Duke University's Fuqua School of Business is a top 10 business school that differentiates itself not only through its strong academics and industry ties, but also its truly global approach and emphasis on community.
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Fuqua has fiercely loyal students and alumni, but finding ways to harness that loyalty into continued interaction with the school is not easy. In particular, encouraging students and alums to continue to learn more about the school and to donate time and resources post-graduation has proven challenging.
By creating a digital version of a popular real-world event—Campout—SolutionSet and Fuqua "gamified" various student and alumni tasks. In the "real" Campout, students spend 72 hours camping out in a parking lot and checking in with referees at all times of the day and night in the hopes of earning the right to purchase tickets to home basketball games. For Virtual Campout, SolutionSet built PHP/Symfony-based customized web application that included a front-end game interface and a back-end reporting infrastructure. To play the online game, students and alums "check in" by completing various tasks, which qualify them for a prize lottery that includes everything from basketball tickets to an amazing trip. Virtual Campout tapped into a nostalgia around the Fuqua experience and that nostalgia combined with prize incentives made tasks such as "liking" the Fuqua Facebook page, updating employment info, or donating conference room space to Fuqua recruiters less of a chore for the school's various stakeholders. The back-end database and reporting infrastructure also enabled the Fuqua marketing team to track which activities players were drawn to, which quizzes and tasks fared best, and how students and alums preferred to interact, both with each other and with the school.
Virtual Campout has been a huge success. By the end of the 2011 game, more than 11,000 actions had been taken to volunteer for, learn about or otherwise support Fuqua. Campout 2011 had campers from every academic program the school has ever offered, including those no longer available. Fuqua gathered more than 600 testimonials, 85 HR contacts, 300 alumni record updates, 125 new candidates for Executive Education, 45 alumni magazine profile submissions and hundreds of benefits—including corporate conference rooms being donated for information sessions.
The greatest testament to the game's success are not only in the accolades garnered from the Financial Times and PR industry news, but also from other departments at Duke, many of which are now looking for their own ways to use school traditions to tap into the gamification trend.