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May 2002
Graduates united
www.graduatesunited.co.uk

www.graduatesunited.co.uk
A new website for graduates has been set up by two former Nottingham Trent University students.

Platform reports

The website is the creation of Emma Holland, a criminology graduate, and Amanda de Jong Cleyndert, a former Business Economics student.

The website, www.graduatesunited.co.uk, was inspired by the well established website Friends Reunited.

It is the only one of its kind in the UK. The students began constructing the site after they realised that people were registering their universities on the Friends Reunited site.

"As we both have full time jobs, we had to spend evenings and weekends carrying out a number of activities and have each put some capital into the project."
Amanda de Jong Cleyndert, website designer
Amanda says: "On Friends Reunited you can only search by the year you finished. That’s fine for schools where you have between 100 and 500 people in each year, but not for universities where thousands of people join a university each year."

"Searching through these types of lists is not only tedious but it’s very difficult to recognise people due to the sheer volume of people."

Between the two of them they carried out market analysis and discovered that there was not a site that catered just for graduate reunions.

Amanda and a friend at her graduation
Amanda and a friend at her graduation
Amanda explains that the website, which they began developing in August 2000, was put together during their spare time: "As we both have full time jobs, we had to spend evenings and weekends carrying out a number of activities and have each put some capital into the project."

"It was difficult to carry out everything in our spare time, which is why we’ve taken about three months to build the site."

The pair of them set up a Limited Company for the website, called Graduates United Ltd, in order to be able to take revenue from the site.

They also had to put together a business plan, database design, web site construction and data protection investigation.

Amanda says it wasn't easy: "The idea was massively complex. It sounds simple as a concept but it really became difficult once we started doing some research. Also, we had to learn many of the skills along the way."

"The idea was massively complex...We had to learn many of the skills along the way."
Amanda de Jong Cleyndert, website designer
The website is designed so that you can look for people by university, course titles, hall of residence and name.

Amanda continues: "The search is very advanced. The halls of residence are proving to be very popular. It took a long time to gather up data regarding every university in the UK or college that supported degrees, the possible course titles and the names of the halls of residence."

The site also provides a facility in which you can write and view comments about universities, something the designers hope will be useful to A Level students.

"The message board is worth a visit too, as it offers forums for people to leave messages – anything from trying to find someone to graduates selling their textbooks."

So far, NTU has been getting many positive comments, especially about the nightlife.

Amanda explains that undergraduates can also register on to the site and add their details and comments about their university.

They have also had graduates from Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the USA, who did placements at British universities, registering as well as people who graduated years ago, as early as the 1960s.

In the first ten days of the website opening they had almost 600 hits, mostly due to viral communication - friends sending the link to their friends.

Amanda says that they are planning to link with graduate recruitment sites as well as introduce features such as book exchanges, email/chat forums.

People can register their details free of charge and can view all other graduates details on the website for no fee.

A £5 membership fee, that lasts for 12 months, is required if you want contact users on the website by email.

For further information contact either Emma or Amanda on General@graduatesunited.fsbusiness.co.uk

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