It has been about roughly three months since my MBA journey began in MDI Gurgaon & within this time, I have experienced a multitude of things & a whirlwind of different emotions, ranging from the excitement of joining one of India’s top B-schools to disappointment over not being able to experience campus life due to the ongoing pandemic crisis. The initially daunting looking B-school rigor seems to have become a part of the daily routine for me & my batchmates & made us more aware of the value of an MBA degree. One key area that does occupy a significant role in our MBA lives happens to be the corporate competitions that are regularly conducted across different B-schools & cover a wide variety of domains.
For this year due to the shift towards online studies in almost all colleges & universities in the country, competitions too have shifted online. This has led to a radically different approach towards working on any given competition. Gone are the days spent on brainstorming & engaging in a string of debates & discussions with fellow teammates in the library. It has now been replaced by a virtual set up where one has to contend with power shortages, internet & connectivity problems, issues with sound quality & a limited period of up to 45 minutes before the call terminates, in addition to some of the problems that one might encounter in a real environment. This is all quite new for a lot of people who are used to approaching competitions differently. But it has also undeniably allowed us to evolve & adapt to rapidly changing times. Our use of technology has certainly improved & we are probably better able to schedule & plan things. So far I have had about 6-7 competitions of mine happen online & I have gone from a phase of initial discomfort with the format to gaining significantly in confidence through the collective experiences I have had participating in them, as have many of my peers. To give some context, I would like to narrate my experiences with the first competition that I gave online.
I had participated in a consulting challenge organized along with 3 other members from college about 3 weeks ago. I had planned to participate in the competition for some time & had tried to get in touch with interested parties. Through endless WhatsApp chats & phone conversations that did not amount to much, I finally stumbled upon people who showed an interest in participating. We began to carve out plans for attempting the challenge & held regular online sessions that went on into the long hours of the night. While we did encounter several problems with technical issues, scheduling problems, limited time slots, etc, we were also able to have more civil & collaborative sessions online. In addition to this through the screen-sharing options, we could convey our jotted down ideas in a better manner & share links of relevance more easily with each other. Seniors too became more readily approachable & available through the online mode. It allowed them to share their valuable insights & learnings from past iterations of the competitions that they had taken part in. It also allowed us to edit our submissions together & in full consultation with each other. This was also an effective way to express criticism & constructive feedback for future competitions & make various corrective measures that helped to improve our submission. While some of the more fun & games like moments & the banter & liveliness of a real-world set up were harder to replicate & it did come with some of its impediments, the online setup did help us in coming together & making a submission.
As the world plans to move towards a more online-based setup (as many companies are currently doing & might well continue to do in the future), it becomes vital to get acclimated to the changing times & situations. I believe that online competitions offer a good opportunity to hone one’s skills for preparing for such a scenario ahead & will help us feel more at ease with similar group tasks & sessions in various organizations in the future.
About the author: V Varun is a first-year student of the PGPM program at MDI Gurgaon. He is a fresher who hails from Ghaziabad & has completed his computer science engineering degree from VIT Vellore in 2020. He has interned in two companies till now & had been active in extra-curricular activities in both school & college. He won several prestigious Inter school quizzing competitions like the Times NIE quiz & wrote & directed two short films in college. His first short film was awarded the best short film on the World Suicide Prevention Day in the year 2017. His interests & hobbies include blogging, reading & listening to progressive rock & heavy metal music.