Erik Gatenholm, at HHGA’s 90th Anniversary



Is physical networking dead? Not according to Joakim Hökegård, chair of the alumni association HHGA – which for the past 90 years has offered an arena where former students can exchange knowledge, network and have fun together.

“Finding new recruits and new customers is a challenge for companies, which makes having a good network invaluable. I believe people need to exist in a ‘digiphysical’ world, where they are active in the digital forums, but also meet up in real life now and then. And HHGA is the ideal arena for that,” says Joakim Hökegård.

New knowledge and insights
HHGA organises around 40 activities a year, ranging from seminars, lunch meetings and company visits to social events such as after-work gatherings and wine tasting. The 1,600 members bring a mix of new graduates’ curiosity and the experience of older alumni, with everyone learning from each other.

“We contribute to lifelong learning, as members gain knowledge and insights from our interesting speakers,” says Joakim Hökegård. “They might be captains of industry such as SKF’s CEO Alrik Danielsson or former politicians like Leif Pagrotsky. And the speakers themselves are often alumni. But it isn’t all about famous people speaking to large audiences – a successful event could just as well have a narrow focus and be aimed at members in a particular profession.”

Mentoring programme for personal development
A few years ago, HHGA set up a Young Alumni Committee that works on the association’s activities for younger graduates. One result is the Mentoring Programme, which was launched in 2018. The programme gives mentees an opportunity, through discussions with a mentor, to create space for reflection, thought and personal development over the course of a year.

“The association has always offered informal mentoring through the interactions at our events, but now we’ve created an arena where mentees and mentors can meet in a more formalised way. It has worked out well and the programme is much appreciated by both the mentors and the mentees,” relates Joakim Hökegård.

More activities in Stockholm
September saw HHGA celebrate its 90th anniversary with big-name speakers and a magnificent party. The 90th anniversary celebrations also laid down a marker for the future..

In addition to being relevant in various digital channels in order to reach all its targets groups, the association also wants to expand its activities in Stockholm, where many alumni head after graduation

“An association like ours is built on engagement. Around 50-60 work for free on various committees, which gives us incredible energy. Right now, we’re looking for people who would be interested in working on Stockholm-based activities,” concludes Joakim Hökegård.

Handelshögskolans i Göteborg Alumniförening (HHGA)

HHGA is an independent association aimed at everyone who has ever studied at the School. The operation began in 1929 and was given financial security when alumnus Axel Adler, owner of dairy giant Arla, transferred ownership of the property that now houses the Kometen restaurant to the association, which later sold it and reinvested the proceeds. In 2007, the association merged with Handels Vänner under the name Civilekonomföreningen Handels Vänner. The current name was adopted in 2011.