I was at first overwhelmed with a feeling of awe, which quickly turned into a sign of relief. Months of hard work and dedication that went into the preparation of the campus round and the finale was a steady pursuit of the title. It was a personal goal ever since I had joined IIM Lucknow. It is the most challenging B-School competition.
Apart from the fact that the problem statement was an actual area of focus for the business, it was a mere one-pager (for both campus round and finale). This left us with scope for multiple perspectives, evaluating them in terms of feasibility, implementation, and of course payoffs. This level of pre-work to the actual solution is not a usual characteristic of a B-School competition. It is also closer to how the real world works.
I felt it was a great way for me to learn with the added incentive of exposure to leaders from the TATA Group for guidance. We put hours into brainstorming. For the campus round, I spent around a week going through the financial statements of 20 TATA Group companies. The resulting analysis was well appreciated by the judges. The theme of the competition was ‘Synergy’. Finding out avenues to make it happen was the most challenging part as we didn’t want to just make a suggestion. We rather wanted to make a decision that was reliable and value maximizing.
Working with my Tata Business Leadership Award 2018 Team was a mixed experience and came with certainly a lot of learning. There were many differences in the levels of commitment which I tried to manage by putting in my best in the limited time. My teammate Akshay Pingale provided us with the main idea and structure to thoughts. He also kept us motivated throughout the competition. I brought in the depth of analysis and good presentation skills.
There were 9 teams in the finale. We noticed that many of these campus winners had ex-TATA employees in their teams. I felt that they might have an edge over us because of their experience and the corporate knowledge. We were judged by the leaders of various global corporate groups.
In the campus round, we presented our solution to the head of Group Strategic Sourcing and received valuable feedback for the same. In the national finale, we presented to the Chief Strategy Officer of the TATA Group, CEO of TATA Cliq, a management faculty member from XLRI Jamshedpur and the HR. We were thoroughly tested on several aspects of our solution. It was less of a viva voce and more of an interaction.
The competition was extremely well organized. Right from the campus round, response to our queries, availability of leadership time, to travel and stay, everything was well taken care of. The most special moment for us was when we were invited to present our campus round solution to the Chief Strategy Officer of the TATA Group. This brought along an interim visit to Bombay House too.
Each Corporate organised competition is unique in its own way. From structure to judging criteria. Read more about TBLA 2018 (B-School Track) and the organizers Tata Group (TAS). Other competition organized by TATA Group (TAS) is INVICTAS.