“The biggest ROI from an MBA is the network,” says Sean Li. And one of the best ways to connect? Ask to hear someone’s story. “It builds a strong bond,” Li says, “because we feel like we’re giving a piece of ourselves.”
As an evening and weekend MBA student, Li sought to maximize his limited time on campus by interviewing fellow students and sharing the personal narratives via a podcast, Here@Haas. Since February 2018, he’s published scores of interviews with one goal: to uncover passions. His formula has sparked connections among interviewees and other Haasies and prompted incoming students to attend Haas.
Just before Li’s graduation, the Haas Alumni Relations team hired him to create an alumni podcast, called OneHaas, and he accepted, thinking it would be a fun side gig. A year later, that project has spawned a full-fledged startup for clients beyond Haas.
Alumni interviews each require research and some ten hours of post-production, so Li passed off the Haas student interviews to volunteers. “I had to build a system so other students could take over,” says Li. “I thought, if I can do this at Haas, why can’t I do this at every school?”
In 2020, Li launched Alumni.FM, a podcast service providing research, post-production, and distribution support for higher education. He now has clients at the University of Utah and a partnership with the team at Harvard Business School. “I want to become the Netflix of alumni content,” he says.
For Li, the podcasting experience has been serendipitous. “I love talking to people, but I never imagined coming into the MBA program to start podcasting,” he says with a smile. Listen in: haaspodcasts.org.