Corporate competitions are an essential part of any B-School student's life. From coming up with breakthrough ideas to learning how to apply knowledge gained in classrooms to a real-life situation, the entire experience of participating in and winning a competition such as ICICI Bank's Beat the Curve is one worth burning the midnight lamp for.
This year's national winners of the reputed case study competition, Amit Kumar Das and Raghav Agarwal from PGP17, IIM Shillong, share how they turned a dream into a prize-winning submission:
Chapter 1: The Dream
“A dream doesn't become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
- Colin Powell
Having spent a year in IIM Shillong, one gets a sense of how engaging corporate competitions can be for the participants in this part of the country. We had harboured the dream of becoming a National Winner of a prestigious Corporate Competition early in the onset of our 2nd Year. The goal was always to strive towards achieving the best among the best. We were well aware that the road to achieving this dream will be abreast of failures, but we were prepared to sweat it out.
Chapter 2: The Path that led to Failure
Early in the academic year, our focus always remained concentrated towards that National Winner title. From, preparing a detailed analysis of all competitions floated throughout to year to working out non-clashing timelines, we had kept our focus competitions concise but definite. From trying our hands at Amazon Ace to failing in achieving desired results within deadline in Mahindra War Room and Yes Bank Transformation Series, we had seen all lows in our initial attempts. After that came Tata Steel Steel-a-Thon.
We worked almost endlessly on the campus submissions aiming it to achieve National Final status. Unfortunately, though, due to circumstances beyond our control, we could not even make it to the Campus Finale. The heart-wrenching loss had us shattered and almost hopeless that we would ever fulfil that dream.
Chapter 3: The Opportunity
ICICI Beat the Curve came in during the eve of September. The initial campus submission demanded the participants to produce an analysis from among five sectors given. We as a duo had on previous occasions had had discussions on the need and benefits of Peer-to-Peer Lending in Rural Areas. The idea to pursue Financial Inclusion as our core sector germinated thus. We soon worked out on creating a 27-variable model to gauge this otherwise less researched area. A few weeks after the heart-breaking failure in Steel-a-Thon, the news of us becoming the Campus Winners in Beat the Curve came. The silver lining was now getting clearer for us.
Chapter 4: The Happiness of Success
This opportunity was probably our last to fulfil that dream we had nurtured. We gave it a befitting effort too. During our 2nd Round Village Immersion Program, we came well researched and equipped for a formal primary survey. We had realised that true penetration of a private firm in rural areas would come from solving their issues. We stressed on deliberating about sustainable and feasible solutions for ICICI Bank which would solve on-ground problems for the residents too. What came about was an array of suggestions which amalgamated sequentially for a bank to make its mark in a rural village in India. From Peer-to-Peer Platform, Rural Champion Points Model to Collaboration with CSC and roping in State Celebrities as Village Ambassadors, we made it a point to alleviate all segments of their pains.
13th Feb’19 – the day Mr T.K Srirang, Group CHRO, ICICI Bank announced our names and invited us to the dais as National Winners, we realised that the path to our dreams was our pursuit of happiness.
Amit Kumar Das and Raghav Agarwal
PGP 17, IIM Shillong