Yale School of Management

Center for Customer Insights

Advancing the frontiers of consumer understanding

Discovery Projects

Discovery Projects at YCCI Logo

Discover new insights + new ways of thinking.
Experience a real-world challenge.
Impact a global organization.
All in one 6-credit, 14-week project. 

Discover

Discover new ways of thinking about customers and  leadership, and gain a deeper understanding about how you think and present. Learn Yale’s proprietary Insights Discovery Process, which builds on the latest theories in behavioral science. There’s also a healthy dose of self-discovery as faculty push you to challenge the intellectual rigor of your thinking.

Students with the Visa mascotExperience

Work on a real project—not just theories. Gain firsthand experience tackling a real-world challenge facing a business leader, with the underlying “cushion” of senior faculty leadership and alumni mentorship.  Learn how to go from problem to insight, and how to use insights to generate creative strategies and recommendations.


ImpactStudents making presentation in Yale Classroom

Generate insights that can drive meaningful change within an organization and learn from senior leadership about how your team’s ideas might be used during key client milestones. Having the support and guidance of faculty along the way will ensure that your final deliverables are both innovative and impactful.

What will I learn?

Rigorous critical thinking skills and the ability to translate learnings from data into strategic recommendations are valued in leaders across industries and sectors. Whether you’re going into consulting, strategy, design or marketing, you will benefit from learning how to more effectively and succinctly present your ideas in team meetings, oral presentations, and written PowerPoint slides.

Methods and Theories Frequently Used:

  • Behavioral Economics / Behavioral Science
  • Beliefs-Goals-Choices  Framework
  • Nudges
  • Habits
  • 4 P’s Framework
  • Decision Making / Decision Science
  • Yale Insights Discovery Process
  • Design Thinking / Innovation Through Customer Empathy
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Concept Testing
  • Survey Creation & Experimentation
  • In-Depth Behavioral Interviews
  • Ethnography
  • Social Media Scraping

Frequently Asked Questions

How many course credits will I earn for the project?
Six credits.

How many points should I save for this course?
The course is by application only.  You do not need to use your points to bid on this course.

Who can apply?
In the spring, the course is open to first- and second-year MBA students and MAM students.  In the fall, the course is open to second-year MBA students and incoming MAM students. 

When are applications due?
For Spring 2020, the application deadline is November  19, 2019.  Applications will become available on November 5, 2019. Please don’t wait until the last minute to apply. We appreciate and note early applications.

What are some tips to strengthen my application? 
Apply to more than one project to increase your likelihood of being selected.  You can note your order of preference  in your statement of interest, along with why you’d be a great fit for your top choice. 

A Few Practical Notes

These are highly selective projects that are very time intensive and require a great deal of flexibility with scheduling.  You will earn six (6) credits upon successful completion of this course.  

Student Responsibilities:

- Attend mandatory Discovery Project kickoff meetings at the beginning of the semester, and weekly meetings with faculty advisors/student team throughout the semester.

- Plan to spend approximately 14 hours per week on this course, and potentially 16+ hours during midterm and final presentation prep. 

- Conduct in-person interviews among consumers, generate insights, test insights, and provide recommendations to real firms. Some projects may require travel to conduct interviews.

- Travel to affiliate headquarters for final presentation.

Deliverables:

- Final team oral presentation and PowerPoint presentation to the affiliate with midterm check-in.

- Complete a 5-7 page white paper summarizing findings.

Advisors:

Ravi Dhar, George Rogers Clark Professor of Management & Marketing and Director of the Yale Center for Customer Insights

Nathan Novemsky, Professor of Marketing 

Treeny Ahmed, Executive Director, Yale Center for Customer Insights.  Former marketing executive at Edible Arrangements.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

With lessons from this course and real-world opportunity as a guide, I am able to better navigate the complexity and ambiguity of my research at Google with confidence.”      – Betsy Rives​

Betsy Rives
Hear from Students 

This program is uniquely Yale and definitely worth exploring if you enjoy being challenged and pushing the bar for what excellence looks like day in and day out!

Challenging, engaging and ultimately rewarding work…

The YCCI Discovery Project was a genuinely meaningful complement to my classroom experience and amplified my learning and growth during my first year at SOM in surprising ways.