Mahindra War Room is a business case analysis competition where the cases are real business issues of a company. The goal of the competition is to get top business schools to generate actionable solutions for the presented caselets. The case we selected was “Second home base country for the Mahindra Automotive”. After sleepless nights and rigorous preparation, our team won as the campus representative for Mahindra War Room and made it to Gold tier (on 11th October 2017).
Representing the school was an honor, but it also added a little more pressure and few more sleepless nights for the team. Winning this first round meant we would travel to Mumbai, India and compete against other international business schools. We would only have 7 minutes to share our results and impress the jury. Amazing right?
On November 4, 2017, we left AIM and travelled to Mumbai. At the airport we got to meet the Indian Stand up Comedian, Sunil Grover. Before the day of the presentation, we stayed up in a 5-star hotel—The Grand Hyatt, Santa Cruz—still composing our script and updating our presentation. We only had 2 hours of sleep before the presentation. Finally November 5, 2017, arrived! Presentation – check, 7 minute Script – check, Awesomeness – check (lol).
From 550 teams who registered, it came down to 16 teams to compete for the 3 slots for the finale round on November 6, 2017. Our team was a part of the international tier where we competed against Nanyang Business School (Singapore), Fudan University (China) and Yonsei University (South Korea). After the presentation of each school, we were interviewed by CNBC TV and shared our insights and experience. (talk about being a hot shot lol). We also met with our Mentor, Prof. Rajesh Nair, online who was very supportive from the day we asked for his help.
At the end of the day, the results were out: Fudan University and their solution was selected in the international tier to enter the finale. After the announcement of the winners, we were given goodie bags (a very big goodie bag) as their appreciation for our efforts. We might not have been a part of the finale event but we already felt we had won. The experience and learning was our trophy.
At the finale, the jury, composed of top management of the Mahindra Group, assessed the 11 teams. After each of their presentations, the panel held a question and answer round. Afterwards, the results were revealed: IIM Lucknow was the first runner-up and IMT Ghaziabad Team, CharPai bagged the championship. The case of the winning team was about doubling the income of the farmers by creating an Eco-tourism park in the farm.
Another exciting part of this experience was a group tour where we got to explore Mumbai and were able to buy some pasalubong for our friends and family. It was also our last day to enjoy our stay in Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Indeed, Mahindra War Room was a great culmination of our AIM journey because we were able to apply relevant frameworks, learnings into real life application. We got to experience the tension inside a war room where we will all eventually enter after AIM.
For Future Mahindra War Room participants, here are some tips:
- Innovate and make your own box – Select a topic where there is scope for innovation, make sure your innovation is in the sweet spot of desirability, viability and feasibility. Emphasize these points in your presentation.
- Diversify your team – Make sure to represent an International team! For example: 1 Indian, 2 Filipinos, 1 other. Now this an example of a good mix.
- Research well – Make sure to research well enough and include data from reliable sources – quote the source for facts or survey results. In your powerpoint presentation make appendix slides.
- Manage your time – Allocate time wisely for research, surveys, analysis, preparing ppt and script (ensure that everyone in the team is convinced with the script), practising with countdown timer in constant pace.
- Be clear, concise, and comprehensive – Given the time limit there is no scope of delivering good content instantly by seeing slides. So, recommend to by-heart script in such a way that one can deliver the script even without seeing the slides.
- Anticipate and practice – Would recommend to have brainstorming sessions to anticipate possible questions from each and every slide and prepare with convincing answers. Support your answer with facts from top research reports and keep backup slides for your reference.
- Ask help from your mentors or previous participants – Lastly, don’t let ego block your way from gaining insights and inputs from other people.
We want to thank all the people who helped us! We could not have done it without you!
We are AIM SPARTANS, warriors of Asian Institute of Management. (woot! woot!)
Team: Karen Rose Dacanay, Saksham Kumar, Shrikant Patil, Sujit Varma Ganaraju
Mentor: Prof. Rajesh Nair (ever supportive mentor)
Facing the Future!
Words by Karen Rose Dacanay (MBA 2017)