Today John is the commencement speaker for the Texas A&M University Commerce graduate school. Here are some of the thoughts he will be sharing with the more than 250 graduates.

COMMERCE, Texas — We get our ticket punched for the next step in our career and move on.

We are done.

alma materWhat good could possibly come from an ongoing relationship with our college or university unless it means access to guaranteed tickets for in-demand sporting events, as is the case with major large universities with outsized athletic programs?  We are, superficially it seems, proud of our degrees and the value they bring us, but far too many graduates get their diploma, walk off the stage and into life and never look back.

That is not only a shame it is not necessarily the smartest move to make from a career brand management perspective.

If your college or university excels by deepening its academic offerings and sharpens it reputation in key industries, then the graduates benefit.

It is not just money that allows a school to excel. It is also the ongoing engagement of its former students — graduates and undergraduates alike.

As the economy changes, and as the job market responds to those changes, effective career brand management will become more important than ever.  There is one very good career management reason not to forget where you earned your degree. As the school’s reputation rises or falls, remember your brand is tied to that place.  Oh, it is not as critical as consistently exceeding performance expectations on the job, but believe me when I say that employers pay attention to those things, typically when they have two equally qualified and accomplished candidates that is when they begin to double back to look at places worked and schools attended.

Remember, where you went to school is part of your brand.  Don’t be a get-it-done, never-look-back graduate.

Ongoing engagement with your school(s) will strengthen your personal and professional experience.