The most exciting thing for a b-schooler is to work on real-world problems of one of India’s top federations. And what better way than to do it with case study competitions? Mahindra War Room is a unique opportunity for business school students. In this series of Mahindra Warriors, we feature the 20 teams – the finalists. The ones who have made it to the last leg of the competition. The series comprises of the Warriors’ journey.
Meet the Mahindra Warriors in this series and tell us who do you think has what it takes to win this year’s Mahindra War Room. Let us know in the comments below!
Introduce each member of your team!
Yash Gupta: I am an Economics graduate from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata and am currently studying at MDI Gurgaon. I have worked for 2 years as a derivatives trader at Futures First. I believe my greatest strengths are my ability to bring the best out of people and working under pressure. Staying calm in the face of challenging situations is a skill I have acquired from my high pressure trading days. I am a Calcutta boy at heart, and enjoy food, music, cricket and most of the other finer aspects of life. Mahindra War Room is the only b-school competition I have taken part in as I believe it is the most intense and the closest to a real business scenario. I am glad to have reached the platinum tier and am raring to have a shot at the champions trophy.
Krishna Mittal: I am a finance major at MDI, Gurgaon and have pursued a bachelor’s degree in Economics from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. Currently, I am the Investment Co-ordinator at Unnati- the oldest and largest student-run investment fund in the country. I passionately follow the value investing philosophy and try to keep myself updated with the happenings in various business sectors. I enjoy following and analysing the sport of cricket and it has taught me the values of hard work, determination and team spirit. I believe I value time and am a punctual person. In this fast changing world, the least we can do is keep up with it. I am excited to be part of the Platinum Tier of the Mahindra War Room and hope to take home a bunch of learnings from the grand stage.
Aakanksha Gupta: I am an Instrumentation and Control engineer from NIT Jalandhar. Post that I worked as a decision analyst at ZS associates and was concerned with sales force analytics for a US-based pharmaceutical company. Currently, I am pursuing my masters in marketing and general management from MDI Gurgaon and was first fascinated by the fields during my B.Tech. days when I participated in a related event. I am a very perseverant person and believe in putting in the maximum possible effort wherever possible. I am extremely thankful to Mahindra for hearing out our big and bold ideas for Club M and are looking forward to ace the Platinum round.
Yashwant Kedia: I am a commerce graduate from St. Xavier's College in Kolkata. I am a fresher who is fascinated by the field of sales and marketing. I truly believe in the mission of solving the deep-seeded socio-economic issues that plague the world in general and India in particular. In relation to this, I am glad I had the opportunity of solving such problems in my own small way through my college chapter of Enactus. I belong to a business family and believe that I have the right mindset and skillset to think and work like an entrepreneur. I believe War Room as a platform requires just that kind of a thought-process to solve pinpointed problems in the industry. Looking forward to present our solution to the head honchos at Mahindra!
What made you participate in Mahindra Warroom Season 11?
Participating in the Mahindra War Room, one of the most prestigious competitions in the B-school circuit was a no brainer for us. During the competition launch, we learned that our school has never won the competition and this was something our team wants to change. Our seniors participated in the tenth edition of the competition and they told us about how the experience was enriching. We understood that the firm is really invested in the competition and the cases provided are live business problems and the applications are taken very seriously by the senior management. Again, the practices at the Mahindra Group attracted us & Mahindra War Room is a great opportunity to get an interview with the firm.
After getting to know the group better through the competition, What does Mahindra Group stand for, in your mind?
The War Room has exposed us to the different businesses that operate under the umbrella of Mahindra and the participation of the company through 20 key industries. The group stands for innovation and this can be clearly understood from the enterprising ventures the group has undertaken in different business sectors. The firm has always tried to push the limits by promoting the culture of challenging conventional thinking and the use of technology. The stakeholder focus of the group shows the impetus it places on economic, social and financial viability of ideas. We also believe that Mahindra Group stands for sustainability and it has over the years made conscious effort to rise responsibly.
How did you go about picking your case and solving it? Tell us a few team anecdotes.
As we looked at the different problems at Mahindra, we realised that Club Mahindra is a venture that is nearing 25 years of operations and the first Club Mahindra member is about to finish his/her tenure. We believe that the business operates in an exciting sector with a huge opportunity laying ahead. The Indian Hospitality sector has seen various disruptions and challenges. Thus, this is an excellent time for a group like Mahindra to capitalise on the gaps. Solving the case involved a lot of primary and secondary research regarding real time issues, opportunities and trends in the industry. Since it was the hospitality sector and all four of us enjoy traveling, the time spent on research was a lot of fun. Our analysis involved a lot of late nights, missed classes and caffeine overdose.
When we decided how we were going to conduct primary for the Club Mahindra Case, we felt that insights would be genuine only if we approached the Club Mahindra Sales offices posing as prospective customers. Right from the moment we entered the sales office, we had the Club Mahindra Sales executive lunging ahead and answering each query we had regarding the membership program. He was extremely helpful in the information he provided us - but we felt guilty of deceiving him for our project. So we decided to tell him the truth and apologized for taking his time unduly.
How are you preparing for the finale?
Once we got to know that that we have made it to the Platinum round, we realised that our basic idea has received validation at the senior levels in Club Mahindra but now the next hurdle to be crossed was to be well versed in the implementation details. So we shifted our focus to refining the most basic details and plugging all the possible leaks to make sure our recommendations are as watertight as possible. We questioned all our assumptions again to ensure that we haven’t lost sight of the basic problem being solved along the journey.
What is the one question you would like to ask Mr Anand Mahindra when you meet him in person?
Given the significant role that millennials are playing in the Indian consumption story, both as consumers and change masters. What is the broad-based strategy that the Mahindra Group has devised to cater to this segment going ahead with respect to the different industries it operates in?
Your plan with the prize money?
Interestingly, our case analysis has given us the biggest hint about our plans with the prize money. We are looking to travel around for varied experiences and exploring different locations. Apart from that, we would definitely want to make to those who have helped us in truly understanding the business problem and in developing the solution that we are presenting a part of the celebrations.