I felt immensely proud and was lost for words when we were declared the 1st Runners Up for PepsiCo Change The Game Season 3. After going through 5 rounds over 1 month and working at our absolute peak in order to create the solution for the case, the way we felt when our names were announced is ineffable.
PepsiCo Change The Game Season 3 is a breath of fresh air in the MBA “CorpComp” universe. Having been a part of multiple case competitions, we had reached our saturation point and decided to stop because almost all of them focused on go-to-market (GTM) strategies, product development, branding solutions, etc.
But here was CTG, a competition that didn’t ask us to just focus on the business aspect of things but actually wanted solutions regarding the sustainability issue that plagues our environment today. We weren’t limited by frameworks. In fact, PepsiCo encouraged us to be creative and to come up with something that could have a real-world impact.
Massive credit for our success goes to our institute, FMS, Delhi and Delhi University. Our solution was centered around stopping crop burning and creating a more sustainable packaging mechanism. For this, we needed guidance from farmers, SMEs and the concerned officials and FMS provided us with everything. As an institution, we have adopted the village of Ramnagar. That gave us access to understanding the issues in depth. Further, we were able to reach out to our alums and talk to environmentalists from the Department of Agriculture Research, DU.
Tadasa and I together had participated in multiple corporate competitions earlier and hence, we had a really good understanding between us. Further, both of us being asthma patients, the solution was really close to our hearts, hence we didn’t really face any issues. The attributes that we had in our team: attention to detail, creativity, work ethic, and presentation skills. Honestly, if as a team you can gather all 4 of these, success in corporate competitions is highly likely.
There were 10 teams in the finale and all from the premier B-Schools of the country. They consisted of students who had gone through the best internships in the country, PPO holders and the combined caliber in the room on the day of the finale was sensational. We had to be a little dispassionate about the result in order to ensure that we do our best.
The judging panel consisted of the CEO, CHRO, VP of Government Affairs and the Senior Director of R&D from PepsiCo as well as the Founders of Smile Foundation and Chakr. I honestly can’t express how great the judgement quality, as well as the feedback we received, was.
We, as a society, really aren’t able to fathom the extent of the damage that climate change and pollution have on the environment and the onus is on us, the B-Schoolers, who have had the privilege to join large scale companies to not just reduce the carbon footprint but to focus on complete sustainability.
I have immense respect for the way the PepsiCo team organized the event. Being from a B-School, I had the usual expectations. Get a mail regarding results, wait, get another mail regarding the next round and timings, wait or if you have any problems, go to the placement cell and repeatedly ask them to talk to the HRs and update.
This was not even remotely the case with Pepsico Change The Game Season 3. The teams during different rounds had direct access to the HRs via WhatsApp groups and the problem resolution was very prompt. Multiple teams had their timings rescheduled with the help of just 1 single text.
Given how stressful the final presentations in such competitions can be, I think the special moment of the competition was the meeting with the Y-Comm, the young board of the company. Instead of focusing only on the projects, we talked about food and things in general. This helped the teams relax for the final round.