“Are you going to present your half-page CV to corporates?” These words sent a chill down my spine and woke me up from a dreamy slumber of getting into an IIM. Though brutal, it was honest. My CV was half-page with a major part of it filled with some random certifications done through some websites, whose answers can be found easily on Google Baba.

Getting into an IIM was a dream of mine which came true with IIM Kashipur offering an admission offer. I thought life will get easier from here, after all, I had an IIM tag on my LinkedIn profile. How wrong I was!! The game was just getting started. Not only was the pressure of studies, projects, and quizzes on top of my head but also, I realized I had nothing to write on my CV except the marks and an internship, while few students were making their resumes two pages long.

Among several long, monotonous, and repetitive zoom meetings and preparation sessions, I got to know about case competitions held by corporates and other B-schools. Some companies used case studies to recruit students for their organizations. In the beginning, I wasn’t excited about them because why do anything extra when you already have so much mandatory to do. So, there went the first few case competitions, with making effort only because Placement Committee sent a mail. So, I along with my team members submitted a few presentations which didn’t get selected in any further rounds.

Gradually, I realized that since these competitions required minimum eligibilities to appear and everyone started from scratch to find the solution for the case, this might be the place for a person like me who does not want to be let down by my past and is ready to do anything in my present to achieve my dream.

A big change came when our submission got selected in the Welspun Disruptor Case competition. Our idea was among the top 100 selected among 10,000+ registered teams. Apathy changed to enthusiasm. Lethargy to action and indifference to interest. I along with my team members, worked hard to present our idea simply to make sure that evaluators can better understand the idea. Again, to our surprise, we cleared the semi-finals and reached Finals with 20 odd teams. During this time, my team cleared another Case competition named “Steel-a-thon”, among the top 40 teams from 5000 odd registered. This was a surprise. To be a fresher and still be able to present ideas along with Work-ex peeps, who already had an idea of how the industry works and its intricacies, was a boost to my confidence.

During all the case competitions, I realized that case competitions are less about frameworks or some jargon to be presented, but more about common sense. Thinking about it, people have been doing business for thousands of years. They didn’t have Porter’s five forces or Swot analysis. They used their common sense and did what made the most sense at that time. Common sense about how to research, interview, write and present. The same can be applied to MBA studies. Beneath all the frameworks, is common sense presented as a mumble jumble of corporate jargon. After this, I was better able to understand the curriculum cases, how to approach them, research about them, and present them. Case competitions are a wonderful opportunity to present your ideas and vision directly to the senior executives of a company. It is likely that they are facing the same problem themselves and have a certain inkling about how the organization is going to tackle that. What we must do is use our common sense and think about how we can do the same. There is no single correct answer, but every answer has assumptions, which must match those mentioned in the case.

To common sense.

 Thank you.

PS. – My CV got filled.

Nikhil Jain

Nikhil Jain is a second-year student at IIM Kashipur (Batch – 2021 -2023). He is a B.Com graduate from GGDSD college, Chandigarh. He is an active member of The Finance Club of the institute. He has keen interest in sports, reading and writing. He is a firm believer in hardwork and aims to achieve excellence through it. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

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