Jess from New York is an experienced Explo student, having attended Explo Chef and Explo 360 prior to Explo Marketing, which she's in now. A high school yearbook editor and frozen yogurt enthusiast, she is excited to have already learned so much important information about the marketing industry.

What keeps you coming back to Explo?
A few days ago we started an online simulator. So a company was failing, it was in debt, and now we have to bring it back to markets and make it profitable. My group is actually in the lead, so right now our total profit has been like $4 million throughout four rounds. We read the prep packet really closely, which has really helped us, but the other groups are catching on to our strategy.

What guest speakers have come in?
The other day we had someone from a tea ice cream company who came in with an agency called Element. The CEO of the company, Amy Graver, was a Yale graduate. She talked to us about what it takes to make it in the industry. She also showed us a mood board, which we ended up using today in class, and she brought [ice cream] samples. She told us to always plan ahead and never to just go straight for it.

What else has been interesting in your program?
We also had a guest speaker from Snapple. He told us about the history of the company and what they did back when it was failing. That was pretty cool. He showed us how they totally rebranded it — just changing the colors of the labels and the type of bottle that it’s in will make it sell, which is pretty cool. We had someone come who used to work for Pokemon — that was really cool! He showed us about how it became an icon that everybody knows about. He also showed us a bunch of drawings by Picasso and no one knew them, but when he showed the silhouette of Pikachu, everyone knew who it was. That taught us about effecting marketing.

What is it like have Jon as your instructor?
He’s teaching us in the best way possible. Since he’s taught this program before, he really knows what’s helpful. Literally the other day, he graphed out our optimism level. He said: listen guys, you’re optimism level is down here, but by Friday it will be right back at the top. It was really funny.

Even though we are only here for two weeks, we still get the same experiences. It’s more concentrated so you learn a lot more, faster. It’s so helpful.

What activities have you enjoyed in class?
Today we had to present our semi-finished projects, to see whose would advance to the final round. We each had to meet with Jon individually and talk about our performance strategy. He really helped us with our presentation skills, like how to get the audience to actually care about what you’re saying and make it interesting. My group was me, another girl from the US, someone from China, and someone from South Korea. He told us that we should all introduce ourselves from that place, so that it stuck in people’s heads and we would be memorable.

What first got you interested in marketing?
I came to Explo last year for Explo Chef — I was at Wellesley and I loved Explo. I took a marketing class two years ago and I really loved it. I saw the Marketing program, looked through the photos, and thought it looked really great.

How is this Focus Program different from your previous experience at Explo?
It’s really different. We aren’t constantly around other people, so any down time we have we just go out and talk to everyone. Even though we are only here for two weeks, we still get the same experiences. It’s more concentrated so you learn a lot more, faster. It’s so helpful.

That’s great news. Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?
After this, I’m like, as we were coming up with all of these ideas, I can definitely see myself going into marketing. I’m not sure what — something business related — or something else.

Is it helpful living in New Haven?
We went around the Urban Outfitters and did an activity there. We are marketing shoes, so we had to go into all these different stores and look at where our shoes would go on the shelves, if we would price it differently, and how we would make it stand out more.

Can you give me an example of very successful branding?
We always use Nike. It’s so simple, just the swoosh and their “Just do it” slogan. It’s so effective and so short and simple that we use it all the time as a reference point.

What is unique about you?
I’m an editor of my school’s yearbook. I get quotes from people, make spreads, tell our copy staff what type of copy I want. We stay for two hours everyday after school and we are all really close. We all love it, so we don’t mind being there.

What do you and your friends do in your free time here?
We went to office hours a few times, and that’s really how my group and I got together. We’re all really close now. There’s four of us and we went to two hours of office hours with Jon, which was really fun. We mostly just sit on the Quad and talk. We went to Pink Berry three times already. Today for lunch we went to Panera, and we like Starbucks.

How would you describe the Explo culture
Everyone’s so open to meeting new people and talking and being around you. Today we had a break, so we were playing volleyball and all of a sudden all the 360 kids starting playing with us. Or sometimes I will go to the dining hall with just one friend and then all of a sudden a bunch of different kids will come and eat with us and join the conversation.

Can you describe your course in three words?
Challenging. Rewarding. Fun.