The moment our team was announced as the winner, I was thrilled and stood up in utter excitement. I looked at my teammates and we were in a state of disbelief. We collected our prize and posed for pictures. One of the best moments was when we informed our professor about our winning minutes after the official picture.
Most of the students just attend classes and do assignments in B schools. I wanted to do be part of something where I could apply my learnings to solve real-world problems. This competition gave me an opportunity to test my knowledge and also compete against the best of the students from some of the top institutes in the country.
We had spent a couple of weeks for the whole event. We took the entire preparation phase seriously right from the beginning itself after we understood the full extent of the problem statement. I researched a lot about the company and its offerings, the competition that the company faced and the industry as a whole. The most challenging phase was of convincing myself and my teammates about the idea proposed by me. Hours and hours of deliberations, discussing the pros and cons of the idea and finally sticking to it made this phase, the most challenging one.
It was one of the best teams that I could ask for. All of us are from the marketing background and we worked on our strengths. We had many conflicts during brainstorming at different phases regarding the ideas, what needs to go into the ppt and what needs to be left out but we focused on logic and real-world effectiveness and were able to effectively resolve the main issues.
We were a balanced team. My strengths were marketing strategies, promotions and association formations. Aditya had been the go-to guy for finding the research reports. Deepak is an all-rounder who knew, what and how to present. We worked as a team and were able to leverage each other’s strengths to plug the gaps in the whole process leading up to the finale.
A total of 15 teams were shortlisted for the finale. More than 2600 teams had participated in the event. Each team that reached the finale had to present their idea in 6 minutes followed by a Q&A. We couldn’t see the presentations of the other teams and neither could they see ours, but considering the teams that were shortlisted were from some of the most reputed colleges, I believe most of them gave their best and were competitive.
The way the competition was structured, talks about the seriousness that went into the planning of the event from HUL’s side. There were two rounds. The first round was a ppt submission consisting of 5 slides which had the main ideas and value proposition. The second round was held at HUL headquarters in Mumbai and the hospitality that we received was amazing.
Hindustan Unilever had made all the arrangements for a comfortable stay within their campus and we could prepare well for the next round which consisted of the Go to market strategy and differentiation. The head of Lever Ayush judged the final presentation and we were grilled about various aspects of our idea and strategy. The whole itinerary for the day had been sent in advance and everything happened according to that. There weren’t any deviations and it was a very well organised finale.
The most important learning for me would be, how to find the right data. Preparing for this competition made me realize there so much of relevant data in the form of Investor PPT or financial statements if utilised in its optimum capacity can produce wonderful results.
-Karthik Teja had worked as a marketing intern in BPL medical technologies for over 6 months and was involved in product marketing and promotions for a new healthcare product. He also has an experience as a project analyst in Societe Generale for over 3 years where he handled banking Infrastructure related projects and was instrumental in delivering some new technology products that automated many tasks. Client negotiations and presentations are his forte. Currently, he is pursuing MBA from Great Lakes Institute of Management and is one of the winners of HUL The Big Brand Theory 2018.