Meet the Winners of the Barilla International Case Study Competition

Abhishek Sharma and Gaurav Sharma from MISB Bocconi emerged victorious in an International Case Study competition organized by the world’s biggest Pasta maker – Barilla. The duo made an all-expenses paid trip to Milan and Parma in Italy where a lot of people were fascinated by their idea. Let’s hear from them to know more about their experience

Describe the competition – The challenge, The competitors, The Scale of the competition.

Barilla Good Four is an Annual International Competition organised by Barilla, the biggest Pasta manufacturing company in the world. The competition was about an ‘Innovative Idea for Social Benefit’ and it had more than 250 International teams from various B-schools participating, teams from North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. There were different categories for the competition like good for knowledge, planet and community targeting different aspects of social impact on planet and communities. The winners were awarded a sum of 15,000 Euros and mentoring from the incubation centre of SDA Bocconi Speed-me-up.

As a brief introduction, our idea was to address the three core problems that are present in Indian agriculture – Indebtedness, Lack of Education and Wastage.

Toughest part about the competition

The scale of the competition was huge with points for various criteria like Innovative idea, Business Strategy, Financial Planning, Diversity in the team, Relevant set of skills. Two of the most important aspects were the social impact of the idea and the robustness of the model which is where our model scored the maximum because of its direct impact on the farmer’s well being.  It also needed us to have an impactful presentation as we were presenting in front of judges from places such as World Health Organisation. So to bring it all in a package was a big challenge.

How did MISB Bocconi help you?

MISB impacted us in two ways, they gave us the tools and then gave us an opportunity to use those tools in a challenging scenario.

It gave us the chance to be taught by the best professors of the world here in India which helped academically to develop our management skills, thus giving us all the tools. Then they gave us an opportunity to spend a semester in Milan where we were given this wide platform to compete with the best students in the world. And the fact that we competed and won against seriously good guys from different parts of the world, made this victory even sweeter. I think there is no alternate to good quality teaching because that is what gives you the confidence to perform in the real world.

To read everything about MISB Bocconi on, click here

Describe your experience at various stages of the competition

The competition was divided into two long stages-

The first stage was to submit a business idea that had to be innovative and at the same time be robust enough to be implemented; another big challenge was to fit all of this in a five page presentation along with a 3 minute video and an Excel file with financial budgeting. During this phase we sought help from our Entrepreneurship Professor who helped us present our idea in the best possible manner. With so many entries coming in, it took the judges almost two months to come up with the Top Two finalists.

Once we made it to the next level, we received an all-expenses paid trip by Barilla for the finals that happened in Milan and Parma. There we had to present our idea in front of a distinguished panel of judges who decided the winners after evaluating each project on the parameters mentioned above. Initially it was a nerve wrecking experience to be in front of those people but since we were well prepared, we gave it our best shot which was appreciated by the whole audience. Even before the results were announced the next day in Parma – the headquarters of Barilla we had many people coming to us and telling us that our idea is their favourite. So, apart from the win this appreciation was also very satisfying.


Tell us something about your backgrounds and your future plans

We both have quite varied profiles and over the years we have also worked on other projects so we understand each other’s competencies well. I am a mechanical engineer and have experience in the field of Finance and Project Management while my partner is an Electronics and Communication engineer with an experience in supply chain management and marketing strategy.

We will be starting our careers in the corporate while with the mentoring that we have got as a part of the prize we will be trying to improve the idea and implement it in the near future ourselves or in collaboration with a dedicated partner.



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