10 significant contacts with a partner, before it will be appropriate to put forward a significant proposal.
- “closing the deal” with a corporate partner is often hard to do as so many players across the university can be involved. The key to success is thus to have strong internal relationships, as this will assist in bringing proposals and projects to fruition.
- the importance of having a mechanism for corporate input to the design of university curriculum. If universities are to remain relevant, and provide graduates to the community, it is essential to have ways in which employers can engage with the development of curriculum that will meet their needs
- a focus on “your authentic strengths” was also recommended, when developing offerings to corporate partners. This requires all corporate engagement staff to develop a deep understanding of what their university offers and how it is relevant to a corporate partner’s needs and interests.
Director Corporate Engagement
Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia