NEW HAVEN – A celebratory yet reflective mood permeated through Olea restaurant, where over 40 SOM students and faculty gathered to celebrate the newest inductees into the Center for Customer Insights (YCCI)’s Alumni Fellows Program.
Following a semester’s work on the Discovery Projects—YCCI’s experiential learning course that tasks students with solving real-world marketing challenges posed by corporate affiliate partners—15 students were recognized for their accomplishments at an intimate ceremony on the evening of February 13.
This new group of inductees represents the latest cohort of YCCI Alumni Fellows—an exclusive group of marketing and business leaders who have been recognized for their contributions to the development and dissemination of new consumer insights. Not only are aspiring Fellows required to meet high academic standards, each must complete a “storytelling component”, a separate individual assignment that demonstrates an ability to share research, insights, or learnings in a compelling way.
Aside from providing students an opportunity to reconnect over cocktails named for YCCI faculty (including “The Ravi”, a cucumber vodka drink, and “The Nathan”, a rye and absinthe concoction), the event also served as a forum for the newest Fellows to connect with the current semester’s Discovery Project students. As members in this elite group, the YCCI Alumni Fellows provide mentorship to current Discovery Project students by offering advice and encouragement, and preparing them for the hard work, frustration, and deep, critical thinking required by the course. They also seized a rare opportunity to take some light-hearted jabs at the demanding, but supportive, faculty in the audience.
But ultimately, the Fellows were most eager to share the deep sense of accomplishment they felt at the conclusion of their Discovery Project. They shared the unique excitement of traveling to the corporate affiliate’s headquarters to present their semester’s work to a team of top executives eager to consider their research findings and implement their recommendations.
Since the program’s inception in 2012, 175 students have been recognized as Fellows. For more information, and a full list of YCCI Fellows, please visit the Student Fellows page here.