Class exercise in rejection therapy brings surprising treat for students

Having pizza delivered to a classroom is nothing new, but how it happened in an Introduction to Marketing course last week came with a unique twist.

During a class last week, Scott Kelly, an instructor in marketing in the Love School of Business, asked his students to engage in rejection therapy, which asserts that regular and routine experiences of rejection help people to overcome fears and go after things they really want.

As part of the exercise, Kelly asked sophmore Jesse Bauld to call a local pizza shop and ask for free pizza to be delivered to the class. The goal was for Bauld to experience rejection. After all, Kelly said, when learning about potential customers in marketing it is routine to experience rejection. “Being able to take that learning and adapt is key to marketing,” he added.

But to the delight and surprise of students in the class, Bauld’s phone call led to free pizza being delivered.

“The plan backfired and Jesse’s persuasive approach resulted in our class ending with free pizza for everyone,” Kelly said. “We were supposed to review how to handle rejection as we engage in direct marketing. Instead we shifted the conversation to how we ‘never make any of the shots we never take.’”