Each year, a handful of students are chosen by Yale SOM's Center for Customer Insights for the MBA Discovery Project, through which they collaborate with major corporations on projects focused on marketing, brand awareness, or customer relations. Students work closely with CCI faculty and executives from clients such as PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and IBM to provide solutions for real-world problems.
This spring, a group of six students worked with a major game maker that sought to better understand how girls aged 6 to 12 play—and why they aren't drawn to video games in the same numbers as boys. The students read academic literature on child development and spent months interviewing girls in that age group, in order to better understand the types of play they enjoyed and how they differed from boys. After four months, they put together a presentation that shed light on a difficult problem for the video game industry.
"This is the kind of thing the students mention as one of the highlights of their two years here," said Nathan Novemsky, professor of marketing, who was one of two faculty advisors on the project. "It gives them a chance to go much deeper into a subject and to understand something broad, like why a particular consumer segment does not engage with a particular product category. The students come away with an appreciation that they didn't have before for how to tackle a hard problem. And that will be very valuable long after they've left SOM."