IIM Kashipur is not just an alma mater but a memorable transition phase in my life. My journey can be described as an enchanting process where an undergraduate introvert walking into IIM Kashipur sans experience of the corporate world and the fear of competition in some corner of the heart. Eventually, I became an enthusiastic extrovert MBA Graduate walking out of the campus full of confidence, zeal, and the ardour of competing with anyone, anywhere. I would consider IIM Kashipur as a platform that teaches cogitative knowledge, discipline, pragmatic solutions for complex problems which helped to prepare culturally sensitive, tolerant, ethically, and socially responsible manager in me and changes the view to look at real-life business problems and associates yourself with the society. The stimulus culture teaches you the concept of “self-development” through case studies, group discussions and peer learning sessions, B-school competitions, POR, group projects, sports, clubs, presentation, fun with friends, constant race against time and comfort prepared me for the real fight-the so-called Corporate Life. Indubitably extracurricular activities including clubs and sports were tranquilizers for me. It imparted team building and never give up attitude in me unknowingly. Discussion and tête-à-tête at mess or canteen with your peers not only increases your network (net worth) instead of gets you to introduce a variety of prospects, people, and stories. I am grateful to develop a network with world-class faculty and learning from them. IIM Kashipur also taught me learning is not just from doing but observation can also be a big friend. The talented seniors acted like the best mentor and guide anyone dreamed of. Every team be it a competition, fest, club was one of the best teams I have worked in ever before. This conversation cannot be finished without talking about the lush green campus life of IIM Kashipur in the womb of nature which makes it the best place to live.
About the Author
Hemraj Bairwa is alumnus of IIM Kashipur. He is the best all rounder of MBA 2019-21 Batch. He is currently working as Management Trainee – Logistics and Supply Chain at Tata Steel BSL. He was one of Dare2Compete Top 10 College Champions 2020 from IIM Kashipur and has aced a number of coveted corporate and b-school case study competitions.
Indeed, I still remember the first sight of the entrance of IIM Kashipur, the glimpses of lush green campus and being lost in the similar-looking hostel blocks on the first day. The thought that I would be an MBA graduate from an IIM was exciting and I was looking forward to it. One month into the program I had realized that this journey is not going to be easy. A lot of lectures, assignments, projects, nights out and networking were involved. Ultimately, the continuous and consistent efforts paid off and helped me achieve the Bronze medal. I am overwhelmed by receiving the medal, but a medal was never the aim. I believe that focusing on the process is more important than expecting the results. I would like to express my gratitude to the professors for helping me in the process. A special thanks to my friends who definitely had a major role to play in the process. Now, I can say with confidence that through various experiences over the past two years I have gained good skills and improved my personality. Finally, one simple piece of advice for the future batches – ‘Focus on what you want in the long term rather than what seems good in the short term’. Wish you all great careers ahead.
About the Author
Kaipa Guru Charan Reddy is alumnus of IIM Kashipur. He is the bronze medalist of MBA 2019-21 Batch. He is currently working as the Senior Analyst at EY-Parthenon. He has also been a business consultant at Decimal Point Analytics and has interned with Larsen and Toubro on a project to evaluate hedging decision of MGO, required for operations of L&T subsidiary. He has also worked as a senior manager at Tata Motors in Sales & Marketing department.
While I was posted at a small village in West Bengal, on a fine evening, my husband called me and said- “I want to do MBA from IIM Kashipur and classes are held at Dehradun, will fly down to Dehradun, will enjoy the chilled weather away from city hustle bustle”. I was taken aback and reaction was like- “Are you insane!! you will fly from Mumbai to Dehradun for enjoying chilled weather, you can do your MBA from Mumbai also”. But he has his own logical reasons and somehow he convinced me to join him in this journey to fulfill my dream to have an MBA from IIM. In the process, my transfer took place from rural village to Mumbai, the city of dreams. Then the journey from Mumbai to Dehradun started. The airports became my second home where I took some rest after office, and airplanes became my study room on weekends especially during exam, the backseat of the car became my bedroom while travelling from Delhi to Dehradun, no matter how hostile the weather is. The travelling in shivering chilling weather and sleepless nights became part of our life on weekends. Then, at Dehradun, green blanket at FRI was so soothing to our tired exhaustive sleepless eyes. During the course, we learnt management and was practically implementing management as well, that credit goes to my husband, Nitesh. I believe “where there is Will, there is Way”. It was the determination and focus that made this exhaustive journey thrilling. Every success has its own recipe, the recipe of my success of becoming Gold Medalist is my late father’s blessings, mother’s support, professors’ guidance and above all my husband, who is my strongest motivation, inspiration and his belief on me make this challenging journey complete with a gold medal.
About the Author
Bithika Karmakar is alumnus of IIM Kashipur. She is the gold medalist of MBA-WX 2018-20 Batch. She is currently working as the Assistant Manager at Punjab National Bank. She is Skilled in Management, Banking, Financial Analysis, Team Management, and Retail Banking. Earlier at Union Bank of India,she has handled operations in the branch, looking after the loan department domain and other regulatory banking affair relating to payment remittance, handling and resolving customer
Keeping a balance of Academics, Committee work and fun activities is not just something that helps you learn and grow, but it also keeps your rhythm going. When I joined the Placement Committee, a lot of people asked me whether I’ll be able to find time for my academics or other activities. But one of the most important aspects of MBA is probably Time Management and once you do this well, you can do a lot more than just sail through. Enhancing my classroom learnings with active discussions with professors and peers, supplementing it with corporate competitions to utilize the classroom learnings in real world corporate case studies, and networking with corporates in order to foster institute relations with corporates – this is what I found myself doing for majority of my time at IIM Kashipur. But along with all this, spending time with a bunch of my peers – some of whom have turned into my extended family – was also something that got me through these two years and learning from each one of them made me a better person. While I think each person has to carve their own journey, a suggestion would be to try and explore as much possible – sign up for a subject you think you find challenging but also interesting, take part in as many corporate competitions possible, do your committee work diligently and be a part of at least one to help a little in running the institute. You will always find the support from management and our beloved faculties! All the best!
About the Author
Chirag Dixit is alumnus of IIM Kashipur. He is the best All-Rounder of PGP Batch 2018-20. He is currently working as Equity Specialist at Bloomberg LP. He specializes in Equity Analytics – client workflows and also has a focus on – BQL (Bloomberg Query Language), Launchpad, Bloomberg for Education (BMC) and MYBB transfers.
After numerous interviews (alongside rejections), I was quite relieved to be selected at IIM Kashipur. It was a shock when the first words I heard from the professor was, ‘ Your journey and hard work has just started’ and it is indeed true. Induction and trimester 1 are very important to acclimatize oneself with the rigors of an MBA program. The beauty of MBA at IIM Kashipur is that there is not one way to be successful, people can target particular skill sets or competencies through academics or through various PORs of clubs/committees. I have seen friends get upset at not being selected at any clubs/committees initially, but without these extra responsibilities it gives one time to work more on Academics or relax a hectic day with leisure like sports, music, etc. (which IIM Kashipur has excellent facilities). The only important thing here is to identify why one was not selected in the first place , what improvements need to be done to overcome that drawback and hone skill sets accordingly.
Peer learning is one of the best ways to learn at an MBA. I was very lucky to have close friends with complementary skill sets and knowledge and thus enhanced my knowledge manifold. Whatever I achieved at IIM Kashipur a lot of credit goes to my friends for supporting me in dire situations. Building a good network and close friends made life at IIM Kashipur the most enjoyable two years of my life.
I strongly believe that getting too much pressurized by the rigors of MBA does one no good. It is important to enjoy your MBA life and relax yourself from time to time to re-energize yourself. Sometimes coping with all the academic pressure may not a one day process. One can try to cope with the pressure with time, set small targets (for example, if you cannot follow all the courses in a trimester properly at once, initially target two to three courses that you are interested in and faithfully follow everything related to course like case studies, assignments, etc.)
