Case Study Competitions – How to make the best of opportunities!

Hear out Shubham who is an Industrial Engineer by qualification. He has completed his MBA from IIM Kashipur (Batch 2019-21) and has been recognized as the Top Competitive Leader from the Institute featuring him in Forbes India.

“The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.”

Corporate competitions have been an integral and consistent part of my MBA journey. Especially in the 2nd year, when the entire classroom program was shifted to online mode, there was hardly any day when I wasn’t involved in brainstorming ideas for any competition. Hearing about being the Top D2C Champion from IIM Kashipur and my Institute being ranked 4th, particularly when I was finishing my MBA journey, was the best way I could have summed up the significance of all my efforts.

Participating and investing time in multiple corporate competitions is indeed a difficult decision, especially amidst the conventions of a B-School, where a student has various academic commitments, projects, case studies with sacrosanct deadlines. There have been times when we had overlapping deadlines-prioritizing became the key factor there. There have been times where my team had to discuss and devise strategies working remotely, or work on competitions during the end term examinations as well. However, the extent to which these competitions enhanced my managerial learning by providing a parallel exposure to real-time industry-wide business problems, and a platform to evaluate my approach to these problems, made me keep the spirit alive and kept me going at every point.

During this time, I explored various domains, ranging from proposing a new product line in Market research for Thoucentric Bottoms-Up to preparing a Business Development Plan for CarEasy Spark. While proposing Supply Chain strategy for Tier-2 cities in the Flipkart Wired helped me gain perspective of the logistics industry, building a healthcare ecosystem in Infosys Ingenious and Optum Stratethon provided the insights of the technological advancements of this sector. Participating in 3M-CII helped us build a tech enabled product with a social impact. AGS Horizon navigated us through the emerging domain of hyperlocal fintech. In addition to this, I also participated in multiple B-School level competitions and managed to win a few. With this, I ended up with 2 National Winners, 1 Runners Up, 3 National Finalist, and 5 National Semi-Finalists in my tally.

Some key aspects that MBA aspirants should keep in mind, though these are not exhaustive:

  1. In the initial year, experiment with building your team for the first few competitions until you get the right dynamics. Try to build a core team that will have zilch or constructive friction and no free-riders. Find members who have expertise, say it be market research, designing or technical domain knowledge. Motivate them. Teach them. Learn from them. And improve each other.
  2. Making the most of your network, connecting with industry professionals to gain relevant key insights is of paramount importance.
  3. The execution should be kept in mind so the idea should be minimalistic. Be thorough with your ground research and workflow. Try incorporating frameworks/models learnt in class.
  4. During the presentations you need to ensure that you cover all the important content in the stipulated time frame. Try to make it as crisp and concise as possible. Ideally you can follow the approach – Problem Statement, Research, Insights, Ideas, Feasibility, Financials and Timeline.

Consistency and meaningful participation in competitions can increase your MBA learning to a great extent. Instead of taking it as only participating, take these as learning curves. If you want to make the most of your MBA journey, competitions undoubtedly provide a platform for you to learn and unlearn. My suggestion to juniors will be to participate in maximum number of competitions, keep yourself updated about recent developments and innovations, and always keep the hunger alive.

About the Author:
Shubham is an Industrial Engineer by qualification. He has completed his MBA from IIM Kashipur (Batch 2019-21) and has been recognized as the Top Competitive Leader from the Institute featuring him in Forbes India. He is an IT professional with 2 years of experience in ZS Associates. In his past time, he likes sketching & playing video games. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Acing the Cases – From the Horse’s Mouth

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.

IIM Kashipur emerges as a rising star in the Dare2Compete Awards 2021!

“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.

With these constant efforts, the institute has exceptionally performed in Dare2Compete (D2C) Awards 2021 securing 4th rank in D2C Competitive B-Schools 2021 Rankings.

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.

Also, it is a moment of pride for the institute to see 9 Champions from the institute who have secured positions in the Top 100 Dare2Compete Competitive Leaders 2021. Shubham Vispute, Rahul Choudhary, Deepansh Goyal, Prajwal Vaichalkar, G Prashanth, Vishesh Jain, Himanshu Singasene, Abhinav Yadav and Udit Arunav have exhibited a commendable performance and their relentless hard work has helped the institute in accomplishing new heights. 

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!