This year, the winners of the Consilium 2014 case study competition was a team from IE Business School. The two International MBA students, Suraj Subramoniam and Swapnil Vijay Adkar, participated in the annual competition under the team name of “the Indian Spaniards” and took home a cash prize of USD 2,500 for their idea to establish a sustainable agriculture ecosystem that addresses global food scarcity and ecological imbalance.
Consilium is hosted by the Indian School of Business (ISB) and global IT consulting company Cognizant. For MBA students around the world, and particularly amongst the best in India, the yearly competition is an opportunity to test their consulting chops. Ten teams met in Hyberdad, India this past October for the final round of the competition, including students from ISB, IIM Ahmedabad, and Kenan-Flagler Business School.
The competition was an opportunity for Suraj and Swapnil to use the knowledge and skills they gained in the classroom at IE Business School, and in their jobs prior to the MBA, to tackle a real-world problem. “It was a sounding board to test our academic and professional performance,” said Swapnil. “And the competition has a global participation, which means we were not just applying our learning but also competing against the best talent from business schools from around the world.”
In the final round of the competition, the teams were asked to come up with a unique business idea for “Code Halo,” a digital technology created by Cognizant. The case required a deep understanding of marketing, strategy, economics, and CSR, and pushed Suraj and Swapnil “to connect the dots from different courses in order to think like a consultant and a business leader with vision. We had to have an understanding of the future of technology and how it will impact various industries,” said Swapnil.
Suraj and Swapnil’s idea for Code Halo focused on capturing real time data from the agriculture sector’s value chain – from crop selection to product delivery. “This information and data can be vital for manufacturing, logistic and water management companies and can help them overcome their inefficiencies by redesigning products and processes for targeted customers at a faster rate. We also aim to transform digital data into specialized algorithms that can enhance a company’s ability to predict uncertainties and help them be better prepared for it,” Suraj said in an interview with The Times of India.
Case study competitions like Consilium are challenging, both physically and mentally, particularly when combined with the regular activities and class schedule of IE’s fast-paced 13-month MBA program. Not to mention Suraj and Swapnil felt a certain responsibility to represent their school to the best of their abilities. They said they put in approximately 20 hours a day for ten days to prepare for the final competition in Hyberdad.
But the effort of getting to the finals of such competitions is well worth it. “It gave us the opportunity to work with Cognizant – who is now a potential employer, based on the business plan we created,” said Swapnil. “For us, and other students interested in consulting opportunities, competitions like Consilium are an opportunity to network and convert ideas into job opportunities.”
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