Class Gift Comes from Three Campuses

Image by Beth Rooney

Expert Advice: In raising money for the class gift, students in the Executive
MBA Program heard about the tax advantages of philanthropic donations from
Michael Gibbs, clinical professor of economics.

Chicago Booth’s inaugural global class gift campaign not only marked the first time students at the London and Singapore campuses raised funds for the school, it also spurred students in the Executive MBA Program North America to demonstrate unprecedented support with 100 percent participation.

Students in XP-78 collected $37,000. Those in Europe in the class of EXP-14 raised $6,700 with a participation rate of 35 percent, while students in Asia in the class of AXP-8 raised $12,300 with 87 percent of the class participating. “This was Chicago Booth’s first global campaign, and these are great results, particularly since many of cultures outside the United States do not have a tradition of academic philanthropy,” said Tracey Pavlishin, ’06, senior director, alumni affairs and events.

Getting 100 percent participation from XP-78 required a variety of approaches, said Prabhakar Reddy, ’09 (XP-78), a member of the class gift committee. Some students responded after clinical professor of economics Michael Gibbs spoke about the importance of the gift and answered tax questions. Many were drawn to the auction of a flag bearing the new Chicago Booth logo, which all 90 students signed, an event that raised $3,000. A Valentine’s Day raffle helped raise last-minute donations. Reddy was glad to be part of the effort. “As a class, there was a certain chemistry. Everyone knew they were bringing something to the table. And we’re committed to the school and the branding,” he said.

The class of AXP-8 “is one of close relationships, a keen desire for learning, and a strong sense of camaraderie,” said Sue Breniman, ’09 (AXP-8). The high participation rate was driven in part by the class gift committee members from 14 countries; in part by the class’s soccer team, who strategized about how to get good participation; and a chart in the lunchroom visibly measuring the class’s progress. “It was the spirit of teamwork and pride in achievement that helped us reach our goal,” she said.

Students at the London campus were motivated by alumni who made it a point to speak with them, including Bruce Rigal, ’89, and Robert Wardrop, ’96 (EXP-1). “They told us what it’s like to be a Booth alumnus—why they give money and are involved in the school,” said Connie Chan, ’09 (EXP-14). “This encouraged students to think about philanthropy and why we should participate in the class gift.”

Students in the Full-Time MBA Program challenged each other to donate despite the tough economic climate. The class of 2009 raised $26,750 with 95 percent participating. “We had a great committee devoted to the class gift’s success, and having the challenge of exceeding last year’s participation despite a downturn in the economy spurred everyone to action,” said Becky Abraham, ’09, committee co-chair.

In the case of the $9,100 donated by students in the Evening MBA and Weekend MBA programs, a 23 percent increase in student participation followed a cap-and-gown celebration. Associate dean George Andrews said active students donate more. “Five years ago, we had eight student groups.Today we have 30! On any given Saturday, Gleacher is a beehive of activity, with student groups facilitating speakers, case competitions, and corporate meet and greets. All this has driven up student involvement, satisfaction, and thus student giving.”—P.H.

Class of 1988 Remembers Alumnus with Student Award

The Deans’ Awards Committee announced the recipients of the 2009 Global Awareness Award. Lisa Stefanac, ’09; Pooja Rajput, ’09; and evening MBA student Nitesh Jain were the first to be recognized with the annual award given in honor of Yuji Goya, ’88, and funded by donations from the alumni network in Japan and the class of 1988.

The $2,500 award acknowledges “an acute awareness of the global nature of the business community” in students as well as “a desire to break through cultural barriers to promote international understanding,” according to the award’s description. It is given to three students from the Full-Time, Evening, or Weekend MBA Programs in memory of Goya, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11 after assisting colleagues safely out of the building.

Rajput is an assistant vice president at the Bank of New York Mellon. Jain is a senior electrical engineer at Motorola concentrating in accounting, finance, and marketing.—K.F.

Chicago Booth Adds to Its Online Networking Tools

Chicago Booth has a new presence on Facebook, the online social networking site. Within two months of becoming available, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business page drew more than 1,190 members, according to Rachel Nash, associate director, alumni affairs and development.

The page offers different features than those of a Facebook group, functioning more as a standard page for individuals by allowing people to add comments and post information. Messages then alert other members, or fans, of updates to the page.

“This is a fun and convenient way to communicate to anyone who is interested in our events, programs, and information,” Nash said. “It is a great way to get general information about opportunities and recent stories,” she added.

