The foremost thing that was on my mind every single time I strived to solve challenging business problems of the leading conglomerates was, Learning! Be it conducting surveys to understand the customers and their pain points or interacting with business leaders in the respective fields to gain from their insights, every competition offered a unique opportunity to learn a new thing about the industry we were working in.
Influenced by my passion for consulting, my agenda at the beginning was to take each of these competitions as a short consulting assignment in itself, where I was trying to understand the problem of my client and solving them in unique ways, without really cluttering my mind space with the ‘Awards’ per se. Reflecting back, I have learnt efficient time management and gained an insight into business intricacies.
The strategy that worked best for me had three essential components:
- Form a team you can always bank on. B-School curriculum presents a lot of opportunities and is always a roller coaster ride. One needs to have a team that is as dedicated to proving their mettle as oneself.
- Perform thorough on-ground research by interacting with all possible stakeholders before making your recommendations.
- Align your pitch with the DNA of the organisation you are solving the case for. Every organization has a unique DNA which gets carried to the evaluation of the case. The recommendations we propose must be in line with the organization’s DNA, if it were to be implemented. This helps in customizing the recommendation to the client rather than suggesting broad overarching initiatives.
My biggest strength was my team, always the team. We spent countless nights debating over the ideas, really driving each one of us crazy as we were not ready to generate any sub-optimal output. With my team members being from diverse backgrounds, also helped us to analyze things from diverse perspectives. The foremost important factor that I consider while selecting my team is enthusiasm to solve the case followed by relevant prior experience which is always an added advantage.
Planning one’s time meticulously is one thing which is definitely expected of B-school graduates and that is what helped me to strike the right balance between competitions and curriculum. One needs to be smart in selecting the competitions that one has to do, in terms of interest area, duration of commitment, etc.
Prioritizing between competitions and college work was never a big challenge. Choosing the right set of competition in terms of when a deadline is scheduled and dividing tasks efficiently in the team helps to balance the workload. Further, some competitions happen during the short term break which can definitely be leveraged with enthusiasm.
Flipkart WiRED 2018 campus round win was my first victory in the competition space and it has a special place in my heart because it allowed me to develop confidence for the upcoming events. Also, the panel that we interacted with was amazing, as they cheerfully appreciated the funny skit we had put up to explain our recommendations. I have had the chance to meet a lot of people during the networking events, both B-school colleagues and business leaders from the corporate. Interacting with them, I have gained many views and food for thought which will stay with me and guide me forever.
My advice to young Business Leaders who plan on competing in corporate organized competitions would be: “Plan your team well, carefully choose the competitions you wish to try your hand at. Never lose hope if you are not on the medal list because every competition is going to be a learning opportunity, your mentors and from fellow participants. All the best for the coming times!”