Class Agent Spotlight: Keith Bachman and Ty Eggemeyer

 Keith Bachman 1989    Ty Eggemeyer 1989 2

Keith Bachman (MBA '89)
and Ty Eggemeyer (MBA '89)

Why did you become a class agent?

Keith: I became a class agent for two reasons. First, I wanted to do something different. I have always focused on my family and work, and I was looking for a different outlet or different pursuit. Second, I wanted to take on a task that I was passionate about, and Darden fit that requirement. 

Ty: First, because Keith asked me to and it was the right time for me to devote some significant time to the School. Keith has shouldered the work load for some time and being class agent is certainly not a one person job. I have always wanted to give back to Darden so as my working career has wound down, it seemed like the perfect time to give something back to an institution that has meant so much in my life. Also, it has allowed me to reconnect with a lot of classmates and to catch up with them on their lives and families.

Why is giving back to Darden important to you?

Keith: I think Darden provides a top quality education, and I believe in the "product." Therefore, I would like to give back and try to help Darden sustain and improve the quality of education.

Ty: Darden was very instrumental in shaping my personal and professional life, providing me with the skills and confidence to succeed, so I "owe" Darden. In order for Darden to remain a top business school, it is very important for alumni to support the School with a high level of giving to the Annual Fund. We are Darden, even though we have long since graduated.

Why do you give to the Darden Annual Fund?

Keith: I understand that annual giving is an important part of Darden’s financial resources, so I am happy to give.

Ty: The Darden Annual Fund is a very important source of funds for the dean as it allows him to fund short term initiatives that he otherwise couldn’t meet. It is so important to give the dean this flexibility so that he can execute his strategy for building Darden into a sustainable world class organization.

What has been your most successful fundraising strategy?

Keith: First, both Ty and I have discovered that personal outreach, or personal touch, is key to annual giving. We raised our numbers a lot in fiscal year 2012 by reaching our classmates by phone calls or personal e-mails. Such a strategy takes a lot of time, but does increase class giving. Second, having more than one person act as class agent is key. I think having three or four people act as class agents is optimal. I do not think this is a one person job. Third, I think having class agents that you enjoy working with is important. I have as a partner, Ty Eggemeyer, whom I think is nothing short of awesome to work with. 

Ty: To connect with people on a personal basis by writing individual personalized e-mails and making phone calls. This takes a lot of time, but personal outreach is important as people don’t respond well to form letters. Keith and I realized that very quickly. Most people want to help and once they understand the importance and the benefit of giving, they are receptive. Also, it is becoming apparent that more class agents per class are appropriate as individuals respond better to a fundraiser if they know them well.

How do you talk to your classmates about giving?

Keith: Communicating that giving is important for the annual operating budget, and the percentage of contribution matters in the school rankings.

Ty: It is real easy today as the job being done by Dean Bruner and the team over the past five years is nothing short of spectacular. People want to see a measurable benefit for their giving, and the success and enhanced reputation of the School provides them that. Secondly, they need to understand the importance of their personal gift and the importance of the Darden Fund to the dean for executing his strategy and that is also easily articulated.

What have you found is the best way to stay connected with your classmates?

Ty: Using e-mail and LinkedIn. I think it is probably easier to write to people today, but more difficult to effectively communicate in a world of over e-mailing. 

What is one word to describe your Darden experience?

Keith: Enjoyable.

Ty: Fulfilling, Life-changing. That is two words, but Darden taught us not to be constrained by artificial boundaries.

What is your greatest memory from Darden?

Keith: The statistical analysis that would follow our weekly bowling in the second semester of our second year. And the fact that John Parsons was always last in every category.

Ty: Writing the Revco D.S. case with Greg Graves under the tutelage of Dean Bruner. And Greg (thanks, Greg) sending me black balloons on my 30th birthday. Also our weekly Sunday evening study group with Bill, Andrea, Lee and Al that would sometimes turn into a Lego building contest with my daughter as we discussed the cases.

Which Darden professor influenced you the most?

Keith: Sherwood Frey was the best teacher I have had of any school I attended. He was good in an important and complicated subject (stats or QA) and enjoyable to learn from.

Ty: The trio of Dick Brownlee, Sherwood Fry and Bob Bruner. In hindsight they made teaching look effortless. They were tireless, exceptional and very approachable. Although, I have to penalize Dick Brownlee for suckering me into running the Darden Store.

What sets Darden apart from other graduate business schools?

Keith: Sense of community and a nurturing environment. 

Ty: The quality and level of teaching where Darden still ranks number one. Interacting and working with top professors. Also, the sense of community that envelopes Darden. This is evidenced by Darden grads maintaining a lifelong bond.

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