Zack Clark, David Eccles School of Business alum and Founder and CEO of DoubleTake Marketing stopped by last week to give business students advice on how to achieve professional success through networking.

“It’s all about who you know.” We have all heard that statement before, right?  A more accurate statement might be who knows you. Being connected to others, or networking is as critical a business skill as mastering the skills of your profession. Research on the power of networking suggests that today 60-85% of jobs are found through your contacts.

I’m a prime example of this. In 2006, I started a company with a business partner I met through another David Eccles School of Business alum. In 2010, I started another company with a business partner I met through a family friend who happened to be my first employer. Both of these companies are growing, employing people and thriving, and it all started through “networking.”

Recently we kicked off this year’s ConnectU program for MBA students. The ConnectU program is run by the University of Utah Business Alumni Association to provide graduate students access to an alumni network, which can provide tips for networking techniques while fostering long lasting mentor relationships between students and professionals.

During this academic year, we’ll host three networking events that allow this group of ambitious MBA students to practice their skills in a safe environment. MBA students will learn from alumni and professionals from the community, which help them start to build connections. These connections will prove to be invaluable as they search for internships, jobs, future business partners and long-term colleagues and advisors that will carry with them throughout their careers.

Having a mentor and a group of advisors can be critical to a student’s future success.  A mentor can help the student feel connected to a broader world, have a trusted confidant to advise on a variety of business-related topics and can introduce the student to other professionals, organizations or resources that set that student up for a successful career.

At our kick-off we demonstrated the real life impact with one of last year’s ConnectU students, Matt. We discovered that through Matt’s networking activities last year, he landed a great internship after his first year of his MBA. Matt met individuals who helped him take at least one of his innovative company ideas to market, and several individuals he will do business with throughout the course of his life.  Matt is just o