As B-school students, we are well acquainted with Case Study Competitions. They test you on your approach to navigate through a real-life business problem and present you with many opportunities.
But is there a winning formula? What makes a team cut through the race?
We are in conversation with Pranjali Morchhale, who along with her team won the Colgate Transcend Challenge 2019. She has been featured in the Top 100 Competitive Business Leaders 2019. Previously, she also emerged as the National Winner of HUL Carpe Diem Season 5 and has been the National Finalist for Hero MotoCorp Challenge Season 4.
Read on as she takes you through her journey.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a BMS graduate from the University of Mumbai. Prior to joining MICA, I have worked as an assistant director in films. However, I am a fresher and from my first hand experience, one doesn't necessarily require prior work experience to solve challenging business problems to navigate through the Competitions.
What was your motivation behind participating in this competition?
I enjoy working on the personal category segment which was a big motivation for me to participate in this competition. More so, the case study was also a source of big motivation for me.
Though, the case given to us seemed very open-ended and vague. The challenge was to understand why Palmolive isn’t considered in the premium category and change the perception around it. We interpreted it as a positioning challenge.
We were given a brand directory and other supporting material to understand the brand and there were some financial constraints too around which we had to work.
What was your approach towards solving the case?
From the start, we were ascertained that in the premium market and personal care, the current trend is that 'natural' is something that is perceived as premium. We built our idea around it.
After a few sessions of research and brainstorming, we had 2 options at hand: (i) Change the existing brand (ii) Create a sub-brand
After many rounds of discussion, we decided to create a new brand as whatever was currently happening with the brand was good and we did not want to lose out on this part which had been built over the years.
How much time did you invest to work on this?
The competition was spread for 6 months and it had multiple rounds to it. Usually, before the submission, we would sit at a stretch for around 3-4 hours. But, as the deadline approached, we would end up working on it for around 10 hours.
How did you keep yourself motivated during this period?
Every competition that I take part in, from the start I already imagine winning it. And, the minute you think like that, you feel confident that you could navigate through multiple rounds and make it to the final cut.
What challenges did you face during this face?
I could sum it down to two big challenges. One was to differentiate our submission from the rest in the college itself, as most of the MICAns tend to think alike. We were confident that if we cut through the Campus Round, we could make it till the end.
The second challenge was to continuously improve our presentation. There were 4 rounds in the competition and every time before submission, we had to look back, find faults and improve our presentation.
How did you navigate through the uncertainties on the day of the presentation?
I believe you have to be quick on your feet. Before every presentation, I would think of every possible question that the Jury might ask us and prepare them.
One important thing is to always have data at hand, which may not have necessarily been included in the presentation but it supports your rationale. Data adds credibility to the idea.
Another thing is to speak with conviction, which automatically happens when you are sure of your idea.
Do you have any advice for B-school students to prepare for Competitions?
I have learned that Secondary Research isn’t adequate. You have to spend a good amount of time in primary research; get your hands dirty and talk to the consumer. It would give you a good understanding and help you generate insight. And, if the insight is right, everything else would fall into place.