Mahindra War Room: A Celebration of the Millennial Mind

On October 20, 2018, I first set foot on Indian soil, greeted by the overwhelming 35-degree weather – as if a preamble to the intensity that I was bound to witness in the next three days.

I, along with the rest of team Desipino, (Adriann Caldozo, Gian Lim, and Satish Ivaturi) were sent to Mumbai to participate in this year’s Mahindra War Room (MWR) – a business case analysis competition hosted by Mahindra & Mahindra, a global enterprise headquartered in India. The MWR primarily serves as a platform for young business minds to create and present solutions for actual issues and challenges faced by the different businesses under the Mahindra group. Majority of participants consist of the top teams across the different business schools in India, and a number of international schools such as Asian Institute of Management (Manila), Fudan University (China), Nanyang Business School (Singapore), and Yonsei University (Korea).

The caselets provided focus primarily around questions on business diversification strategies or market opportunities, which were apt as this year’s MWR theme was “Go Big and Go Bold.” Each case gave the opportunity for students to deep dive into different markets and explore which possibilities would best be pursued by Mahindra.

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Team Desipino (L-R) – Gian, Camille, Adriann and Satish

On the 21st of October, our team set out to the Mumbai headquarters of Mahindra & Mahindra, ready to present our big idea for Mahindra Comviva (our chosen case). We were to compete against the other international schools, which was the gateway to MWR’s Grand Finale. In seven minutes, every team was required to present their big and bold ideas to different Mahindra leaders. Unfortunately, the tide did not go our way as the team did not get through the grand finale, but we put in a good fight and gained realizations and learnings.

The next day, we had the opportunity to sit through all other Indian school participants’ presentation during MWR’s Grand Finale at the Grand Hyatt, which was nothing short of remarkable. For all the tension and the intensity that the finalists have exuded all throughout the day, what I saw was a celebration of young talent and bright minds who freely engaged in discourses and conversations with the leaders of one of the prime companies in India.

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Mahindra Business leaders

At the start of the Grand Finale, they emphasized an idea: “Millennials for Mahindra, Mahindra for Millennials” and the Mahindra War Room was a clear embodiment of this claim. From beginning to the end of the event, Mahindra stayed true to MWR’s promise – to provide a platform for the next generation of potential business leaders to solve real problems and to speak their minds. For all of the event’s grandness and theatrics, it is not often that I see organizations put this much effort and investment to inspire and educate (while informally) aspiring business leaders. Indeed, Mahindra knows how to tap into the often-judged intensity and passion of the millennials and I am grateful and elated to have experienced that first hand.

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Words by Camille Conanan, MBA 2018

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