I was gratified to reach the national finals in competitions of the likes of RedSeer Libretto, FinValley 2.0 by Indus Valley Partners, YES BANK Transformation Series 2018, L&T OutThink Case Study Challenge 2018, Airtel iCreate 2018, and ReNew Power Re-lead. These competitions were my ticket to become the 5th Most Competitive Business Leader 2019. Most of these were wild card rounds, since being from a new IIM.
While all the other campuses had campus rounds where there was a definite winner in each campus, we were forced to compete nationally to get the 2/3 wild card spots which were open every year. It became all the more challenging. To make a statement and win out of the entire country was gratifying to say the least.
Being a B-School student, the primary medium of education in the classes were through case studies. But like every case study solution, we were only hypothesizing. We did not know whether the business leaders in the industry would accept our thought process. By participating in competitions, it got me an opportunity to test my thought process with my peers across the country. Also, it helped me come out on top in terms of how my process was unique.
Preparation was the trickiest part. The first part was combing through the wonderful Dare2Compete platform and figuring out which competitions were open for us. Unlike the old B-Schools of IIM A, B, C, L, K, I which hosts more than 40 competitions annually, we had only 2 on campus and 8 more which we could target through wild-card rounds. It was us versus the country, hence we were all the more diligent with our process.
For a typical competition, we worked for 3 to 4 days straight, separating by breaking down the problem into chunks like technologies or strategies to solve it. Then, we used to spend half the time on creating the deck to present solutions since we would only get only 2 minutes of judging time.
I tried to encourage more conflicts within the team. Be in terms of thought process or figuring out loopholes in the solution or the color of the deck we were going to make. This would encourage us to take a step back and think how the evaluation process would proceed. Also, it forced us to see where we could likely go wrong. In the end, that made all the difference.
Our team was diverse in terms of the talent they brought to the table. All of them were experts in MS PowerPoint which is an absolute necessity in displaying your solutions succinctly. Also, we had a coder in the team who could write up small procedures needed for the solution. I was the finance guy making the spreadsheet, and we had a person who was a marketing wizard who designed wonderful marketing campaigns. Combined, we had a blast at every competition we laid our hands on.
There were usually 10 teams in most of the finales we were a part of. They were the best minds from each of the top B-Schools, so it was always challenging. But we were the perfect pinch of salt and sugar with equal amounts of perseverance, caliber and resolve. We did not quit when the stakes were against us. It made us all the more determined to win them all, one competition at a time.
I have learnt that the pragmatic thought process is the key aspect every B-School student needs to have. Every decision you make is not within the confines of the classroom but out there in the real world. You have to have a foot in the floor approach and be realistic in terms of what strategies you propose, what resources it would require and what results it would bring. The one who gets it as close to the most implementable solution nails the prize and surely reaches close to become the Competitive Business Leader.