Imperial College London is home to over 17,000 students and 8,000 staff. Each year, the College awards more than 6,700 degrees in graduation events at London's celebrated Royal Albert Concert Hall. Managing these events is no easy task. To help streamline the process, Imperial College has the biggest graduation team in Europe.
Even with event experts on the job, however, increasing student enrollment paired with legacy paper processes has created challenges. Here's a look at how idloom helped Imperial College London improve the graduation experience.
The Situation: More Graduates, More Complexity
According to Joanna Stachowicz, Event Manager, Graduation at Imperial College London, "The biggest challenge was that we didn't have a system that was able to register grads and take payments at the same time." To manage payments, the College was using a payments portal managed by another supplier, but it wasn't bespoke to the school's needs.
"Our other problem," says Stachowicz, "was that many processes were very time-consuming." For example, thousands of tickets for graduation events had to be printed and stuffed into envelopes manually. What's more, assigned seating means tickets aren't interchangeable. If the wrong ticket went into the wrong envelope, it had to be returned and restuffed.
The result was an increasingly complex, time-consuming event process.
The Solution: Automation and Accuracy with idloom
With idloom, the College was able to streamline both payment and guest data collection. "The platform has an integrated payment system," says Stachowicz. "It also allows us to create a website with information about processes, terms and conditions, and how grads can modify their booking."
Working with idloom also helped the College add a new feature to their graduation ceremonies: recorded pronunciation of graduate names. Previously, grads would write down a phonetic pronunciation of their name on a card prior to the event, which was then given to the announcer to read when grads crossed the stage. But with a high percentage of international students, this method still led to some mispronounced names, which was frustrating for grads and their families, who often travel from around the world for this event.
With idloom, grads are now able to upload an audio file of them pronouncing their own name that the announcer can use to improve accuracy.
The Results: Building a Better Grad Experience
As noted by Stachowicz, "The way we work is slightly different than a regular client because the graduate is getting all the information, not the guests. With idloom, we were able to make bespoke, custom changes that improved our processes."
One area of significant improvement was the alumni consent data-gathering process. Previously, grads chose to opt in or opt out of data gathering. They were then presented with five options for data gathering and asked to select which types of data collection they didn't want. The result was a paradox: Grads would opt in to consent and then refuse all data gathering. With idloom, Imperial College created a new process that allows students to select a minimum of one and up to five options.
Paperwork processes were also improved. By digitising grad tickets, Stachowicz says the grad team saved about a week's worth of time. Meanwhile, the use of PDFs for Visa letters, which are necessary for many graduates' family members, allowed for the accurate and automated population of form data, in turn reducing error risk and freeing up time for staff to tackle other event projects.
For Imperial College London, growing grad events made it challenging to deliver the ideal experience for grads and their families. With custom-built solutions from idloom, the College is on track to streamline event management, simplify ticketing, and ensure grads get the day they deserve.