It was a moment of mixed emotions. As B-School students, the only fact you have control over is doing your personal best. Every other institute we competed with were National Finalists as well and the depth of matter presented by them as a solution to the case study was nothing less than “their own masterpiece”. Good with calculations, your brain tends to evaluate and learn from all that was being discussed and has its own judgement of the team with the feather on its cap. In such a situation, a pleasant surprise of being declared as National Winners endowed not just a sense of achievement, but gratitude as well because more than individuals, we were Team SIBM Pune there. It reminded of the entire journey as flashbacks in those few seconds of walking up to the stage to sketch that moment of pride for SIBM Pune.
Asian Paints offers a wonderful opportunity to the students of SIBM Pune every year to join them in solving their real business problem. At SIBM, it is both a privilege and a great learning opportunity to translate our domain-specific classroom knowledge coupled with on-ground scenarios as primary insights to be conveyed to the leaders themselves.
We never started with an aim to win. It was more about tracing the reality, analyzing the situation, putting forth our recommendations that could help bridge the gaps and replicating it before the leaders that kept us responsive in all situational analysis. First is about reading the situation described in the case study, second is about understanding the situation described and third is about situation on-ground, deriving insights from different stakeholders’ points of view.
It wasn’t easy to devise a strategy in the best interest of everyone. We went through the case study multiple times combing for every bit of information we could garner. Reading through the lines and between the lines of the case study helped us have a good understanding of our deliverables. It also led us to think about the differentiating factor as we know businesses need to go forth with something that cannot be cloned easily.
It took us 50 days to design our masterpiece for the nationals and it would be unfair to mention anything other than “Feasibility Analysis” as the most challenging part for our team. Our recommendations were based keeping in view the interests of multiple stakeholders and we had to take a calculated risk within the given timeframe to devise strategies keeping in view the kind of structure, culture, relationships and values that the organization drives and that was the most taxing part.
If the walls at SIBM Pune could hear us, they could keep a tap on the number of times the mercury levels shot up even at 2 AM. Even though each one of us considered ourselves as the Not-So-Aggressive ones initially, we ensured our misunderstandings were taken care of by the time we had our campus rounds.
We started off with dividing the work, deliverables, focus areas, and individual perspectives and we eventually walked into a stage where every idea was discussed in detail with its pros and cons. Each icon, each word, the colors used therein, our script, everything was weighed. As we spent more time together, our understanding of each other’s thought process and the demands of the situation improved and that dawned with our willingness to listen to the other person with open ears and an intent to understand. And it brings a smile on our faces today as we ink those moments where minutes after our presentation we appreciated each other’s tone, subject matter, understanding and presence of mind during the final presentation. Nothing worth having comes easy and so was the feeling of working with the team.
An eye for detail, organized and structured thought process, keeping things simple in every aspect, our ability to work around data (both qualitative and quantitative), synchronization of primary and secondary data, critical thinking, and breaking down a problem into smaller achievable deliverables are some of our major assets. Our primary insights and secondary research helped us design a strong recommendation as a solution.
Nine other teams made it to the national finale. Every team had something to distinguish themselves in terms of content proving the worth of their presence. The hall was blessed with exceptional ideas being discussed. More than a competition, it became a mitochondrion of objectives, planning, designing, roadmaps, and propositions which became a platform for learning from all the bright minds here. We were delighted with Team XLRI’s effort to actually showcase the 3D model of one of their recommendations which we saw as being able to move a step ahead.
The case study presented to us was vivid, deep and lucid. That led us to draw clear lines of the action plan. On one hand, there’s personal best that every team put forth and there’s another aspect of what the organization is looking at that, according to us, decided the criteria for judgement. The learned leaders taking their valuable time out to think, analyze, discuss, evaluate, and pick up the best ideas from B-School students to maintain the growth engine of the organization, in itself is a validation of excellence and gravity with which the decision was reached at. Despite the format stating National Winners and Runners Up will be acknowledged and appreciated, the efforts put forth by Team IIM Lucknow being valued and recognized instantly as the Second Runners Up is a fact which in itself speaks volumes of the organization’s intent to revere ideas that could help the business grow.
The learning in that hall was immense. Be it in terms of ideas discussed for the particular case study or the various business verticals and the way they operate or the impromptu activities designed for us to have our thinking caps on. One of the biggest learnings we had during the course of this entire journey is “Keep Calm, Keep Simple, Keep Thinking, Keep Exploring” and that would carve roads of sustenance for both business entities and individuals.
Having those few words and interactions with K.B.S Anand, Amit Syngle and all the other proficient leaders of the organization over lunch, tea or during the presentation and various other activities are some of the moments we would treasure forever. It is indeed a special moment for us as we put forth our learnings and they put forth their own from their personal and professional experiences making it a win-win situation for us.
Each Corporate organised competition is unique in its own way. From structure to judging criteria. Read more about Asian Paints CANVAS 2018 and the organizers Asian Paints. Other competition organized by Asian Paints is Design is in my DNA!