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Lessons from the YCCI Discovery Project with a Leading Shoe Manufacturer

Master of Advanced Management candidate Priya Krishnan '16 reflects on what she learned by participating in a Yale Center for Consumer Insights Discovery Project with a prominent shoe manufacturer.

I was fortunate to be selected to participate in the Discovery Project in the Yale Center for Customer Insights (YCCI) as a member of a team charged with working with a prominent shoe manufacturer.

Over the course of the project, my team delved into how the manufacturer’s business operates, what drives its sales, and how the brand is perceived. We were thrilled to meet with the top management of the company, who were willing to brief us, first-hand, about the business challenges that it was facing. As the semester progressed, we pushed to derive meaningful, granular, and actionable insights for the company by speaking with customers and applying research techniques that we learned from YCCI.

At the end of our semester, my team and I visited the company’s headquarters in Boston to present our findings and recommendations for future planning to the Product and Marketing teams. The feedback we received on our presentation was very positive, and we learned that many of the new product concepts we recommended were already being explored.

We concluded our involvement with YCCI with a graduation ceremony and were inducted to the YCCI Fellows group. Completing this project under the guidance of Professor Ravi Dhar and Professor Nathan Novemsky has shown me that I can apply this framework to almost any company and find actionable insights that will directly increase revenue. Being a part of the Discovery Project has been one of my most valuable experiences at Yale SOM.

YCCI is a specialized unit within Yale School of Management, headed by Professor Ravi Dhar. Discovery Projects are based in YCCI and focus is on research and identifying innovative solutions for companies that are dealing with real-world marketing problems. This year YCCI worked with with a prominent shoe manufacturer, a leading consumer goods company, a media company, and a banking service.