Curriculum: The Consulting Project
Each year, a handful of students are chosen by the Yale Center for Customer Insights to collaborate with major corporations on projects to improve marketing, brand awareness, and customer relations. Students work closely with YCCI faculty and top leaders from clients such as PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and IBM to provide solutions for real-world problems.
Two of the companies students worked for this year were Visa and Sears Canada. For Visa, they were tasked with researching and evaluating a new phenomenon called media multitasking, where consumers access content on multiple screens—such as a TV, a laptop, and a mobile device—at once. The Sears Canada group investigated why people are often slow to replace old, energy-hogging appliances with more efficient ones, and to find strategies to convince them to do it sooner. Students spent months researching their topics, gathering information, and analyzing it before presenting a series of recommendations to senior executives at each corporation.
"These are much higher level questions than MBAs just out of school are asked," says Ravi Dhar, the George Rogers Clark Professor of Marketing and the center's director. "We're forcing them to go beyond what we've taught them. The expectations are very high. It's a discovery process at many levels for the students."