MBA. A degree that speaks of hopes and dreams for many people. Each wanting to carving out their own identity into this microcosm. Some try, some work hard, some win and some are able to realize the dreams they had. Few are those, privileged are those. And behind the façade of achievement, is an average Joe, who like you and me, worked in silence, slogged and made it big.
This is one such story of my friend and my senior from DTU, Govinda Gupta.
TAS announced Invictas, a coveted case competition. He and his teammates registered for it. He was initially sceptical about this and didn't know if this was a good idea considering he wasn’t eligible for TAS during summer internships. He mulled over the possibility and gave in.
There were a total of 646 teams across 9 campuses. Each of these teams was divided into groups of 8-10 teams. The first six rounds were business simulation rounds where team members were supposed to solve different scenarios for a Tent business given changing GDP and other economic parameters. They were able to crack the first round and were on top in their group. Usually, the rate of return is an important success factor but, in this simulation, there were various other factors as well. And after six rounds which were interspersed between Mid-terms, where we had two back to back exams on most days, the prep needed to be strong. So, they mutually decided on a strategy. Half an hour of prep followed by 1 hour of discussion. Also, each team member brought a different set of skills which also helped them comprehend and solve the case. And after the 6 rounds were complete, they were declared campus winners.
The team reached Mumbai-the city of dreams, as some might say. Govinda was still sceptical and all he wanted to do was try his level best. Little did he know what was going to happen. This time the case was even more difficult to solve. This time the simulation was for a Lift business where the scenarios were even more complex situations, involving issues such as labour laws and where environmental sustainability was also important from an evaluation standpoint. The team sat a day before and slogged till 4 am to prepare for the case with all the relevant excel sheets. Armed with this, they started the simulation only to realize that the tools to do so were given! But, each team, at the national round, was assigned a jury. They assessed each team on the basis of their team skills and strategy ideation and implementation skills. 3 rounds went by, and the team was doing well but was consistently stuck at 6th position. They revised their strategy after each round and made sure they were at par with other teams. Each round was timed, and even as they were approaching to the final round, the team made an error and that reflected in the results. My friends here is the moment in time when most people give up and are defeated by the outcome. But not Govinda. The team conducting the simulation told them that the most important round was just about to come and that they should do their best in that. Now, the laws of probability defy the possibilities of what happened. By then, each of the competitors had closed in on a price-cutting strategy and major changes were needed. The team made it and the rounds were over.
And the results announced. Imagine, consistently trying and knowing that no matter what they did in this last round, the odds were against them. And just when they would have given up, the name IIM Lucknow was announced. Govinda, spellbound, got up and went to the stage. He was caught unawares by the gravity of what had just struck him. National winners of Invictas 2018. Yes, that.
But, the fight didn't end there. Like in boxing the blows, they never stop. U can dodge and prepare yourself but there is so much which can go wrong and so much that you can't anticipate. The interviews were up the next morning and he didn't hear his name even once. IIM-A, IIM-L and even SP Jain candidates were called in but not him. Finally, his name was called. There were questions where the interviewers told him that he answered wrong. The questions manoeuvred between skill-competency and HR. They were tricky and meant to assess team skills as well as the knowledge that he would bring to the company. But, he kept trying. Did not give up. His answers to some of the questions were unique and honest. He told me how important it was to stick to what was the right thing to do. And just when he reached his hotel, he received the mail he would never forget. The one where he had been offered the PPO for TAS. It was his dream company and he made it. Not because he was crazy amazing or anything (he is though), but because he kept going when most people would have left the battle-field.