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Meet the Armed Forces Alumni Association, a members club at Harvard Business School that used Hopin to forge new career paths for veterans

Meet the Armed Forces Alumni Association, a members club at Harvard Business School that used Hopin to forge new career paths for veterans
PLANNING A NEW KIND OF EVENT

An intimate event experience for Harvard’s veteran community

The annual Armed Forces Alumni Association Career Fair supports service members and veterans studying at Harvard Business School to transition into new career paths. The event connects attendees with potential employers and shares details of roles at major companies like Disney, J.P. Morgan, and McKinsey & Company. 

In 2021, the Armed Forces Alumni Association (AFAA) used Hopin for a new and improved virtual edition of its annual Career Fair. The AFAA had three criteria when choosing a platform for the event: professional quality, a seamless attendee experience, and an intimate setting with plenty of one-on-one interaction. This all had to be manageable by a small events team of only one or two student volunteers. 

“We've all become accustomed to legacy platforms where you don't interact and just tune out [...] We experimented with a couple of those communication methods and realized that they weren’t going to create an engaging, interactive experience that would lead to the best outcomes for our club members [...] For that reason, we chose to use the Hopin platform instead.” –Katie Taylor, Co-President, Armed Forces Alumni Association

Before the event, the AFAA used Hopin’s registration features to share the Career Fair with its members. This included a pre-event communication strategy using automated email reminders to maximize attendance and flag key content. Going virtual also meant the pool of organizations the AFAA could reach out to for sponsorship was much larger, including companies that wouldn’t usually be able to travel to an in-person event.

"We were really pleased with the support that Hopin provided us. The Hopin representative that I worked with met with me every week, answered every question, and really helped me along the way in my journey to get up to speed with how to use the platform."

Katie Taylor
Co-President, Armed Forces Alumni Association
IT’S SHOWTIME

Building bridges between speakers, employers, and attendees 

The Career Fair took was a day-long event, with a speaker lineup chosen to educate club members about different career opportunities. Representatives from Corning Incorporated, Disney, and Vanguard hosted half-hour sessions to discuss roles at their companies.

Speakers were primarily former members of the AFAA and shared insight into their personal experience of life in a new industry to support other veterans in their own career journey. These included the Director of Global Partnerships, Strategy and Operations at Google, and the Chief of Staff at Axon.

Attendees were encouraged to turn on their cameras, so speakers could engage with them face to face. This added a personal touch to Q&A sessions after each speaker’s presentation. The event’s chat also saw an outpouring of encouragement from attendees for speakers and other members. To support job opportunities, attendees could click a custom call to action button during each session to let a company know they were interested and would welcome a follow-up.

In between sessions, attendees were encouraged to visit the expo area where sponsors including Amazon, Edwards Lifesciences, and Shield AI hosted interactive sessions in their booths. The ability to customize and brand their booths proved extremely popular with sponsors. AFAA team members also staffed a help booth to answer any questions attendees had and guarantee a seamless event experience. 

“It was just really impactful to see how happy everyone was [...] you could see that people really were engaged and having a good time, whether that was our club members or our sponsors.” –Katie Taylor, Co-President, Armed Forces Alumni Association
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The Hopin features that made the Armed Forces Alumni Association Career Fair a success

  • Expo: Sponsors that were new to the virtual format welcomed the opportunity to build fully customized, branded booths that facilitated plenty of interaction with interested attendees
  • Chat: Veterans could chat with one another as well as speakers to get direct insight into the challenges and opportunities of pivoting to a new career
  • Main Stage: The careers fair kicked off on the main stage with opening remarks from the AFAA Co-President and CFO and finished with closing remarks from sponsors
  • Sessions: The AFAA invited speakers who could discuss their personal experience of transitioning out of a military career and answer specific queries from club members in an intimate, supportive setting
  • Registration: Attendees could easily register for the event and find all the information they needed using the event’s registration page. Timely automated reminders also ensured the best attendance rate possible
  • Action button: The AFAA created a custom call to action button that let attendees signal their interest in hearing about job opportunities from specific companies

"As a small team with limited time, I felt really confident in the Hopin platform because of its ease of use. It's something that you can quickly log onto and figure out yourself."

Katie Taylor
Co-President, Armed Forces Alumni Association
HOW IT TURNED OUT

A renewed confidence in virtual 

The AFAA received overwhelmingly positive feedback for its first Annual Careers Fair on Hopin. This was reflected in the event’s reporting, which showed a significant increase in the number of attendees and engagement compared to the previous year’s Career Fair. Sponsors and club members went out of their way to send thank you emails, and the post-event survey for attendees was full of praise for its high quality.

Instead of logging on and off quickly as they had at the previous virtual Career Fair, attendees remained for the majority of each event day and spent more time interacting meaningfully with recruiters. More veterans than ever before landed internships and jobs as a result. Hosting such a successful and engaging Career Fair has boosted the AFAA’s reputation among club members as well as sponsors – many of whom will join again next year as a result.

The Career Fair also had a significant impact on the AFAA’s events strategy, proving the value of virtual in supporting a wider community of service members, veterans, and sponsors.

“We're happy that the event was a success. Our sponsors, as well as candidates, were very engaged – we had a lot more veterans this year get internships and jobs out of the Career Fair than we had in years past. And the feedback we got from our surveys was really positive about the event and what a great experience it was.” –Katie Taylor, Co-President, Armed Forces Alumni Association

25%

Increased attendance YoY

15%

More internships and jobs secured for veterans

"Attendance increased by 25% over last year. The other thing I noticed this year was that once someone logged on, they stayed on, which indicates they were invested and it was an engaging experience."

Katie Taylor
Co-President, Armed Forces Alumni Association

Lots of virtual audience buzz

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