Presentation on theme: "November 2007. Global Strategy Group, Inc. Global Strategy Group Methodology GSG Conducted 10 focus groups in three cities in September and October –New."— Presentation transcript:
Global Strategy Group, Inc. Global Strategy Group Methodology GSG Conducted 10 focus groups in three cities in September and October –New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta The focus groups were conducted among a mix of alumni, segmented by the following categories: –Graduate alumni vs. undergraduate alumni –Older alumni vs. younger alumni –Engaged/Involved alumni vs. unengaged alumni
Global Strategy Group, Inc. Global Strategy Group Questions Now that we’re done with the focus groups, we’re about to embark on a quantitative survey –Online survey of students and alumni But before we do that… we’d like to hear from the folks in this room. And then we’ll tell you what the word is on the street. –In politics, we’d call all of you “prime voters” – the people who vote in every single election, even for dog catcher. And for today, it’s a low turnout election where your voices are the ones that matter. Engaged alumni are our greatest asset
Global Strategy Group, Inc. Global Strategy Group Key Findings: Engaged Alums Overall, alumni, despite their level of engagement or school affiliation are generally positive about their experiences at Columbia –Engaged students clearly had the best impressions. –All are still in touch with many friends from their school days and consider that their most tangible connection to the school. Engaged alumni are driven by their sense of loyalty and an obligation to give back. –They believe other schools, particularly those with more vigorous sports programs have more connected alumni. –Other Ivy League schools are also viewed as having more engaged alums. While many have been to the website, they indicate that CAA does not need to be everything to all people; they utilize Facebook and Craig’s List for many networking functions and really are looking to CAA to help streamline communications and deploy relevant information about events and activities. –First and foremost, they believe that Columbia needs to improve its website and email newsletters to look more user-friendly and sophisticated. –That being said, younger alumni, in particular, do utilize social networking sites, so Columbia can take advantage of already existing networks instead of “reinventing the wheel” to reach out.
Global Strategy Group, Inc. Global Strategy Group Key Findings: Non-Engaged Non-engaged alumni feel little if no sense of obligation; some seem to harbor resentment at Columbia’s lack of guidance and community and suggest that the only way to foster committed alumni is to improve the experience for current students. –They suggest that the school promotes a very individualistic culture (a positive and a negative) making it difficult to create a sense of community and connectedness. –They fault the school for a lack of guidance both during school and with career services. (Engaged alumni concur that Columbia’s career guidance is lackluster at best). –Despite feeling disconnected to the University as a whole, some unengaged alums do feel a connection to a specific piece of their experience there (e.g. affinity group, team, etc.). Reaching out through those channels could be helpful to pull some alumni back into the fold. They suggest that alumni must be highly motivated to stay connected and that there is a lot of information one must sift through to get/stay involved.
Global Strategy Group, Inc. Global Strategy Group NYC New Yorkers had a few particular things they mentioned of note. –Some mentioned the “club” factor – sharing a club inside of the Princeton club was, for some, a symbol of 2d tier status in the City. –Many New York alumni indicate that most of their friends from Columbia still live in the area; they are connected to Columbia (albeit informally) through their own social networks; they are not craving an opportunity to meet and interact with other alumni. Rather, they are more drawn to events with a professional/networking and/or educational focus. –Alumni in New York follow Columbia in the news, but communications around key issues (e.g. Iranian President, Manhattanville) from the school are also valued and expected.
Global Strategy Group, Inc. Global Strategy Group Los Angeles Most participants admitted that they have less loyalty (even among engaged alumni) than they see among alumni at other schools, but many don’t really see that as a problem. They say that if they wanted school spirit, they would have sought out a school that had it. They talk about a University experience that is overshadowed by NYC. –For many, they were not NYers so the NY experience overwhelmed the Columbia experience. There was also not a unifying reason for engaging the university. –Some wanted to be able to network, some wanted a mentor or someone to give them advice, particularly about Hollywood. –Others would be interested in mentoring, interviewing or organizing events, but had the sense that the University wasn’t really making much of an effort to help. –Regardless of the specific event, forging an intellectual connection is a major draw.
Global Strategy Group, Inc. Global Strategy Group Atlanta Atlanta’s wonderful regional club was a major point of discussion – and satisfaction Otherwise, the Columbia brand was seen as particularly weak: –It was as if Columbia was a place where the Gamecocks played Many grew up outside of Atlanta and have found it difficult to adjust to living in Atlanta from a cultural perspective. –Columbia brings together the familiar – that’s being with other out-of-towners and especially other people who are also looking for something engaging and intellectual. –Many said that being outside of NY made it very hard to “connect” to Columbia.
Global Strategy Group, Inc. Global Strategy Group Immediate Action Items Suggested Must engage current students or recent graduates and inculcate early on an obligation among students, once you graduate, to help the next generation. –The underlying attitude is that engagement is a two-way street and that Columbia probably needs to make the first overtures. Better recognition of services for currently engaged graduates – if they do an interview for a prospective student, they need to be followed up and told whether the student got in. And a simple thank you would help too. Better coordination between schools for career services Dive into the social networking world of Facebook and MySpace Permanent Columbia email addresses (already in works) More events like the Dead Sea Scrolls where people can bring their kids and learn.