Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day 21. June 26, 2008

Day 21. June 26, 2008

The day began with breakfast and an AM Studio with Professor Clark. The content was focused on reading the customer and understanding both spoken and unspoken messages. Cues from the past 2 days in Louisville were used as examples of “understanding the client”.

Following the AM session, the Accelerator teams worked on their Gresham Smith deliverables for tomorrow – we’ll be presenting those at 8:15 AM.

Over lunch, our participants had the opportunity to hear from professionals within the accounting profession – and how the business of professional accounting consulting works. While the students were in Averbuch, our team set up the Law School auditorium for presentations to American Airlines.

Three individuals from the American Airlines team were here to do the final judging of the project: Rob Brittan, Advisor to the Chairman; Jim Butler, Director, SME Strategy for American Airlines, and Chris Koller, Manager within the SME segment.

Our teams had been challenged by this team about 10 days ago to determine how American Airlines can position itself as the leading carrier for travelers from small- to medium-sized enterprises (defined as companies with annual revenue of $1 million - $100 million). Many companies, including American, understand the potential of this segment, often abbreviated SME.

At 1:30 PM, the team competition began. Each team had 10 minutes to present their recommendations to American Airlines for consideration. After their final voting, American Airlines selected Team 7 as the overall winner. Team 1 ranked second and Team 4 ranked third.

Members of the winning team include: Adam Albright, John Del Piero, Lindsey Drake, Chris Harris, Alison Morris, Paige Parkey, Anna Rogers, Jeff Rosage, Chris Skene, Neal Watterson, and Jennifer Wu.

The best “story board” part of the competition was won by Team 4. Team 3 ranked second and Team 7 ranked third. For the research phase of the competition, Team 3 ranked first, Team 1 ranked second, and Team 7 ranked third.

Teams also voted on their MVP (most valuable player) for this round of competition. MVPs were: Yizhen Dong, Miles Maddox, Liz Palma, Tim Johnson, Nicholas Chavez, Amy Brown, Jessica Decker, Jordan Sanderson, Alison Crawford, Lindsey Drake, Austin Reid and Ann Parker Hammond.

Following the American Airlines feedback, our Accelerator teams attended a teaching studio with Professor Froeb who shared insights into risk transfer. The evening was spent on polishing up the last details of presentations to Gresham Smith & Partners. It was another very long evening. The last group left the building well after midnight. Tomorrow is our single busiest day: Business Breakfast, Client Presentation and Career Day all rolled in one. It will be incredible.

Day 20. June 25, 2008

Day 20. June 25, 2008

The day began with breakfast and an AM Studio with Professor Furse. The content was focused on the strategies to deliver solutions on behalf of American Airlines to the SME segment.

Following the AM session, the Accelerator teams worked on their American Airlines deliverables for tomorrow – we’ll be presenting those at 1:30 PM.

Over a working lunch, our participants had the opportunity to refine their elevator pitches and review the postings for the Career Day that will be held on Friday.

At 1:00 PM, the teams shifted their focus to their Gresham Smith projects. Teams are working on a “big idea” for the Nashville thermal plant site (these will be presented on Friday).

At 3:00 PM, Professor Pace held a teaching studio on word of mouth and guerilla marketing.
After dinner, we began dress rehearsals for the American Airlines presentations that will be held tomorrow.

Teams completed their 3 deliverables for the project: PowerPoint slides, Bibliography and Story Board. It was a late night. The last team turned in their final materials about midnight. The presentations look great. I know American Airlines will be impressed with this group of young men and women.

Day 19. June 24, 2008

Day 19. June 24, 2008

Another early AM wake up – when the alarm rang at 5:00 AM, I felt sure there must be some mistake. There was no mistake….

The staff and coaches met in the lobby and 6:00 AM to prep for the day. By 6:30 AM, we had begun to board the buses and load luggage. At 7:00 AM, we left the Seelbach Hilton in downtown Louisville to head to Yum! Headquarters. We arrived at the YUM! around 7:30 for a breakfast and to launch Project 8.

The overview of the firm was provided by the VP of marketing, Tom Marchese, Sr. Director of Marketing, Laurie Schalow, and Sr. Director of Advertising, Matthew McCartin, just to name a few.

YUM! has presented the challenge of creating a fully integrated marketing campaign for KFC, focusing primarily on the millennial generation. The components of this plan should address implications for KFC in marketing communications, customer service, menu components/structure, in-store/drive-thru customer experiences, and look and feel of the restaurants. The plan should also provide a budget and timeline associated with bringing your plan to fruition.

Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Ky., is the world's largest restaurant company in terms of system restaurants with more than 35,000 restaurants in more than 110 countries and territories. Four of our restaurant brands - KFC, Long John Silver's, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell - are the global leaders of their categories – chicken, quick-service seafood, pizza, and Mexican-style. A&W Restaurants is the longest running quick-service franchise chain in America. In 2007, Yum! Brands generated more than $10 billion in total 2007 revenues, including company sales and franchise fees.

Accelerator teams were provided an excellent morning briefing outlining the history of KFC and the current marketing plans. This presentation was followed by a lunch consisting of new dining options KFC is working to release in 2009 from the tasting kitchen. We dined on “new items” and provided testing feedback to those at Yum! working on these new concepts.

From 1:45 - 3:00 PM, the students were given the opportunity to ask questions to each of the speakers. Following Q&A we were provided a guided tour through the Whitehouse – the original building of Colonel Sanders’ enterprise. At the end of the tour a fully interactive, lifelike, statue of Colonel Sanders greeted the students in the museum.

We boarded the buses about 4:00 PM for the drive back to Nashville. The drive provided some welcome “down time” for most of our participants and many were able to catch up on some rest.

The day ended around 7:30-8:00 PM – we’ll “hit the ground running” in the AM with full prep for two big upcoming presentations – American Airlines and Gresham Smith & Partners.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day 18. June 23, 2008 - Louisville Slugger

Day 18. June 23, 2008 – Louisville Slugger Museum with Yum!

At 6:00 PM we went to the Louisville Slugger Museum for an opening dinner with YUM! This dinner was great for networking with other YUM! employees and executives, as well as tour a famous attraction of the Louisville area. Keeping the baseball theme of the museum alive, a hotdog and nacho dinner was served.

Around 8:30 PM everyone made their way back to the hotel for an early night off. Having the evening off, the students were available to see a little bit of the downtown Louisville area. The weather was so nice some students went for evening walks, while others went to a local bowling alley. These little breaks are great opportunities for the students to share more personal connections and create lasting friendships.

Day 18. June 23, 2008 - Humana

Day 18. June 23, 2008 - Humana

Day 18 began for most of the staff at 4:30 AM. Long before the first Accelerator participant’s alarm went off, we were busy getting breakfast ready, supplies loaded, buses parked, and all the details organized for our two day trip to Louisville. Wake up calls began at 5:30 AM for the teams. At 6:15 AM, we began the process of loading the buses for Louisville. Lots of sleepy eyes….

As you can imagine many took advantage of this four-hour road trip to catch up on lost sleep. While some slept, others watched movies, chatted, and some groups took advantage of this time to work on their upcoming projects.

After our arrival we made our way to the Frazier International History Museum for the Humana launch. Humana, a healthcare provider, provided us with a lunch and an informative presentation on their company and the goals they plan to reach after the project. Their wish is to increase insurance sales of the Hispanic market in the south Texas area. With many students having a Spanish majors and minors, this project is creating a great deal of excitement.

Finishing up the Humana open around 4:30, we all headed to the hotel to get settled in for a bit.

Day 18. June 23, 2008

Day 18. June 23, 2008

The morning arrives much too soon. The teams are up and dressed with luggage at the curb by 6:15. With a lot of coordination, we load 2 charter buses with all the supplies, students and luggage and head to Louisville. With the time change, we should arrive there by 11:30 AM Eastern Time (with about 20 minutes to spare before we launch Project 7 with Humana).

Within minutes of getting on the highway, the hum of the bus and the days of limited sleep take their toll...

Parent Letter from Accelerator 2007 Participant

Parent Letter from Accelerator 2007 Participant. 06.23.08

Today I recieved this letter from the parent of one of our Accelerator participants from last summer. He had been following this year's blog and shared the following. With Mr. Puchon's permission, I have posted his comments below. For folks who wonder why we as the staff and faculty of Accelerator keep the hours we do, this letter pretty well sums it up...

Dr. Burcham:

I was so pleased with what the 2007 Accelerator Program did for my son last year. I kept your web site bookmarked and now check in often to observe what all the fine young men and women are doing this 2008 program year. I can see it is every bit as intense as last year. It has brought back great memories of following my son's time from last year. What a wonderful experience and great way to learn real life business practices. I have told a countless number people about this program.

My son was debating with himself on two options for summer studies last year. I am glad, as is he, that he chose the Vanderbilt program. He never imagined going in what an experience it would turn out to be. He was a changed person by the conclusion, you could see the confidence in himself and a proud sense of achievement at the closing dinner.

Remind the participants to enjoy this wonderful and rewarding time, as it will pass quickly. As you know, the time and effort they are asked to put forth now will be invaluable to them for their future. Keep up the great work with these fine young minds. I wish you and the Accelerator staff many more years of future success.

Charles J Puchon Sr. Proud Parent of Michael Puchon 2007 Accelerator Participant