January 2016 was quite the rollercoaster ride I reckoned it would be. From the internship application season peaking for Summer 2016 positions to the intense coursework for Financial Accounting and Value Creation pushing us beyond limits we didn’t know existed, the whole cohort at SBI was largely exhausted and sleep-deprived, but paradoxically enjoying every minute. For me, though, the highlight of the month was Business Technology Management Association’s Case Crunch 2016, a case competition event put together by the grads from the Toronto and India chapters of the student-run club.
(From L to R: Satyameet Ahuja, Melissa Judd, Garima Prasad, Ravi Krishna Sripada, Ronak Mogra, and our judges Mark Orlan, Prof. Linda Thorne, Prof. Theo Peridis)
The format of the event was a preliminary round with a 24-hour deadline for an online submission, and then a final presentation in front of the judges for the shortlisted teams. The case put up was about the challenges faced by a retail giant in an emerging market, and required us to bring a variety of skills and expertise from operations, technology, finance and strategy to the table. Having to deliver in a time-bound environment for the prelims, with a total of 9 teams of super smart and diligent members of our cohort in the running, our team (Garima Prasad, Ravi Krishna Sripada and I) had our work cut out for us. 24 hours and a lot of refilled coffee mugs later, we were pleasantly surprised by the analysis and recommendations we managed to put together as a group.
The 4 teams, including ours, that cleared the first hurdle had to subsequently present their recommendations to our esteemed judges, Professor Theo Peridis, Professor Linda Thorne and Mark Orlan, Executive Director for Information Services and Technology at Schulich. As expected, the Q&A that followed each group’s presentation really tested the depth of their analysis, and the robustness of their recommendations. And believe it or not, we weathered the storm and won!
“Winners of the BTMA Case Crunch 2016” ain’t too shabby a moniker for our team to have. But that’s not the most important thing I’d take away from the event. To be evaluated by and receive feedback from judges of the pedigree of Prof. Theo, Prof. Linda and Mark was priceless. I’ll take away the amazing bonds I’ve forged with Garima and Ravi; after going through this experience, we’ve become friends for life. On the whole, the experience of going through the paces of a case competition is much different than working on the case projects as part of our coursework. And in my opinion, case competitions aren’t only for those looking at a career in consulting; rather the kind of skills – problem solving and presentation skills, to name a couple – one gains from working in such competitions are invaluable, and will help one way or the other in any industry or domain. I’m sure I’ll continue to pursue more case competitions, and can’t wait to set foot in Toronto where a wide variety of case competitions are held, both within Schulich and outside.