Rapport: Connecting the KAUST alumni community

Rapport, the University's online alumni community, has attracted almost 1,000 members after launching in 2017. File photo.

With almost 1,000 members, Rapport—the University's online alumni community—has been a game changer in the way Alumni Affairs engages KAUST graduates.

Launched last year, Rapport "has completely transformed the way we engage alumni," noted Lea Sublett, manager of Alumni Affairs.

Rapport is an online hub for alumni that is somewhat like LinkedIn, but is exclusive to the University's community of students, alumni and former postdoctoral fellows. It enables members to keep in touch with each other and the University; it features stories about alumni and KAUST; and it facilitates the formation of groups, idea exchange, mentoring, job searching, and networking.

Rapport, the online KAUST alumni community, is exclusively tailored for students, alumni and former postdoctoral fellows. File image.

The website was launched after soliciting feedback from alumni about value-add benefits and services from the KAUST alumni program. The alumni wish list included: an alumni directory, online networking, career information, group discussion about areas relevant to KAUST students and alumni and a jobs site. Rapport includes access from a website and a mobile app.

"I believe Rapport is helping its members leverage their KAUST experience," Sublett said. "One of the benefits of the KAUST community is the strength of the alumni and the professional network. Our amazing students, postdocs and alumni do or go on to do great things, and Rapport gives its members exclusive access to one another in a more relevant context than LinkedIn."

Lea Sublett, manager of KAUST Alumni Affairs (second from left), and her dedicated team (from left to right: Nigel Clarkson, Ziwei Fan and Teemu Hentunen) work to ensure the KAUST alumni community stays connected through using tools like Rapport. File photo.

Members can search for each other by name, degree, graduation year, industry, expertise, employer or geographic area or combinations of these, which has been a useful feature for students and alumni wishing to identify a mentor.

"In our first year with Rapport, we've had an enthusiastic response from alumni about being part of the virtual community," added Sublett. "Our goal is to sign up 100 percent of our alumni by January 2020. Inviting students to join Rapport has been important for Alumni Affairs in encouraging mentoring and networking with alumni."

KAUST graduates celebrate at the recent 2018 Spring Graduation event on campus. They will use online tools like Rapport to stay connected to the University after graduation. File photo.

"There are many opportunities and benefits for students on Rapport, with some exciting future developments in discussion with the KAUST Saudi Arabian Alumni Chapter, including online career conversations," Sublett said. "Importantly, the platform has encouraged alumni to support each other and the student community, with almost 80 percent of those registering their status as 'willing to help' as mentors."

Future priorities for Alumni Affairs in expanding Rapport include regular content updates to encourage repeat visits and developing the career and networking features. The team recently piloted an online mentoring program and is encouraging greater usage of the jobs board by alumni in a position to recruit interns and graduating students.

For more information about Rapport, contact the Alumni Affairs team at

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