How Different Case Study Competitions Are Won By IMT Ghaziabad Students
A b-school is a world in itself. You have your average Joe who goes by the day with working his way through lectures and completing his assignments and you also have the lazy dude who can hardly keep track of the time. Amidst the crowd though, if you notice them swiftly passing by, running from lecture to lecture into endless meetings, you’ll meet the badshahs of a b-school. They’re armoured with titles of honour from competitions they’ve won across the country and they always look like they’re about to crack their next case.
In this feature, we meet 4 such students who have gone beyond the regular b-school journey and added more to it by winning across case competitions.
Shubham Sachdeva was Mahindra War Room’s national finalist in 2018. Their theme was “Go Big, Go Bold” and it was about going beyond the boundaries and unleashing the true potential within yourself. They worked on Mahindra’s Agribusiness case and they prepared an entry strategy for Mahindra’s fruit and vegetable business. They presented an idea of farming + retailing, or as they called it, “farmtailing”. Imagine going to a food store where you can see your fruits and vegetables growing. You can feel, touch and smell them. Their case provided a case that would not only provide the best quality at the best price but also a reduce in the wastage of the entire supply chain to nearly zero, which is currently at 30%.
When asked about how he prepared for the competition, Shubham said, “It was about finding the best people and onboarding them, then deciding which case to take up and finally getting on to primary and secondary research.”
Now can you imagine the kind of exposure and the learning that you get when you’re working so closely with a company and working to find solutions for a live problem in its business? Shubham exclaims “The thing that we learned about Mahindra is that it stands for trust. Its various diversifications show us that it’s very agile, adaptable to change and is like a dark horse. It’s a company which has something to offer to every kind of person, where every moment gives you a reason to shine and rise.”
“It was like a dream,” Shubham exclaims, “to present in front of one of India’s greatest business tycoons Mr. Anand Mahindra and the senior leadership of Mahindra.”
“IMT has a legacy of participating and winning in the biggest b-school competitions hosted across the country and we stand tall among other prestigious institutes,” says Shubham. He also puts emphasis on the “personal mentoring and support from the professors and resources available for research in the library really helped us get to the national finals of the competition.”
Bhooshan Patil says that “Not only the faculty but also the peer circle in IMT-Ghaziabad helped us find direction to analyze and find solutions to the case study.” IMT Ghaziabad, as he puts it, “has a very competitive environment and it is as though it is injected in our DNA to keep striving for better.”
Bhooshan’s team were placed as the national finalists for the 6th season of Carpe Diem, a case study competition hosted by Hindustan Unilever. His case problem was to propose a unique product for customers that would delight them in Dove’s catalog of products. His team pitched for hair oil and, being marketing students, they focused on the packaging of the product. The bottle of hair oil has a massage nozzle on its head and was to be marketed to target different hair problems like hair loss, dandruff, etc.
“We read the case thoroughly and did a lot of background research about HUL before addressing the problem statement and even looked at Dove as an Indian and international brand,” he recollects, “… and of course there were long hours of research and working with our faculty and classmates to crack the need of the consumer market and develop the product.”
For the final round of the competition, students were flown down to Mumbai, where they fought neck-to-neck with their competitors at the HUL headquarters in Andheri. They were hosted in the city for 2 days and they had a high-tea session with Dove’s brand managers for India and Asia Pacific, and Axe India’s brand manager. “They guided us on how they approach various problem statements as brand managers and how to create innovative products that disrupt the market.”
Adwaith S. is a seasoned player when it comes to b-school case study competitions. After placing as a national finalist in Carpe Diem in his first year, he went on to win AIMS’s national level simulation competition on ‘Conscious Capitalism.’ The entire competition was based on an assumption that each team was a company which was to ideate and build their company (based on the overall goal of conscious capitalism) from scratch. Which means “we had to come up with a name, logo, mission, and vision of our company, but most importantly, we had to focus on the product line and specialization of our product. So the preliminary round had 6 parts and after every part, the simulation results would be out of how many products have been sold and how much inventory was left, and based on that we would rework the product or our next advertisement strategy.”
It certainly sounds exhilarating to assume your own company and work for it, making executive decisions as the problem statements keep rolling in. Adwaith says, “we were one of the 6 teams chosen to go to Bangalore for the final round. In the final round, we had a different case altogether, which was bicycles made from carbon fiber.”
When asked about his preparation strategy, Adwaith advises to “do multiple microsimulations to prepare yourself. We used this tool called Marketplace which helped us understand the pros and cons of the decisions we made for our product. AIMS gave us the access to the tool along with a mentor to guide us. Apart from that, IMT Ghaziabad also has a paper on cross-functional simulation which had given us a rough idea of how to tackle such problem statements.”
With a specific role assigned to each team member, Adwaith confesses that the secret to winning such a case study competition is to “blindly trust your team members. We had someone who was from HR, another from finance and the rest of us were from marketing, and that’s what made the difference, I think. We each had a strong foothold in our specialization. So a balanced team is quintessential.”
The next on our roster is Tushar Vishnoi who won L’Oréal’s case competition, Brandstorm. They were faced with a problem statement that included one of L’Oréal’s biggest marketing investments. They had to “reinvent the salon experience using digital technology.” What started with a simple round of a three-part presentation to qualify for the next round, eventually turned into an experience Tushar exclaims “was one of my best learning experiences.”
After winning in the north region qualifiers, Tushar’s team was headed to Mumbai where they had a two-day immersion program at the L’Oréal headquarters. “On the first day, we interacted with the managers at L’Oréal and understood how their business works and our second day was packed with field visits to their various salons so that we could understand where our products would fit and how it would impact the consumers.”
Tushar’s team presented their idea of a wearable device with six-sense technology. Their device would allow the user to interact and engage with the brand by showing them the different services that were available, the trending haircuts and colours of the season and more.
His preparation strategy included thorough online and offline research and speaking with his peers who were consumers at premier salons to understand their experience. He also made the most of “a tech-based subject that was currently a part of his semester at IMT Ghaziabad which was being taught by a visiting faculty from Spain. We had the chance to discuss our problem statement with our visiting faculty who brainstormed with us about creating technology that was currently not present in the market, after rejecting our initial ideas about smart mirrors and chairs.” There is nothing that can replace a good brainstorming session and with the right people on board, a simple idea can easily bloom to success.
“We saw ourselves evolve at every stage. From the comfort zone of presenting to your faculty, competing with fellow b-schools in the regional round to then presenting in front of the senior management of L’Oréal, we learned a lot,” says Tushar.
And I think that is what b-school competitions do to you. They push you out of your comfort zone and challenge you to do more than what is expected of you. At IMT Ghaziabad, they have a very conducive environment to ace at b-school case competitions. Their competitive DNA as most students confirm motivates them to level up at every stage and perform with their best foot forward.
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