14 October 2019 14:44:35 IST

BLoC Boardroom Challenge Finale sees IIM Ranchi emerge as victors

SPJIMR and ISB were the First and Second Runners-Up

A team of four from IIM Ranchi — Mohanish Golatkar, Shubham Garg, Jasmeet Singh Bindra and Raghavendra Pratap Yadav — won the Grand Finale of the BLoC Boardroom Challenge, which saw eight B-school teams slug it out in a hard-fought contest at the Madras Management Association in Chennai on Monday. The team members were awarded the title of BusinessLine CXO of the Year . The First Runners-Up were from SPJIMR Mumbai and the Second Runners-Up from ISB, Hyderabad Campus. The other finalists were SIBM Pune, CUSAT Kochi, LIBA Chennai, IIM Bangalore and IIM Rohtak.

For the Finale case, participants had to present strategies to ensure the wider adoption of mutual funds as a savings and investment instrument across the country.

The winning team from IIM Ranchi


The jury comprised Mr A Balasubramanian, Managing Director & CEO, Aditya Birla Sun Life (ABSL) AMC Ltd; Ms Lokeshwarri, Senior Associate Editor and Head of Research Bureau, BusinessLine; and Shyam Sekhar, Co-founder, iThought and an active value investor who built one of the earliest independent equity research desks in Chennai.

The winning IIM Ranchi team members impressed the jury with their idea of using local influencers and regional languages to increase awareness about mutual funds, as also their strategy to improve distribution through novel channels and the extensive leveraging of fintech to tailor campaigns for specific age groups.

The First Runners-up from SPJIMR — Chaithra Jayachandran, Jithin Nair, Shikhir Sapra and KS Sivaraman — came up with specific methods to target millennials, including a gamification approach, using e-commerce rewards and debit card points to invest in certain fund categories, and partnering with digital wallets and cooperative banks in small towns to promote investment in specific types of funds.

The first runner-up team from SPJIMR


The Second Runners-up from ISB Hyderabad — Nimisha Jain, Tanudeep Bhattacharya and Arpit Sakhlecha — said that the influence of friends and family is the highest when it comes to an investment decision, and this is an opportunity area to tap. The team also suggested the creation of a crowd-sourced portal where investors could share information, and from which fund houses could draw insights on investment behaviour, risk tolerance, and so on.

The second runner-up team from ISB Hyderabad


Aditya Birla Sun Life Mutual Funds (ABSL) is the title sponsor of the event, which is powered by Swiss watch brand Frederique Constant. Vizag Steel Plant and One Crest are the associate sponsors. The Knowledge Partners are Vishwadeep Kuila, Founder, Brand Vectors, and S Sivakumar, Performance Development Enabler, Potential Genesis.

Commenting on the presentations, ABSL’s Balasubramaniam said, “Many of the ideas are simply out of the box, though in some cases, they have completely missed out on the regulatory environment. You should factor in the regulations when you start working on how to build a business.”

Balasubramaniam said that the Mutual Funds Sahi Hai  campaign was launched when he was AMFI chairman, and the idea was to make the MF story a conversation in every household. "Psychology and behavioural science gives us useful insights into investment behaviour, and help create better awareness of customers' attitudes," he added.

R Srinivasan, Editor, BusinessLine, said, “This programme teaches what business schools don’t teach you. The Boardroom Challenge does not just test your knowledge but also your ability to think and innovate, and it does so in a simulated, real-life environment.” He said that the roles of CXO, CEO and CMO are structured into this competition to emphasise teamwork and ideation. "Business  intelligence is key to decision-making, he said, adding that "the better informed your decision is, the better the outcome is likely to be. This is why BusinessLine believes in working with B-schools to bring experiential learning from business managers to the students." 

"A multiplicity of views, insights and analysis helps you build your own perspectives and worldview, and hones your ability to think and innovate," Srinivasan said.

“In the next 10 years we are going to see a lot of bottom-of-pyramid investing in India, and there will be no alternative to mutual fund investing, so I am sure some of your ideas will come into practice,” Shyam Sekhar said.

“Many of the case studies really went to the root of the matter and understood what the challenge is all about. Some of the solutions that you came out with really made us think,” said SK Lokeshwarri.

Arun D’Silva, Country Head, Frederique Constant, said he was impressed by the uniformly high quality of thought and analysis that had gone into all the presentations and complimented the teams on their performance in the Finale.

Navalan Krishnamoorthi, Vice-President, Crest Ventures, said the biggest takeaways from the presentations was that one should start investing themselves before advising others to do so.

The winners and the first and second runners-up received ₹1 lakh, ₹75,000 and ₹50,000 respectively from BusinessLine , and wall clocks for their institutes from Frederique Constant.

BusinessLine Editor R Srinivasan presented mementoes to the sponsors and jury members.