Managing time to accommodate academics, other roles and responsibilities and most importantly time for your leisure is essential. Setting realistic weekly goals and daily sub-goals and adjusting the next day to complete any unfinished task ensures one does not get too much work to complete in one day. Proper planning every day (if possible, planning for every four-five hours) and avoiding procrastination is a good habit to enjoy your MBA life. I will end with a famous Bo Bennett quote – ‘ When it comes to success, there are no shortcuts’.
About the Author
Jyotirmoy Ray is alumnus of IIM Kashipur. He is the silver medalist of PGP Batch 2018-20. He is currently working as Consultant (FS Risk) at EY. He is also a June 2021 Level 2 candidate in the CFA program and looking for opportunities in Valuation, Risk and Equity Research in Finance. He is also a Member of Indian Youth Delegation Program to Kyrgyzstan in 2019 under the initiative of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India.
My journey with IIM Kashipur started much earlier when I appeared for the CAP (Common Admission Process) Interview on Feb 14, 2018, and the panelists were Prof. Patra and Prof. Batra, it was a very interesting discussion ranging from Climate Change Policies to estimating the number of 4-Wheelers sold per year in Delhi NCR. Obviously, back then I did not know they were from IIM Kashipur, but in the first term itself, I got to learn subjects on Statistics & Entrepreneurship from them respectively, which was a delight!
I personally believe, before starting our MBA journey, we must jot down some pointers as our goals, which we want to achieve before the course ends. These goals can be different for different students, depending upon our needs and the bigger picture, which we are stitching for our professional careers.
For instance, from Day-1 my goals (plans) were to enhance my presentation skills (by taking lead in Group Projects while Presenting), networking skills (by joining ARC), and learning consulting mindset (by going beyond the scope of group projects & participating in case study competitions). I was also very clear with my priorities, top being the academic, then ARC & Prep-Cell responsibilities, and then case study competitions. Again, these priorities can be different for different students.
In my engineering, we had the options to select our Majors, and mine were Mechanical Design & Operations. And, since I was familiar with Operations Concepts, I preferred to choose Strategy, Marketing as my Majors and HR as minor. As I believed, these involved more of case-studies and classroom-based discussions, which is difficult for me to learn on my own. Finance & IT-Analytics, I decided to learn by my own, which I am continuing even today (Currently focusing on M&A Synergies). Learning should never stop!
About the Author
Vishvendra Singh Tomar is alumnus of IIM Kashipur. He is the gold medalist of PGP Batch 2018-20. He is currently working at the COO’s Office, L&T Technology Services Limited in the field of Corporate Strategy & Business Operations (Program Management). He is a seasoned professional with an excellent proven track record on both professional as well as academic fronts. He has around 4 years of work experience, ranging from Product Analyst to Consultant during his association with PepsiCo (GVIC), Samsung Engineering, Dictiondock and L&T Technology Services (in chronological order).
Case competitions are an integral part of B School life- not only because you get a kind of exposure but also the enormous amount of learning involved with it. Undoubtedly, academics form the basic ingredient of B School but also fine-tune yourself by participating in several International, National & Corporate Competitions. In one such international competition I participated (Zurich Enterprise Challenge), we did not manage to get into the Semi finale stage, but the problem statement was what attracted us the most. The statement demanded the vision for businesses & multinational enterprises post-Covid world.
Amidst the cramped schedule of a B School life, you would not get the time to do all the cases and do proper justice to them. So, picking and choosing the cases becomes a key aspect. “Pick a case and absolutely slaughter it” – should be the mantra. This indeed goes a long way, as a proper approach to a case requires a lot of research and groundwork & it effectively drains out oneself. Picking up simultaneous case competitions will not be a smart choice as the effort gets divided. There’s no fixed one-size-fits-all for the competitions. The main aim of competition varies on a case-to-case basis – sometimes it’s the PPO/PPI/ personal brand building, sometimes it’s the brand and sometimes it’s just the learning one can get by participating in it.
