The new initiative comes at a school known for its incredibly loyal and close-knit alumni base (see “The Best B-School Alumni Networks in the U.S.“). Last year, a record 70.5% of Tuck’s alumni made gifts to the school. It is the highest percentage of annual giving of any business school in the world and well above the 20% average for the top ten U.S. schools. At Harvard Business School, for example, about 27% of alums gave back to the school. Just three months into the new year, Tuck already reached a 46% participation rate, “eclipsing what all the other business schools will do by yearend,” says David Celone, director of development and annual giving.
FINDING THE ALUM WHO SPEAKS MANDARIN AND HAS EXPERIENCE OUTSOURCING IN CHINA
myTUCK also boasts a powerful search engine that allows any alum to quickly search the school’s alumni network and identify Tuckies by company, industry, location, languages spoken, membership on non-profit boards and international work experience. A Tuck MBA who wants to tap the knowledge of a fellow Tuckie who has professional experience setting up manufacturing in China, for example, can find that person in the database and immediately make contact through myTUCK.
“You can find alumni who can speak Mandarin, or who have work experience in Brazil, or who are on non-profit boards that help disadvantaged young people,” says des Cognets. Also similar to Facebook, there are privacy settings to allow alums to keep certain info protected.
One of the more entertaining features of the new site is the intimate portraits of Tuck faculty created for the new site. They include personal photographs of professors and answers to such questions as “What book are you currently reading?,” “What’s your favorite maxim or proverb?,” “Who has been inspirational to you?,” “If you were not a professor what would you be?” and “What is one thing most Tuck alums don’t know about you but should?”
FACULTY PROFILES PORTRAY PROFESSORS IN A HIGHLY PERSONAL LIGHT
Marketing professor Kusum Ailawadi’s profile includes a photograph of her lounging on the floor of her home with her two yellow Labrador retrievers and another dancing with her husband, along with a favorite Calvin and Hobbes’ comic strip. Finance professor Robert Hansen’s profile features a photograph with a trophy catch on a fishing trip. “It approximates the level of intimacy of the relationships that Tuck faculty have with our students,” explains des Cognets.
The school used Digital Flannel, a graphic design firm in nearby Woodstock, VT, to create the look and feel of the new platform and then adapted a platform built by iModules, a Kansas City-based firm providing software for the educational and non-profit markets, and, in the words of des Cognets, “stretched it in ways it has never been stretched before.”
The site will require far more content than Tuck normally produces so that des Cognets is working with Tuck’s communications staff to pump out more regular updates, particularly of faculty insights.