Time And Achievements Wait For None At A B-School

Time and Achievements in a b-school never go together. B-Schools are a stickler for time and we are thrown into a volcano of responsibilities right from the first day. Assignments and Case studies form the whirlwind with extra ocean currents of clubs and events. Yet, the lesson learnt in time is that we must make the utmost use of the 2 years, no matter how stiff the timetable is. 3 of us in MISB Bocconi took time out from our busy schedules and volunteered to enter into a b-school competition – The Mallennial Challenge organised by BestSellers, unBox Retail. The challenge was impeccably difficult which required at least 170 odd hours to complete.

The challenge was to survey a Retail Mall and study its demographics to suggest out of the box strategies in order to improve footfall in that mall. We could choose a single mall or a multitude of malls under the same management. Bonus points were allocated to suggest strategies to improve footfall in any one of the BestSeller stores. The deliverables included a 15 slide Powerpoint with 2-5 strategic recommendations and the detailed data analysis of the market research conducted in the field.

Though it seemed tough at the beginning, we took it up wholeheartedly and rushed to our faculty who was the official mentor for this project. We named our team ‘ Bocconi Esploratore’. She was happy with our initiative and was overwhelmed with the enthusiasm and set the project goals straight. She also highlighted the problems that we would face and the rejection rate if we were to conduct a consumer survey. Nevertheless, 3 of us were determined and chose the Seawoods Grand Central Mall-Navi Mumbai for this challenge. It was a new mall and we wanted to study the mall in this nascent stage.

Our strategy included to cover a full week and to incentivize the survey respondents. Yes, customers rejected filling our survey form at first, but going on, with the utmost support of the mall management we were able to get about 100 odd responses to the questionnaire we had formulated. Happy with the responses, we also took a retailer tour to know what their take was on improving the footfall at their stores and mall as a whole. This exercise was tiring but was truly interesting as the learning was immense. We actually learned the art of field surveys and the customer perception.

Data Analytics was a course upcoming in the next trimester, but the Bocconi faculties and Coursera helped us gain immense insights on how to use analytics to decipher from a survey. To gain something, we would have to sacrifice something and we gave up on the Diwali celebrations to this survey. The results of the survey were apt and we could use these to recommend strategies. It took us 3 days to complete the powerpoint presentation and we reviewed it with our mentor who again guided us step by step on how to use such insights.

After the submission to the unBox Forum, we were awaiting our results and were overwhelmed with the fact that we stood in the Top 5 national selection. The top 5 winners would have to present their solutions to the jury on March 16, 2018 at the unBox Retail conference which would experience Retail industry stalwarts and speakers. The top 5 winners were awarded a complete pass to the event with the award function, masterclasses, and guest sessions. The top 5 winners would have to vie for the top 3 selections.

The key learnings from this experience were: ‘ Never stay idle in a b-school, Keep participating in every b-school competition that you may come across. This sharpens your thinking abilities and exposure. The competition might be small or huge, but your participation matters. You would never get your b-school life again!’

Shruthi Sharma

Shruthi Sharma, is a PGPB student at SDA Bocconi Asia Center-the offshore campus of SDA Bocconi,Milan,Italy. She loves public speaking, blogging, and dancing. She is currently the Chief Student Placement Co-ordinator at SDA Bocconi Asia Center. She loves marketing!