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Students help to promote ‘green’ luxury

Posted in NEWS on Friday, June 4th, 2010

[Originally published by Vanderbilt News Service in MyVU]

Luxury and the Lexus brand go hand in hand. But now the car company has created a new hybrid vehicle that is more fuel-efficient, lighter and leaner.

Lexus’ challenge is to reach the customer who wants a car that is both luxurious and”green.” That’s why they’re turning to students at the Vanderbilt Accelerator Summer Business Institute. The Accelerator students are being challenged to evaluate the hybrid HS250h and its target audience and create a forward-thinking marketing plan to reach that audience. This is Lexus’ second time working with Accelerator students.

The Accelerator Summer Business Institute is an intense month long business boot camp run by the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management. In the program, college students and recent graduates from across the country are immersed in a competitive business environment, working to create the winning solution to real challenges from top local and national companies. The students hone essential skills in marketing, sales, finance, real estate, research and corporate strategy, while participating companies receive the brain power, creativity and proposals from at least eight teams of highly motivated millennials.

The Lexus project will launch on Monday, June 7 at Lexus of Cool Springs. Final presentations will take place Tuesday, June 15, from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. at the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management’s Averbuch Auditorium.

Other Accelerator projects include:

  • Nashville Music Business Council and Nashville Entrepreneur Center: The future of the music business in Nashville is evolving beyond media conglomerates to smaller, more nimble companies that leverage technologies with the goal of delivering better value to fans. The Accelerator challenge is to develop an”Accelerator”-type program for entrepreneurs interested in the business of music.
  • Oasis Center: The Oasis Center works to help young people overcome serious challenges that prevent them from transitioning into a healthy adulthood. Oasis Center desires to build life skills, entrepreneurial thinking and significance within its youth population. The current brand is more reflective of a”place” – and Oasis Center is becoming more about a”movement.” The Accelerator challenge is to create a brand concept that reflects this expanded movement; connects with young people; and inspires others who would want to help Oasis Center.
  • HIMSS/ Medical Banking: HIMSS Medical Banking Project is creating a new group of thought leaders called the”G7 Roundtable”. The group will consist of healthcare providers, healthcare insurance carriers, banks, government, consumers, technology firms and employers. The group’s mission is to”design the healthcare financial network of the future.” The Accelerator challenge is to create a marketing plan for the”G7 Roundtable” to encourage companies to sponsor or join the group and generate ways to get monetary value from the company’s cutting-edge research.
  • Bridgestone Americas, Incorporated: Bridgestone has worked for years to connect its brand with the best of American sporting events. The Accelerator challenge is to design a unique customer rewards program that combines these sports connections with the customer.
  • MyWerx: MyWerx is a new Nashville-based intellectual property firm with a wiki-based product designed to simplify the intellectual property process. MyWerx mission is to not only help protect an artist’s work, but also to make it easy for people to know who owns or licenses a work. MyWerx is turning to students at the Vanderbilt Accelerator Summer Business Institute to create a viral marketing strategy to help artists learn about the MyWerx product.

For more information on Accelerator visit http://www.owen.vanderbilt.edu/accelerator. To follow the progress of the Accelerator students and their projects, check out the latest comments on Accelerator at www.facebook.com, search for Vanderbilt Accelerator Summer Business Institute.

Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management is ranked as a top institution by BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, Financial Times and Forbes.

Media Contact: Amy Wolf, (615) 322-NEWS

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