The Facebook page launched in May followed last summer’s creation of an umbrella group for LinkedIn. Upon its one-year anniversary in July, the Chicago Booth Alumni and Student Network, which consolidated approximately 60 Chicago-affiliated groups previously available on LinkedIn, had more than 6,700 members. Membership to the Facebook page is open to alumni, students, prospective students, friends of Chicago Booth, and staff. To see the site on Facebook, visit—K.F.

Alumni Reunions Take a Global Spin

Over 150 alumni gathered in New York, London, and Singapore for mini-reunions hosted by Alumni Affairs and Development in June. In each city, the networking event and opportunity to refresh old connections attracted attendees from several class years and from all three MBA programs.

The all-day affair in Singapore included a presentation from Thomas Chevrier, AM ’00, PhD ’07, on the state of the world economy before guests moved to the Glass Lounge for a seated dinner with live music from a jazz trio.

In New York, alumni met for a cocktail reception held on the rooftop garden of 230 Fifth.

In London, after a reception on campus, alumni continued the festivities with dinner at the nearby Coq d’Argent. Three alumni offered student internship opportunities at the end of the evening.—K.F.

Alumni Feedback Prompts Website Refresh

Insights from a survey of more than 4,000 alumni, followed by in-depth user experience testing, has led the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development to refresh its website.

Expected to launch later this year, has been reorganized to make it easier for alumni to network, find upcoming events and continuing education opportunities, and give back to Chicago Booth through volunteer opportunities and gifts.

“Our goal was to increase the value of the network and feeling of connectedness with the school and to provide more services that alumni value,” said Tracey Pavlishin, ’06, senior director, alumni affairs and events.

Booth staff followed the 2007 survey with user-experience testing of over 30 alumni. Respondents wanted an easier way to make a donation as well as a chance to see how their money supports the school, so the new site will feature profiles of donors and recipients.

It also will give users a faster way to connect with other alumni in the Booth community and see opportunities for networking. The new site will make it easier to keep up with news from the research centers, the latest issue of Capital Ideas, or the newest podcast. Users also will be able to quickly have more access to upcoming events, from social gatherings to courses alumni can take.

“We focused on providing easy access to key services, shifting the emphasis to the community, marketing the network, and keeping philanthropy front and center,” Pavlishin said.—P.H.

Chicago Dinner Draws International Crowd of Alumni and Students

Image by Beth Rooney

Scott Meadow

More than 100 Chicago Booth alumni from around the world met with an international mix of MBA students and faculty in Chicago last May for the Global Initiatives Dinner.

The event, hosted after Management Conference, brought together alumni from all three cabinets of the Global Advisory Board, members of the Council on Chicago Booth, and faculty from across the university for a relaxing evening at the Standard Club. The crowd numbered about 260, said Caroline Karr, ’88, associate dean of global initiatives.

“The electricity in the room was unbelievable. It was packed, and people networked very organically,” she said.

Among those who attended were Michael Polsky, ’87, who expressed his enthusiasm that evening. “The excitement, energy, and enthusiasm surrounding the events of the last few days have been astounding. This is the first time I’ve seen the Chicago Booth community come together in one place with such magnitude,” he told the crowd. “My hope is that we not let the momentum of the last few days wither away as we go back to our own individual and busy worlds. As we strive to be the best business school globally on all dimensions, it will require that we, the alumni and students of this great university, each individually and proactively take steps to strengthen the community and share responsibility for supporting the university in its important work to maintain greatness on the global stage.”

Speakers included Marvin Zonis, professor emeritus of business administration; Janet Ortega, ’81; Min-Hwa Kupfer, ’84; Jesse Wang; and Scott Meadow, clinical professor of entrepreneurship and faculty director of global initiatives.—P.H.

Changes in alumni club leadership

Four alumni groups have announced new leadership.

President Swapan Jha, ’04
Outgoing co-president Matt Calistri, ’99

Los Angeles
President Audra Lalley, ’98
Outgoing president Nina Huang, ’04 (XP-73)

New York
Co-presidents David Hogan, ’02 (AXP-1), and Heidi Goldstein, ’92
Outgoing president Sabena Arora, ’01

United Kingdom
President Ulrike Koeppl, ’08 (EXP-13)
Outgoing president Franck Viort, ’02

Last Updated 5/14/09