BY MANDY IVERSON
Gophers of the Last Decade (GOLD), which connects with recent undergraduate alumni, has been exceedingly busy the last several months.
The GOLD board has increased its reach among students by engaging seniors through the Life After College series and GMAT prep events. It also welcomed freshmen on behalf of the alumni community during freshmen orientation for the first time. In 2014, GOLD plans to incorporate a touch-point with sophomores to sustain that engagement and awareness. Also, increased opportunities for alumni and students to engage, in addition to the implementation of an Undergraduate Ambassador program, will assist in making the alumni community a familiar part of the student experience.
Perhaps one of GOLD’s greatest successes in the last few months was serving as a leader in a University-wide “recent alumni” event. This collaborative effort between 10 University of Minnesota colleges brought together recent alumni from a variety of majors.
In addition to expanding its reach among current students and alumni from other programs, GOLD also took steps to improve existing programs and track success. GOLD conducted its first survey targeted at alumni of the last 10 years and finished with a high completion rate. The collected data, both quantitative and qualitative, reflects thoughts on alumni programming, communications, financial giving, school pride, and brand awareness. Additionally, the survey identified individuals willing to participate in a recent alumni focus group. In December, GOLD hosted two focus groups, which provided an opportunity to further explore these topics. Attendance at GOLD events continues to rise, and the third annual GOLD Soiree, a growing tradition for alumni and seniors, saw a 40 percent increase in attendance from last year.
Connecting with MBA Alumni
The focus on recent alumni is a priority on the MBA side as well. The Carlson School’s recently revived MBA Alumni Board, made up of recent graduates from the Full-Time, Part-Time, and Executive MBA programs, met for a strategic planning workshop during the first week of the new year. The board will lead initiatives to connect recent MBA alumni to one other, current students, and Carlson School faculty and staff.