Congrats Swapnil and Suraj for winning! How did you feel, when you found out that you’d won the Consilium 2014 at Indian school of business? 

We felt proud and happy to win the competition for the school. Also, when we told Erik Schlie (Associate Dean of IMBA) that we were shortlisted as finalists for the competition, he showed lot of respect and confidence in our abilities to win the competition. We felt we have kept that trust intact by winning it for IE. This was also a big moment as we were competing against best global B-Schools. The feedback we received from judges was very confidence building as our business was a rational, unique and feasible business opportunity. Moreover the idea is going to help in addressing the global food security issue while maintaining ecological imbalance.

Tell us more about the competition and what inspired you to pursue this award and what does it signifies to you?

SurajThis competition was one of the few competitions that attracted top business schools from all over the world. It also included the IIMs and the ISBs, which are the known to attract the most intellectual and clever students from India. I wanted to benchmark myself by participating in the competition and see how I fared, compared to the students from these B-schools.

From the academic point of view, I was doing very well in school and the courses at IE equipped me with a lot frameworks and concepts; I felt it was the right time to apply these frameworks to solve a real world business problem. I was following various consulting competitons and I came to know about the Consulting Conclave, which was a global Inter B school case study competition. I saw an opportunity to apply what I learned to compete with the best schools across the globe. It also gave me the opportunity to do something different from my normal IE MBA routine.

Swapnil – I am passionate about Business Consulting aseach case brings unique challenges. As a Consultant at Honeywell before entering the MBA, I worked on several challenging business cases and learnt that problems are multidimensional and proposed consulting solution impacts different business matrix. For me, consulting not only needs a holistic view of business and strong analytical skills but also needs strong leadership skills to work with multiple stakeholders in the process of solving problem.

As we were approaching the end of the MBA program, I saw ISB Consulting Conclave as a competition which would pose another challenge and provide an additional opportunity to connect the dots from my several learning at MBA at IE Business School along with my past experience. Also, the competition had global participation which meant we would not just be applying our learning but also competing against best talent from global B-Schools. This was sounding board to testify my strong academic and professional performance.

How did or did the knowledge you gained during your MBA help you win this competition/challenge

The case study based methodology at IE gives you exposure to thinking at a much broader level.

In the first round we had a marketing case on the consumer goods industry to solve. The IE curriculum offered very strong marketing coaching during the core terms and also in elective terms. We could select, find and apply suitable frameworks to solve the case and get selected in top 10 finalists out of 500 teams participating.

In the final round we were given business case based on digital technology (Code Halo by Cognizant) to come up with a unique and new business idea applying Code Halo. We were also asked to come up with the market size for the consulting company if they pursue our idea. Here we could apply learnings and frameworks from Technology and Innovation curriculum of IE. Also this case required deep understanding of marketing, market and non-market strategy, Economics, corporate social responsibility.  It also offered the ability to connect the dots from different courses to think like a consultant and leader with vision and understanding of future of technology and how it will impact different industries.

On top of learning from IE, we had to very quickly learn about the Code Halo technology in a to work on the business consulting solution. High intensity learning at IE helped us to take up this challenge smoothly without affecting our regular curriculum.

How will winning this award affect your work as an IE student? 

Winning the award does not affect our class work and participation. It was a platform to apply our knowledge and experience we gained from IE to solve a real world business problem although we have to admit that it did create a lot of buzz in the school and we felt happy when students and friends congratulated us.

Any advice or tip you can give for future IE students that want to participate in this award

I would say that you need to be dedicated and committed if you want to win the competition. Do not participate just for the sake of it, because that affects the quality of work and ultimately affects the reputation of the school. You will have to sacrifice your social life and put in extra hours. The competition along with the IE routine made us put in almost 20 hours of work a day for ~10 days. These kinds of competitions are challenging-physically and mentally.  Make sure your goals align with your team and everyone is dedicated to the project before enrolling in the competition!

Winning the competition gives us the opportunity to work with Cognizant and could be our potential employers based on the business plan we create for this idea. If students are interested in consulting opportunities, such competitions will give the opportunity to network and convert your ideas into job opportunity / venture.

Interviewed by Zaid Saghah, current Int MBA student