Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business is an active community that holds live events throughout the year. With orientations, admit weekends, and six to eight conferences each school season, they serve the student body and host new visitors from the extended network and public.
Neil Kulkarni, a second-year Tuck MBA candidate, sits on the student government and serves as a liaison between the IT infrastructure team and the students. His team had tried an event app to run their conferences but weren’t happy with it.
“The user experience was very, very poor,” Kulkarni said — for both event attendees and conference organizers, who had to upload event information manually into a clunky interface. “I started looking into what other solutions were out there.”
The search was on for a new event app.
Kulkarni needed an app with delightful simplicity for high adoption, and at the same time, a full and flexible feature set to support a variety of event types throughout the year. He also hoped for a system that was so easy to set up that he could entrust individual conference organizers to manage it, regardless of their technical expertise — this would take the burden off Kulkarni and the IT team to support each event themselves.
Branding was another major priority. They needed a platform that reflected Tuck branding consistently: a whitelabeled, go-to Tuck School of Business events app for every event held on campus.
After a summer of demos from Attendify and other vendors, they chose Attendify’s multi-event app. “There was lot of value compared to most other vendors,” Kulkarni said. His top reason for choosing Attendify was the outstanding features, especially the option to white-label the app and its self-service setup. Additionally, Kulkarni noted the multi-event payment structure was ideal for the organization since they’d pay for events as they occurred throughout the year. “It was one of the biggest selling points that convinced our administration to fund this. You’re not putting in a ten or twenty-thousand-dollar upfront investment. It’s easy to test.
Dartmouth’s MBA program pays for Attendify’s multi-event app, and event organizers pay for their individual event fees. “As soon as we get a request from a conference that wants to use it, I sit down with them for 15 minutes. I show them how to log on, create a new event, and walk them through the backend interface to set it up,” said Kulkarni. “Then I hand it over completely. It’s very self-service, even for them.” A few days before the conference, Kulkarni checks in to make sure everything is ready to go.
Organizers direct attendees to go to the Android or iOS app store and download the “Tuck School of Business events” app. Participants log in, find their event, and check in.
They can then browse the conference program, pick the presentations they want to go to, and create their a personalized schedule. A LinkedIn integration shows the professional details of the attendees, and they can take notes on the speakers and people they meet. The app also shows maps of the Tuck campus and surrounding area.
Organizers use push notifications to alert attendees to time-sensitive events. “Being able to schedule a bunch of advance push notifications simplifies the day-of stuff for a lot of these events,” Kulkarni said. “Being in Hanover, New Hampshire, we have a lot of logistics issues around coordinating rides. There are no cabs or Ubers up here, so we need to make sure people are on time for bus pickups, for example.”
The organizers can poll attendees for conference feedback, and they also follow up to ask how people liked the app. “We’ve gotten positive feedback, very positive feedback,” said Kulkarni.
One of the most-loved aspects of the app was the consistent branding.
Tuck School of Business will use their new app’s data collection as a launching pad to pursue bigger, better event sponsorships. “Tangible and specific metrics are a huge selling point to increase sponsorship and fundraising,” Kulkarni said. “Rather than just offering to put a company’s name on the back of a t-shirt, we can now say, ‘here’s the number of impressions you can expect, here’s a push notification you can send.’”
The team would also like to explore whether they can expand the Attendify platform to support a social calendar that stays open year-round.