A Peculiar Mix Of People – IIM Raipur

The classroom at any IIM is quite unique by itself. While regular classrooms usually involve the faculty delivering a lecture, and a few students asking doubts. At IIMs, with the incentive of marks for classroom participation, the classroom experience becomes quite a lively and interactive one.

This is where the diversity of students makes a difference. Our batch at IIM Raipur consists of a considerable number of Commerce graduates, Bachelors in Arts and Sciences, doctors, etc. in addition to the roster of engineers, all with varying work experience. This adds different flavours to the classroom discussions.

One such memorable incident was in our Communications class, where we were divided into different groups had to pitch a product to the rest of the class and answer the questions that followed.

One of the groups had a peculiar mix of people* –

Amit – An engineer with extensive experience in marketing industrial products

Bhaskar – A B.Com fresher

Charu – A B.Sc. in Chemistry, with a year of work experience and a complete foodie

Deepak – A software engineer with few months’ experiences in an IT firm

Elvin – A serial entrepreneur

Farhan – An arts graduate in literature

*All names used are fictional

The product that they were pitching was as uncanny as their combination – “A robotic arm for making dishes”

Charu started the pitch by expressing his love for food, and how he longed to travel instantly to places famous for particular dishes, such as Hyderabad for the Nallakunta Biryani, or to Austin for Torchy’s Taco’s, as and when he wanted it. Farhan took it up from there, by making some references to pop culture, and explaining that while teleporting was still far in the future, they had an idea that could satisfy such cravings – A robotic arm that has preloaded recipes, and learns others from online videos, which can make the dish you want instantly, provided you have all the ingredients, as explained by Deepak.

Next came Bhaskar, who explained the pricing (Rs. 25k) and EMI options.

Amit and Elvin explained other nitty gritty such as how they were planning to pitch it for households as well as hotels, and how the issue of ingredients could be solved by the seamless purchase over online portals automatically.

By now, most of the class, including me, was ready to beat the group down for their supposedly impractical and outlandish idea.

All technical queries came first, which were handled by the team quite well, but then came two important questions –

1. Wouldn’t someone rather use the Rs. 25k to fly to the location, or better, have a similar dish at a Taj or JW Marriott?

2. As compared to the cost of the hardware, software and AI used in the product, the price was peanuts. How were they going to sustain the product line?

For question 1, Elvin explained that for uncompromising foodies with a constraint of time, this would be a godsend

For question 2, Amit said that they would be working on a service economy, whereby they would charge for various upgrades that they would bring in improving the efficiency and range of skills that the arm would provide

This small discussion showed me why different viewpoints can make a huge difference in business. If a set of kindred spirits come together from varying backgrounds can come together like colors of the rainbow, there surely will be light.


                                         Which ABG company would you want to work for and why

I would love to work for Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd., particularly in a Sales Operations role. It amazes me how the different retail stores under Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. manage to maintain a ready inventory of such varied products, with an extensive reach, and still maintain high customer satisfaction and retention. Working here would be a rich learning experience indeed.

Chirag Gupte is a first year student at IIM Raipur