News & Events

Accelerator Summer Business Immersion: Nissan Presentations

Jul 6, 2023
During week 2 of this year’s Accelerator Summer Business Immersion presentations, students worked with automobile manufacturer, Nissan.

By Arial Starks

Accelerator® Summer Business Immersion is a career preparation summer certificate program offered at Vanderbilt Business for undergraduate college students and recent graduates. The program offers students the opportunity to gain real-world consulting experience through group projects. Over the course of 3 weeks, students work with 3 different organizations to solve a business challenge the respective companies present to them. During week 2 of this year’s presentations, the students worked with automobile manufacturer, Nissan.

Vanderbilt Accelerator students gather around a table in the Owen Graduate School of Management courtyard.

The Accelerator teams had one week to present a solution to the challenges the Nissan EV team presented to them

The Project: What were the students tasked with?

The goal of the project was to create an ideal customer journey for Electric Vehicle (EV) charging. The students were tasked with providing a set of recommendations for improving the Nissan customer charging experience for existing and potential EV customers. This project was based on Nissan Ambition 2030, which has the goal of having more than 40% of U.S. vehicle sales be fully electric by the year 2030. 

“Ambition 2030 lays out Nissan’s Electrification goals over the next decade,” said Ross Proffitt, Nissan EV Transformation Sr. Manager. “When we brought an EV-related challenge to the Vanderbilt Business Accelerator teams, I truly didn’t know what to expect. Over the course of a week, they researched, they challenged traditional thought and they professionally presented well-founded proposals to help Nissan accelerate into the future.”

The outlines of the project did not have a specific budget laid out for the students, as long as there was a reasonable cost/value trade-off. Nissan also wanted the Accelerator students to create a plan that could be implemented in phases over the course of 1-5 years and then years 6-10.

“This program introduces college students to the realities of a fast-paced business environment,” Proffitt explained. “The students were able to accomplish, in one week, what takes some established professionals years to conquer.”

The Presentations: What ideas did the students pitch? 

Each of the 8 groups was given 10 minutes to present their marketing solutions to representatives from Nissan’s Electric Vehicle (EV) Transformation Team. In between each presentation, Nissan had 2 additional minutes to ask the groups any follow-up questions they had about the project.

The students had a variety of innovative solutions to the challenges proposed by Nissan’s EV team. The groups pitched ideas ranging from Nissan installing portable chargers in the electric cars, to installing software to provide EV drivers with entertainment, such as tv shows and games while they charge their cars. 

“It was such a validating experience seeing that executives of such a reputable company saw value in our ideas,” Accelerator student Julia Marshall shared.

Vanderbilt Accelerator students pose with their 1st place trophy.

Accelerator Team FBI takes home the 1st place trophy after Nissan presentation

The winners: Which ideas did Nissan like most?

Nissan’s EV Transformation Team concluded their week with the students, giving them all constructive feedback on their presentations. In the end, Nissan chose the top 3 presentations and awarded the first-place winner, Team FBI, with an Accelerator trophy, as well as model cars of their 2023 Ariya, an electric SUV. 

Team FBI pitched a roadside assistance program to the Nissan team. The students found that while Nissan customers were at charging stations waiting for their electric vehicles to charge up, they could indulge in media entertainment to pass the time. The team pitched the idea of Nissan partnering with Max Streaming and Jackbox Games, to give customers the option to watch tv shows or play online games while charging their vehicles. 

“I loved getting the opportunity to tackle the problem Nissan presented to us in a creative and compelling way,” said Team FBI member Gabrielle Kaplan. “I’m lucky to have been able to work alongside my amazing teammates and winning the trophy was definitely an added bonus.”

Vanderbilt Accelerator students pose with research belt.

Accelerator Team Bowser takes home the research belt after Nissan presentation

In addition to presentation winners, Vanderbilt Walker Management Librarian for Business, HD McKay, also chose a winner for the group whose project contained the best research. Team Bowser, who pitched a mobile charging program to Nissan, was awarded the research belt for the Nissan project. 

Team Bowser pitched the idea of Nissan partnering with Yoshi, a company that offers mobile and virtual car inspections, gas delivery, and wash and detail services. The team suggested Yoshi could partner with Nissan and add electric vehicle charging deliveries to its list of services, providing Nissan customers with a charge for their electric vehicles wherever they need it.

To learn more about Accelerator®—Summer Business Immersion at Vanderbilt Business, click here

Other Stories

Want to learn more about Accelerator?