Curriculum: Audubon Street Project
When they arrive on campus for Orientation, the first activity incoming Yale SOM students face is the Audubon Street Project. The class is divided into groups of eight and provided a small list of instructions that boil down to a simple directive: create a business for a storefront on New Havenís Audubon Street that is profitable, represents the mission of the Yale School of Management, and reflects the universityís desire to have a positive impact on the city. Students are then given a day to come up with a business and create a business plan, which they present to select faculty the following day. The exercise is intense, fast-paced, and highly competitive. Students present their proposals to groups of faculty on the first Friday of Orientation and five groups are picked as finalists. They have the weekend to hone their pitches, which they give the following Monday before a panel of judges and the entire incoming class. The faculty judges then choose the competitionís winner.
The Class of 2010 was the first to take part in the Audubon Street Project. The winner that year was the Hands-On Audubon Kitchen, a "make and take" facility that would work with local farmers to promote sustainable agriculture and give free workshops on healthy eating. This yearís winner was Dance Dance Institution, a dancewear store situated in the heart of the cityís arts district that would sell clothes and shoes, while providing free apparel to students on scholarship to local arts schools.
Audubon Street Project: Overview
Students and faculty talk about the challenges of working with seven strangers to come up with a business plan for a store front in New Haven. (4:14)