LinkedIn, the world's largest online professional network, has teamed up with several higher education institutions to pioneer a career development program for college students, the fastest growing demographic on the site.

According to John Hill, higher education evangelist at LinkedIn, "There are currently 20 million students and recent graduates from around the world on LinkedIn today, and we couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to help these aspiring professionals manage and build their career paths."

This opportunity, called The College Pilot Program, was launched this past summer when LinkedIn announced its partnerships with Michigan State University, University of California at San Diego, University of Rochester, the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, Syracuse University, and Hult International Business School. LinkedIn will provide these institutions with various tools and special access to its products, enabling them to better support students and alumni with career development services.

The program also will help participating schools to build more robust alumni networks. "Some of the main reasons students choose a school include what jobs they can land after they graduate and how easily they will remain connected to other alumni," says Erik Qualman, professor of digital marketing at Hult International Business School and the global vice president of digital marketing for EF Education First. "LinkedIn allows these strong career connections."

Qualman explains that the College Pilot Program will reveal beneficial career information such as the leading industries in which students find jobs, the top hiring employers, and the most popular regions where students relocate post-graduation—without the need for tedious and time-consuming student and alumni survey administration. "The program also will allow us to follow that career break progression much easier," he adds.

The College Pilot Program is currently a closed group. Hult's various international campuses—in London, Boston, Dubai, San Francisco, São Paulo, and Shanghai—made its partnership with the strongly connected global social network seem even more viable. Additionally, the tech-savvy business school was able to move quickly to get the pilot program off the ground within a matter of months.