‘ABCDEF’: My Learnings From Corporate Competitions
I had written an article with the same title before as well. You can read it here.
“Congratulations Parag!”, said the trail of Whatsapp messages in many different ways when I woke up in the morning. It was then, that I came to know that my team was selected for TATA Motors MindRover Season 5 finals. It was unbelievable. We were amongst the top-5 national teams. This was one of the most satisfying moments for me at IIM Rohtak.
2 PPI offers, 1 Fitbit watch worth 20k, 2 trips to Mumbai, 1 to Delhi and 1 to Jamshedpur, 10k+ cash prize, 5 Tshirts and 10 certificates. These are some of the tangible awards I gained through participating in various corporate competitions during my 2 years at IIM Rohtak. But these are not all! There are some intangible prizes as well, which are far more important than these tangible gains. I have tried to express those prizes through the letters ABCDEF.
These competitions have provided me with a platform to utilize the MBA classroom concepts in real-life scenarios. Otherwise, where one could have used the SWOT, Porter’s Model or the BCG matrix. In many competitions, we are required to solve the issues from a holistic point of view. For example, in the HDFC Bank Chatur Ideas event, we were required to present some video marketing ideas for HDFC Bank. Rather than directly coming to this issue, we analyzed the banking industry and some video-related trends. This is generally known as the top-down approach. I extend this approach to real life as well, which I find very effective in solving the problems.
I got opportunities to associate with reputed brands like TATA Motors, L&T, GMR, TATA Steel, HDFC Bank, Reliance and Indus Valley Partners. I got to present my team’s ideas to the management of these stalwarts, like the CEO of IVP and CHRO of TATA Motors, to name a few. It was a great experience listening to their life mantras and interacting with them.
Also I got a chance to compete and meet with some of the brilliant and like-minded people from other MBA institutes of the nation. I learnt a lot from their presentations and I hope my new connections will help me in future.
I still remember the PPTs which I made in the initial weeks at IIM R, and I have come a long way since then. MS Excel is the other thing which I have enhanced while working for these events. I also got a chance to learn tools like Animaker and Tableau.
Competition Cell at IIM Rohtak played a crucial role in my success. The seniors of the club used to take sessions on design and strategy for the competitions. With a fine record in the competitions, I became a part of the coveted club in the 2nd year. I consider the acquired skills in PPT and Excel have helped me getting into Competition
Cell, and will also help me in my corporate career.
A dynamic person, as I understand, is the one who is bold and confident and have knowledge about the relevant fields. The corporate events have provided me with much dynamism.
These events taught me the importance of a good team. Different events ask for different team members which have diverse skill-sets. When I decided to make a team for TATA Motors MindRover (which had a case on TATA Hexa), I approached one of my batch mates who had a prior work ex in Automobile industry, and I should say that his experience certainly helped our team reach the national finals in the event.
I got knowledge of different industries by virtue of participating in these events and this knowledge has certainly helped me in both – the placement process and the course projects. Also there are many sources available on Internet, in which important information is readily available- like ibef.org, statista.com, etc., and there are reports published by consulting companies, like PWC, EY, and McKinsey on various topics, which could be of great help.
The experience and learning which I got by participating in such events is immense. I still remember the time when the final result for IVP FinValley was announced, in which we were the national runners-up, and tears trickled down my eyes, as I was waiting for this moment while I participated in over 40 corporate and college events. I still remember that day when I experienced my 1st flight trip from Delhi to Ranchi sponsored by TATA Steel for its event. I still remember how we prepared the video pitch for Reliance TUP in just 5 minutes and still got selected for the next round! I still remember many such moments! After my MBA ends, I am sure I will relish these memories and experiences for a long time.
We were giving 2-3 hours daily to reading about the SWIFT system, data lakes, data flow diagrams, also feeling at the same time that this was all going to waste! This was the time when we were doing the IVP FinValley. My teammate and I did not have any programming background, so we were facing issues with the technical part of the case. And we had to put in much efforts to contribute towards the solution. The results were in our favor (we became the national runner-ups), and that had a feeling of fulfilment, a real one indeed! I cracked a total of 9 corporate events in these 2 years, so when I see my CV, it provides me with a sense of contentment. My interviews were very much based on those CV points. Being a fresher, I was able to make a full one-page CV, and such events had a major role to play. As I write this article, I would say ‘All’s well that ends well...’