Twenty-six-year-old Arijit Hazra from National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) Mumbai got a double bonanza when his team won the national round of ITC’s case study challenge and then he got a pre-placement interview call and eventually got absorbed into the organisation even before sitting for the final campus placements at his institute.
The case study presented by the diversified conglomerate ITC Ltd was on redesigning the network configuration of the education and stationery products business division.
According to Hazra it was a “complete wholesome experience” that offered students like him a perfect platform for exhibiting their skills in a real-life situation or business problem and also offered a direct hot seat for recruitment. From finding solutions for some complex business problems to recruiting the best talent on the company’s payroll, diversified conglomerate ITC Ltd is betting big on its campus engagement initiative — ‘Interrobang?!
According to Amitav Mukherji, Head- Corporate Human Resources, ITC Ltd, a fair number of candidates participating in the case study challenge at Interrobang receive a pre-placement interview opportunity with the company, and based on merit, recruited as part of the management trainee programme.
ITC typically recruits close to 45-50 candidates from business schools across the country each year through the campus placement process. In recent times, a majority of these recruitments have taken place through summer internships (which later translates to pre-placement offers) and Interrobang.
Enthused by the success of the case study challenge in B-schools, ITC plans to replicate the model for engineering and technical institutes, thereby widening the canvas and encouraging participation from a more diverse talent pool.
What is Interrobang?
Interrobang, which literally means a cool non-standard punctuation mark ‘?!’ — intended to express both the interrogative (?) and the exclamatory or an ‘aha’ moment(!), is a campus engagement initiative of ITC wherein students from premier management institutes across the country engage with the company in an interactive learning experience.
“We create case studies around issues or challenges in different businesses and we pose them to students across campuses. Many of our senior managers address students and share ITC’s journey of creating world-class Indian brands or provide them with insights about our various business processes. Participants form teams of four-to-five students and come up with solutions to the case challenges. We have been witnessing overwhelming response from campuses across the country. There is a sense of competition (among students to come up with the best solution to the problem) and it provides a great opportunity to understand and appreciate ITC’s multiple drivers of growth and multi-dimensional interventions across businesses,” Mukherji told bloncampus.
The Interrobang case challenge, unlike the usual business plan competitions, provides an opportunity for students to work on live business problems in the fields of marketing, human resources, and supply chain management. The 12th season of the Interrobang received over 300 solutions. Over several seasons, the case study challenge has received over 4,100 solutions. Many of these solutions have found their way to execution. For example, the Mangaldeep App case study of season 11 lent the idea of creating personalisation through a “habit hook” on the app which is now under implementation.
“What we study in class is basic and not a very nuanced view of the problems that a company might be facing. So we were given a case study on how to premium-ise the beverages offerings of ITC and we worked in a team to come up with a solution for the same. The key takeaway for us from this was to get a fair understanding of the working style of the organisation,” said Snuhee Roy, a student of XLRI Jamshedpur, who was a national winner of the Interrobang.
The second unique pillar of Interrobang 2022 was the InterroJam sessions on-campus, where senior business leaders shared best practices at ITC with over 4,000 students. This year as part of the national round, the top eight teams were invited to make their final pitch to senior managers at ITC Sonar, Kolkata.
“Over the years, Interrobang has established its salience on campuses as a unique learning and engagement platform, covering over one lakh students across 17 management institutes. The enthusiastic and widespread participation of budding managers is testimony to the impact, energy and competitive intensity of the platform. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for ITC managers to interact and engage with students, while getting to see them apply their best to business challenges,” he said.