Accelerating Corporate Engagement at Scale

How to accelerate institutional corporate relationships at scale.

Sethuraman Panchanathan
Arizona State University

Grace O'Sullivan
Arizona State University

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Joseph Huang
Arizona State University

Nicole Woodrick
Arizona State University

Background and Objectives
Often, companies do not have access to the unique ideas, research and brainpower present at universities that will help them fully optimize their current markets or expand into adjacent markets. At the same time, universities struggle to translate their research into products. Arizona State University (ASU) has found a solution to this long-standing problem. ASU’s Department of Corporate Engagement and Strategic Partnerships has established a novel concierge model of engagement with industry partners, serving as the university’s central hub for corporate relations and as a bastion of economic growth in the region

The Business Concierge service is the internal and external portal to all that ASU has to offer, mobilizing departments across all five campuses to provide companies an unprecedented network to the largest, most innovative university in United States. The Business Concierge connects companies on the topics of recruiting, philanthropy and research. Corporate partners who have a strategic alliance with ASU receive even more benefits, such as a dedicated Institutional Relationship Manager, where a single person acts as the company’s guide throughout the entire university.

In vast majority of the cases, the main role of the Business Concierge is to make introductions between the company and the ASU unit that houses the products or services that the company desires and persistently drive opportunities to completion. Only specific key corporate accounts are maintained within the Department of Corporate Engagement and Strategic Partnerships portfolio. These key accounts are large-scale relationships that touch multiple business units at the university, leveraging ASU’s human capital to maximize tangible and intangible output.

By matching companies’ needs with ASU’s resources, the relationship serves both parties in a mutually beneficial way. A key differentiator for ASU and its approach to providing Business Concierge service to our corporate partners is that we will lead with a comprehensive understanding of each partner’s pain points and holistic needs assessment. Knowing that “one size does not fit all” will allows us to be flexible with our solutions.

Through this institutional approach, we convene and direct partners toward the vast assets of ASU, rapidly accelerating their ideas into implementation while reducing barriers to success. This approach will ensure that we are seen as the go-to partner, one that follows through, is easy to work with and has a big picture engagement roadmap and vision to prepare industry partners and their employees for the future. Together, this brings innovations to the companies, funding to the university and satisfies one of ASU’s design principles to conduct use-inspired research.