ITP, Strategy & Experience Design - Business Project

Understanding Alumni for Aalto's Advancement & Corporate Engagement

Teamwork by: Eva Gallegos, Onni Anttoora, Lien Nguyen, and Matthew Roblin

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Aalto ITP, Strategy & Experience Design  – Business Project

What is ITP?

Aalto University Information Technology Program (ITP) is a summer minor study module which brings together students of business, design and technological backgrounds from all over the world to solve digital business problems. The program includes three specialization tracks with the business project course being the core for all of them.

The objective of the business project is for students to apply the theory learned during the conceptual courses, develop the skills of project management, research methods, and create concepts that solve a real-life challenge given by companies. During the summer, students plan and conduct the project while developing a variety of work-life and personal teamworking skills such as client relations management, meeting practices, reporting, and visual and oral presentation (Aalto School of Business, 2019).

Specialization track

Strategy & Experience Design (SED) track consists of workshops, group work, lectures and other events. It is designed to provide students with an understanding of basic methods for producing and designing digital media products and services, concept and design processes, and strategic decisions related to digital media. SED courses and business projects are focused on strategic design processes, user experience design and visual prototyping in digital services.

SED track

ITP courses
  • Strategic Design
  • User Experience Design
  • Prototyping and Implementation
  • ITP Business Project

The Problem

Aalto Advancement and Corporate Engagement (ADCO) department wanted to carry out a study to better understand their donors and Alumni audience and find ways to improve engagement with them. ADCO recognized that they a full understanding of student to alumni journey in order to improve engagement and influence giving. ADCO wanted us to find out how we can improve the experience given to their current and future donors.

The Solution

We identified key alumni segments and designed user personas and user journeys with actionable touchpoints, proposed communication guidelines, as well as gave workshops and presented to the entire ADCO department valuable insights, future recommendations, and provided a full report to the commissioner. The results provided, enable ADCO to see the pain points and opportunities to provide better engagement and long-lasting relationship to current and future alumni.


We finished the project in 3 design sprints which consisted of different stages of strategic design research, along with a design thinking approach along the way. We used qualitative semi-structured interviews and conducted a survey that was sent to 4 000 alumni with equal distribution of people from all different age groups to get a representative set of responses. We received 400 responses to the survey, which were then connected to CRM data on the respondents based on their email address.

The alumni survey focused on four main areas:

1. Previous participation in different types of alumni engagement.
2. Interest in participating in different types of alumni engagement.
3. What the alumni see as important regarding alumni engagement.
4. What should be improved to make them more interested.

Based on the survey data we created a segmentation of the different alumni groups and developed two tentative factors that we think define the behaviors of the segments: group-orientation vs. individual orientation and supporting the community vs. benefiting from the community.

Following this, we created user personas of the different alumni group segments. We then mapped out student/alumni journies and touchpoints for each segmentation, followed by communication guidelines to them. During this process, we also held in-person workshops with the ADCO team.

With the outcome results of the project, Aalto University’s ADCO department can provide the alumni with more tailored content and various participation possibilities, and eventually create a culture where giving time and donations would be considered to be a common practice among the alumni.

Key deliverables included:

  • Gathering data on alumni
  • Defining segments
  • Creating personas
  • Creating donor communication guidelines
  • Mapping out the current alumni journey
  • Identifying potential new touchpoint concepts
  • Mapping out an ideal alumni journey


In regards to this project (alongside our other courses), I learned that strategic design is not so much an individual skill, but as an organizational capability. Before going into this programme, my assumption of what design was a whole lot different. I was able to take from this experience the basic understanding of methods for producing and designing products and services, concept and design processes, user experience design, and strategic decisions related to digital media.

Working on a real-life project like this, based on the needs of collaborating companies helped me develop a variety of work-life and personal teamworking skills such as client relations management, meeting practices, reporting, and visual and oral presentation. I’m confident my experienced gained from this is transferable and I’m grateful for this opportunity. I especially got to make great close connections with my diverse team, other classmates, and amazing lecturers.