Five Stages Of Case Study Competitions – Pooja, TISS Mumbai

Wake up! The case study season is here. If you are in a B-school, you are already familiar with this term – if you are an aspirant – well, hunker down, grit your teeth and just face it, because here is a heads up for you – case studies are going to take over your lives quite soon. You are welcome, by the way.

Case studies are situations – they can be about people, companies, groups, individuals, anything and everything. They are brilliant in the sense of the learning that can be derived from them – best practices, forks in the strategic journey of an organisation, glimpses of monumental work, and what effort that went into it…

Many companies have case study competitions on the campus. Forget the word ‘competitions’. These are nothing short of those blood-drenched epic gladiator battles – only difference is that you have to win them with your trusty laptop, your dodgy internet connection and a dogged persistence.

They all follow a routine, and it is this:

Stage I: Bright eyed and bushy tailed

The company comes and launches the case study on the campus with tons of fanfare. You are in the audience, cheering, shouting, stamping, knowing in your bones this is it, the reason for your existence, the song your soul sings, basically, it is your destiny. You make a team with like-minded individuals humming the hindi version of ‘Bob the Builder’ title song. Come on, you know the song – sing along – kar ke dikhayenge, haan bhai haan! That’s better.

Stage II: The reality check

You look at the case study. You are happy, but as days pass by you realise you are in deep, deep trouble. Jaws – style trouble. You don’t understand a word of the case, and whatever models that were buzzing in your brain turned out to be effervescent dreams. You panic, and like the best of us, you hit the snooze button. If you ignore it enough, you hope it will go away.

Stage III: The rock bottom

The deadline is looming. But you have assignments to write, research papers to read, presentations to make, and social media to waste time on. It’s all a part of the process, chill. Your group can’t meet because the Placecommer is busy doing super-secret work that he will never talk about, the Alcommer is busy Facebooking, the Aspirant Relations Committee member is off flirting with the juniors, and you, the superstar of your quartet of terror, is too terrified to tackle the case alone. One day you wake up to find everyone discussing the case. They are holding furtive conferences with the faculty, furiously guarding the models they have used, and someone keeps talking about ‘efficiency versus experience’ in the canteen. You are clueless. You want to cry. Instead, you get the case study printed, highlight every other word in bright neon yellow and then you start googling. You have hit rock bottom and you cannot go any lower. Up – you can only go up.

Stage IV: Comet ride

It is 4 am in the morning. Mosquitoes have held banquets on your bare arms, and the night canteen staff has shooed your team away because you talk too loudly and you argue too much. You have ripped each other apart by now. Egos have been shattered and nemesis have been identified. It doesn’t matter for the time being – the case is more important. You are sleep walking, your boyfriend is on the verge of breaking up with you, your parents have forgotten you exist. But hey, don’t worry – you are almost there.

Stage V: Curtain

And it’s done. You have finished the case study, submitted it precisely six minutes before the portal closed and you are feeling super proud of yourself. You have done some good – no, great work! The result is going to come out sometime next month. And then you open your inbox – there is another email. There is another case study launch this Friday. You bang your laptop shut, and you are back to the beginning.




About the Author:

pooja wanpal

Pooja Wanpal considers reading the sole aim of her life. She is obsessed with trekking, pani puri, and adores traveling. She is a freelance content writer, and has penned the novel, ‘Love and Lokpal’. She is currently studying Human Resource Management and Labour Relations at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She is also a part of the InsideIIM Student Team 2016-17.