During my 2 years in IIM Kashipur, one thing I effectively learned is “perseverance holds the key to success.” In the first year, I did not participate much effectively in competitions except the only one in which our team won the title of National Winners in IIM Trichy. I felt that with the second year in the fold, it was wise to participate in the competitions that were restricted only to the first years.
In the second year, it becomes clearer as the domain gets selective – for example, in the second year, I mostly participated in Marketing, Consulting, and Strategy competitions. Moreover, you learn a lot from your mistakes, in fact, the bitter pills you swallow shape up for the upcoming ones. In one such corporate competition organized by Infosys, a minor mistake from our end did cost our entry to the next round. So, these competitions, indeed serve as a replica, to what one might expect from the corporate world – “there are no free lunches incorporated.” One great aspect of participating in various case competitions is that you get to know in-depth about specific sectors you work in while preparing for the cases. The cases are handpicked live industry cases where the participants work towards developing a feasible and sustainable solution.
Lastly, one key aspect of nailing case competitions is having a core team that is well aware of their capabilities & weaknesses. There would be issues cropping up, arguments but the key is the light at the end of the road – a potentially feasible solution. A good team can indeed be a game-changer. Everybody must have set, defined roles within the team.
With this, I ended up with 2 National Winners, 2 Runners Up, 1 National Semi-finalist, and 3 National Finalists in my tally. Of course, you win some and lose some, but the key thing is “Never Stop, Never Settle.” The entire journey of participating in several competitions (National/ Corporate/ International) plays a pivotal role in shaping up one’s journey. For me, it was about going beyond the stereotypes, building and rebuilding myself. Always remember “What brought you here, won’t take you there.”
Each individual has a different story to tell, but selecting the right atmosphere is of utmost essential. I would like to thank IIM Kashipur and the stakeholders for putting up commendable effort and providing individuals with the right kind of atmosphere in which they can rebuild and transform themselves throughout their stay.
About the Author: Rahul is an Electronics & Communication Engineer by qualification & completed his MBA from IIM Kashipur (19-21 batch). He has been recognized as the Top 100 Competitive Business Leaders’2021 by Dare2Compete and has been featured in Forbes India. He is an IT professional with 2 years of experience in Cognizant. In his past time, he likes solving puzzles & binging on OTT platforms. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.
“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” – Rabindranath Tagore
Let’s start with the journey of a student who gets admission in a prestigious institute like an IIM after persistent preparation and trading off career opportunities. With dreams of flying higher and higher, this student has a feeling of great achievement and an equivalent responsibility to do justice with this success. He sees a glorifying career ahead in the upcoming two years and is highly enthusiastic about making the most of his MBA life. But how does he paint the canvas of these two years? Which hues does he select? This entirely depends on his strong will and determination towards learning clubbed with the opportunities and motivation offered by his institute.
IIM Kashipur takes pride in playing a phenomenal role in the life of this student who enters the institute with the thirst for knowledge and the zeal to realise his dreams. During two years of post graduation, the institute instils in the students the feeling of “never settling down”. One of the integral parts of the culture is motivating the students to participate in case study competitions. IIM Kashipur faculties, the Placement Committee and Team Corpus leave no stones unturned to cultivate this culture of corporate and B-school competitions in the current and upcoming batches. They dedicatedly work round the year in this direction to bring the institute to unfathomable heights.
Achieving this milestone, IIM Kashipur has joined the league of other older prestigious institutions like IIFT, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore and IIM Kozhikode that appeared in the top 5 ranks. Not only this, IIM Kashipur has become the only 2nd generation IIM to have made its place in the top 10 ranks.
This remarkable success is a reward for the diligence and determination of the students. Each and every honest participation and winning has contributed to the achievement. Throughout the year, students of both the years have meticulously planned for the competition season burning the midnight oil in the quest for their holistic development. Team Corpus created Corpus Community – a student group that dedicatedly works together to discuss and ace in the case study competitions. This community boosts collaboration among the students and with the resources as well as mentorship provided by them, it helps in optimising the hard work of all the participants. This creates a competitive environment and acts as a continuous source of motivation for the students. Also, viewing it from the other lens, Dare2Compete provides an excellent platform to the students to hone their skills in various domains by giving them a chance to participate in real-life case study competitions floated by eminent institutes and reputed companies. Hence, there is an air of unstoppable learning and fuelling the competitive spirit surrounding the student community.
