05 Sep 2018 20:37 IST

ISB wins BLoC Boardroom Challenge Finale

The team from ISB's Mohali campus (sitting), winners of the BLoC Boardroom Challenge, pose with (standing, from left) jury members Vishwadeep Kuila and Krithika Subrahmanian, Indian Terrain Fashions Chairman Venky Rajgopal, jury member Charath Narasimhan and BusinessLine Editor R Srinivasan, in Chennai on Wednesday.   -  Bijoy Ghosh

IIT-DoMS and an ISB team from Hyderabad campus are first and second runners-up

An ISB team from the Mohali campus was the star of the show at the Grand Finale of the BL on Campus Boardroom Challenge, held at Hotel Radisson Blu in Chennai on Wednesday. Presented by Indian Terrain Fashions, the finals saw seven teams make their pitch on how the apparel brand could expand sales of its boyswear brand, Indian Terrain Boy, and make it a market leader.

The finalist teams were from TAPMI Manipal; ISB Mohali campus; GRG School of Management, Coimbatore; IIM Indore; IMT Ghaziabad; ISB Hyderabad campus and Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras.

The jury comprised Krithika Subrahmanian MD and Chief Architect at architectural design firm Transform Design; Vishwadeep Kuila, Founder and CEO, marketing consultancy company Brand Vectors; and Charath Narasimhan, CEO, Indian Terrain.

Introducing the case, Charath said millennials have a very different worldview and a fresh approach to issues. “However good an idea is,” he said, “it’s important to back it up with rigour of analysis and sound number-crunching, as well as the ability to take decisions on scaling up a business.”

New ideas

In this second edition of the Challenge, the company and jury expected to hear bold and different, but workable, ideas on product positioning, the best way to use the promotions budget, which distribution channel to focus on and the investment required to achieve the brand’s rapid growth.

The team from ISB's Hyderabad campus (sitting), the second runners-up of the BLoC Boardroom Challenge, pose with (standing, from left) Vishwadeep Kuila, Krithika Subrahmanian, Indian Terrain Fashions Chairman Venky Rajgopal, Indian Terrain CEO Charath Narasimhan, BusinessLine Editor R Srinivasan, and BLonCampus Editor, Vinay Kamath, in Chennai on Wednesday.

 

While all the teams presented strategies on the questions posed in the case set for them, each had a specific focus that reflected a completely new way of thinking, whether on brand positioning, product attributes or the optimal way to allocate investments.

The ISB Mohali team of five — Jinal Shah, Sounak Kundu, Sukrant Tulsi, Namrata Rao and Anshula Bansal – won the BLoC Boardroom Challenge Finale. Their presentation stood out for its insights on the Indian customer always seeking value for money and versatility of children’s wear, and for its convincing investment projections and rationale for choice of distribution channels.

Vedant Diwan, Soumay Bansal and Chetan Agarwal, of Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras, were judged the First Runners-Up, based on their emphasis on expanding the boys’ range to include accessories and seasonal wear, besides a sound financial plan and a suggested change in the brand name.

The team from IIT Madras' Department of Management Studies (sitting), the first runners-up of the BLoC Boardroom Challenge, pose with (standing, from left) Vishwadeep Kuila, Krithika Subrahmanian, Indian Terrain Fashions Chairman Venky Rajgopal, Indian Terrain CEO Charath Narasimhan, BusinessLine Editor R Srinivasan, and BLonCampus Editor, Vinay Kamath, in Chennai on Wednesday.

 

In the Second Runners-Up slot was the team from ISB's Hyderabad campus, consisting of Rachit Jha, Yash Bagani, Atul Agrawal and Vivek Chirania, that impressed with its stress on products and accessories, online marketing focus and strategy of investing largely in Multi-Brand Outlets, especially for the long term.

A dash of romance

Giving away the awards to the Second Runners-Up, jury member Krithika Subrahmanian pointed out that even if a CXO team has all the facts and numbers right, presentation to a Board is an art in itself, and requires an element of ‘romance’, in the way the story is told, and a kind of flair to make the right impact and achieve the desired result.

Presenting the First Runners-Up with their awards, Vishwadeep Kuila said: “The finale challenge was very close to a live case, including the lack of access to all the numbers that is often a reality in real-world situations.” In this context, he praised all teams for doing excellent research work and making impressive presentations.

“The quality of thinking of the millenials and other young people of today is quite marvellous,” said Venky Rajgopal, Chairman, Indian Terrain Fashions Ltd, while presenting awards to the winners. Impressed by the confidence with which the teams spoke, he said: “The presentations were specific and accurate, and marked by interesting ideas, and well-distilled facts and numbers. This is a reflection of the competitive world the youngsters of today live in, where they have to up their game every single day.” This only means the intensity of competition in the boardrooms is that much more, he added.

Thanking Indian Terrain for presenting the BLoC Boardroom Challenge, and the jury for their insightful analysis and comments, R Srinivasan, Editor, The Hindu BusinessLine, said the Finale was a platform for B-schoolers to showcase their analytical skills. “The quality of presentations and the participants’ ability to ask a different set of questions showed that the young people of today can look at the same thing very differently,” he said. Case studies, such as the ones specially prepared for this Challenge, are invaluable, he added, acknowledging the enormous intellectual capital that went into this exercise.

The Winners and the First and Second Runners-Up received cheques for ₹1 lakh, ₹75,000 and ₹50,000 respectively from BusinessLine, and were also given Indian Terrain gift vouchers.