FYIC final projects help Fifth Third Bank find ways to reach underserved customers

December 2018

Jay Murdock

On a cold Friday afternoon, hundreds of students filled Hall Auditorium to watch eight teams of classmates take part in the culmination of an entire semester of learning and work in the First-Year Integrated Core.

The groups on stage had an additional audience; several Fifth Third Bank executives who came to hear the students’ solutions to the charge that Fifth Third had given them only a few weeks before -- how can we create a better experience for underserved groups and individuals and help them feel visible, supported, and safe?

More than 120 teams took up the challenge, and after their presentations earlier in the week, FYIC faculty had the unenviable task of narrowing the field to the eight presenting teams. “It was a very arduous, long process to pick those teams. Truly, we had so many more that we could have put on stage,” FYIC director Rebecca Crews explained.

The FYIC consists of four courses -- Foundations of Business; Foundations of Business Communication; Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Introduction to Computational Thinking for Business -- specifically designed to build the skills needed for student success in the workplace.

Groups spent countless hours using the knowledge they gained in the first 10 weeks of the FYIC to develop their presentations. “It was a lot of fun, but it was also rough. We had our ups and downs. But I think it was worthwhile. We learned great decision-making skills and teamwork abilities,” winning team-member Rishi Narahari remarked.

“Fifth Third was incredibly impressed by the students and the depth of their ideas and insights, and that’s really all we could ask for,” Crews said. “The client said at the end that it was the best set of presentations he’s seen yet, so incrementally, we just get better over time.”

“I do feel like a proud parent. I saw them on the first day, I saw them on the very last day, and you can see their growth over time. It’s pretty incredible,” Crews noted. “In just four short months, you can see them grow into the person they want to be in Farmer. It’s really amazing and so fun to see.”

FYIC team presents during final client challenge Fifth Third Bank executives watch final client challenge FYIC team presents during final client challenge FYIC teams on stage after final client challenge