The enthusiasm of the students can be reflected in the level of participation in a large number of competitions ranging from B-school to corporate. With these sincere initiatives, IIM Kashipur has got 8 National Winners, 5 National Runners up, 4 National 2nd Runners up, 24 National Finalists and 12 Semi-Finalists throughout the competition season who have bagged positions in reputed competitions like L’Oréal Sustainability Challenge, Xiaomi Mi Summit 2.0, Virtusa Business Cipher Challenge, CarEasy Spark, TVS Credit Analytics challenge, and many more. These competitions encompass different domains of management and thereby help the students to develop various skills like problem-solving, teamwork, creative thinking, fact-finding, and mental agility, especially relevant for employability.
IIM Kashipur is soon going to complete its 10 glorious years of establishment. This achievement has added to the magnificence of the celebration and has entrusted bigger responsibilities upon the fraternity.
This recognition is just the beginning of an extraordinary journey that will go on and on adding colourful feathers to the hat of laurels!
Ever since I started pursuing an MBA, my interest in marketing and advertising started increasing. So, whenever I saw any competition related to this field, I got excited to work on it. Neeraj also has a similar interest in marketing, so it was relatively easy to work with him even though he had just started his MBA journey. Your core values and beliefs should match when you want to form a team, and that happened when I met Neeraj.
‘Vigyaapan- the advertising challenge’ by IIT Bombay precisely had all in store for us. On the surface, it looks like an advertising challenge, but it was not just making an advertisement for a known brand or product. After the quiz round, they shared with us some products that don’t exist at all in the real world. So first, we had to create a product strategy, give it a name, price, packaging, and everything related to product development. After a lot of brainstorming and considering all pros and cons, we chose to work on ‘Intoxicating Tea’. The case was simple. We had to plan a campaign for this product and execute it on social media in the form of an image and video. So, we researched tea and alcohol brands, studied their social media advertising and communication strategy. Then in the second round, we created a brand logo, product package, brand tagline, and structured an STP for the launch of the campaign. I have worked on Adobe illustrator before so creating a poster was a bit easy task but most of the time went into the creation of the advertising copy.
We discussed a lot of ways in which we can tell our message, but everything was lengthy and complicated. We wanted something in minimal illustration with the right message. Eventually, we came to a consensus and went ahead with ‘teacup and a man going high with the fumes of the tea above the cup’. Later the idea was appreciated by the judges in the finale round.
The difficulty arose in the finale round where we had to submit the video ad as Neeraj and I were not in the same city. We could easily address this problem by compiling some stock images and showing something. But we believed originality is the key to winning and thought of producing our own film. So, we needed a script considering parameters such as ease of editing, minimal dialogues as we didn’t have proper cameras, and most importantly, a good story. Storytelling is the most crucial part of your communication strategy when you advertise. We needed a story where the consumer will have a surprising element by aligning it with the product benefits.
Beginning with this complex task, we first divided the work. Neeraj took the recording and editing work as he had some equipment and I worked on the script and direction. It was the first-ever experience of doing remote work in the direction of the film. We realized that challenges are inevitable and can be handled with proper communication and teamwork. There was a point where we thought we should give up as Neeraj had his exams while we were in the finale round. But his exams finished just two days before the presentation round. So, we had only two days to work on the script, then shoot it and post it on social media. But he worked all day and night and then created the final copy with all iterations that I had suggested. At the same time, I worked on the deck, which was to be presented in front of the judges.
Judges liked our idea, the out of the box thinking, and the way of storytelling. When the results came out, we were thrilled and thought that our sleepless nights have finally paid off. The experience in this competition was marvelous and unforgettable. On a leaving note, I would like to give a message — be focused, be original, push yourself a little harder, and you will find the key to winning hearts.
