RB Mavericks is a National Level Case Study Competition. We have Pranab Sen (Second Year, MBA-BM) with us from Team Ironfist (Pranab Sen, Purvi Mehta) of Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, the National qualifiers, to discuss his enriching experience.
Congratulations on the podium finish in the RB Mavericks Case Challenge! What inspired you to take part in this competition?
The primary aim of joining a b-school was to expose ourselves to new things and test our own potential against the brightest minds across the country. Hence, when the XIMB-XUB Competitions Committee, Exemplar, informed us that one of the biggest FMCG Company in the world has opened the competition to our students; all 720 of us were very excited to take part in it. The chance to compete and take part in one of the biggest case study competitions in India was something we didn’t want to miss. We wanted to test whatever we had learned about “business” throughout the past year, through this competition.
Could you tell us a bit about how you approached the competition?
In the first round, we were given a free-hand to think whatever we want. We were told to come up with a product which will solve a social issue as well as be profitable for the company in the long run. “Product with a purpose” was the tagline of the competition. So, first, my teammate, Purvi and I researched a lot about Reckitt Benckiser. We tried to understand how the company works, what line of products they manufacture and how they bring it to the market. This was followed by multiple brainstorming sessions, where we thought about various products and tried to find the pros and cons for each of them. RB has a huge product portfolio ranging from mosquito repellents, condoms, sanitary products and health products. We touched each line of products and thought about how we could improve the products or introduce a new product altogether.
In the end, we zeroed in on the mosquito repellent category and decided to find a solution for people who are unable to buy mosquito repellent products or is averse to products which emit smoke. We tried to come up with a product which was non-electrical and provides continuous protection.
After that, it was just putting our thoughts into the slides and trying to keep up a logical flow of information and making sure that the reader will remain interested in going through the presentation. That’s how we decided to go about it.
That sounds like solid planning! So, could you please take us through your journey in this competition? What were some of the challenges you faced and what were some of the rewards?
The whole experience was exhilarating, to say the least. This was the first time for all of us to be present in a studio, with innumerable cameras glaring into our faces. The nervousness associated with it was overwhelming sometimes. I remember how at one point I had started shaking when I was presenting in front of the panel. In the end, you learn a lot, you’re in the same boat as the top minds of various b-schools and the industry. We’d say it’s both challenging and fun.
There was a multitude of challenges that we faced. First and foremost was time management. These types of competition require a lot of work, attention, and commitment. It's more like an internship/live project. After we cleared the first two rounds, the final round was to be held at Delhi, NDTV studio, so balancing classes, exams and travel was fairly challenging as well. Another major thing that I would like to talk about is the research. When you are innovating and launching a new product, you would find that there are a lot of gaps and questions about it. So, to come up with a solution for each of those parts was difficult. You would hit a roadblock often and you have to circum-navigate through it. Other than the prize money and the five-star stay, I’d say the opportunity to interact with RB’s top management and the memories made along the way were our biggest takeaways.
What role did XIMB play in prepping you guys for this competition?
During our induction, one of our professors had taken a case study session. Even before joining XIMB, we had heard a lot about case studies being an integral part of the curriculum, but this was the first time we were getting involved in it. From then on, top professors from our college made sure we were exposed to many real-life cases in the classroom. This helped us in knowing how to deal with such things, how to analyse the root problems of the case and be business minded about them. Also, when we came to XIMB, we realised that the college is very serious about case study competitions. We actually have a whole committee dedicated to the cause, whose job is to facilitate student participation in various competitions. There are also other internal functional committees that always organise case study competitions to help us test our knowledge and keep us updated.