As a young professional, I cannot stress the importance of networking and following up on those contacts after the event. Initially when i registered for the conference, I was a little bit apprehensive on showing up alone giving that i am new in Boston and haven't really made any friends. However, I was pleasantly surprise to run into a lot of my friends from out of town and acquaintances i had met previously through other net working events. The icing on the cake was running into other Cameroonian health care professionals who where also trying to figure out the journey to go back home and work. As you can imagine there was much networking to be done :).
The whole experience had me thinking, you are the company you keep. I was happy to see my friends but i was not surprise because they like me, are very ambitious young Africans who set very high standards for both their professional and personal lives. Why else will you pass on an event like this if you have the opportunity to attend? Whereas it might be problematique to have too many friends in your private life or on facebook, there is no such thing as knowing/having too many professional contacts in your career life. Especially in your specific sector be it business, healthcare, IT and etc.
Secondly, some employers attend networking events to recruit new talents. At the Harvard business conference, there was a company networking reception featuring companies such as Google, Daktari Diagnostics and many others in banking and finance. This is a better option of talking to companies and their human resource/recruiting staff instead of the typical online resume submitting process.
Over all, it was an amazing weekend and ended with me getting a promotion at work! ^_^. March is turning out to be a good month for me. I thank you Jesus.
Some upcoming events on Exercise Science and Giving back to Africa that i am interested in attending include