-by Rohit Jagtap
Team The Vikings [Rohit Jagtap (MBA Batch 2019–21), and Neeraj Tulsani (MBA Batch 2020–22)]
National Winners, Vigyaapan — The Advertising Challenge by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
B-school competitions are the first and foremost thing that the students are required to prepare for soon after they enter college. Let alone winning or losing, just by taking part in a competition and honestly putting efforts into research and data collection — which are the starting points of the competition can make one learn a lot. B-school competitions are an invaluable experience and an essential part of an MBA.
When it comes to choosing a team for a competition, it is important to remember that all of the members need not be the best in everything — this may work reverse bringing in a lot of rework and discussions that forever go on a loop instead of adding value to the team. A short description of our team for DigiBytes a digital marketing competition conducted by IIM Bangalore will help you get the perspective rightly. One of the team members is a good initiator. With an idea in hand, he knew from where to initiate and was able to give a face, body, and life to the idea. The second member of the team is good at crunching numbers, bringing in facts to support the idea, and draw out revenue plans and cost structures, in short, a person good with data interpretation and understanding numbers. Our third member is a person who is creative, good at presenting his ideas simply, and understandably without diluting the essence of all the efforts that the team has put into building the case solution. Having diverse members in a team helps in bringing different perspectives and formulating a unique winning strategy. Adding on to the above merits, dividing work among the team becomes easy when the team is diverse, which saves a lot of valuable time given our hectic MBA schedules.
The context of DigiBytes case was to launch a new product in a given set of industry sectors and market them organically on social media handles. We can break down our approach in the following steps. The first step is to understand the category (fitness, food and beverages, chocolates, etc.) in which you are competing, whether the category is already established or it is new and developing.
The second step is to identify your immediate competitors and other competitors. For example, for launching new chocolate, its immediate competitors would be other chocolates such as Dairy Milk, Snickers, Milky bar, etc. and other competitors could be native Indian confectioneries, cookies, cakes, etc.
The third step is to understand the offerings of the competitors, what are the benefits that the competitors are communicating to their target group. This process will help in finding white spaces where your product can cash in and win.
The fourth step is to list down a set of your potential target customers, prepare a discussion guide, and conduct in-depth interviews. The fifth step is to identify your final target customer group, define his/her characteristics in-depth by answering questions like who is he, what is his behaviour and why does he behave so. This will help not only in understanding your target group better but also enables you to find tension or say a need state for your target group that you will go on to fulfill with your product.
The sixth step is to create an effective communication strategy for your product which is in line with your brand strategy and purpose, which serves the need of your target group that you identified in the previous step. The final brand communication must be impactful and should guide your target group from their current state to the desired state. For example, the current state of the target group is “ I believe starting my day early is good and healthy, but doing so is difficult, and I don’t find a motivation to do so”. The desired state is “Winners and achievers wake up early and start working towards their goals, and results don’t come easily, one has to work hard to achieve one’s goals”. The brand communication for your product should act as a bridge that moves your consumer from his/her current state to their desired state. For example, “I want my target consumer to believe that A cup of Sleepy Owl coffee is the best possible way to start my day and stay active throughout the day”.
The next step goes on to developing creatives and running campaigns that will take this brand communication to the desired target group. Better content categorization can be done using a funnel approach. The success of this step depends on the impactfulness and creativity of the campaigns.
To conclude, working towards winning a B-school competition along with the regular academic rigour not only adds value to the CV but also sparks innovation, shows the competitive part of you that you never knew existed. Humans are competitive and have been competing over territories, food, mates, etc., for hundreds of years now, and competition makes you better in what you do. The high that you get from winning will push you towards expanding your limits and thrive more for success. All the best. Keep working towards a better tomorrow. The right idea, at the right time and the right place will definitely win.
Team Black Clover
Aravind R, Gaurav Gopal, and Vignesh M (MBA Batch 2019–21)
National Winners, DigiBytes organised by IIM Bangalore