11 September 2017 12:49:01 IST

LIBA aces BLoC Boardroom Challenge finals

Team wins BusinessLine CXO of the Year title; IIM-A is runner-up

Satish Guru, Glisten D’Silva and Akshay Krishnan, from Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA), Chennai, made up the team that won the BusinessLine CXO of the Year award at the finals of the BLoC Boardroom Challenge, held in Chennai today.

Presented by Indian Terrain Fashions Ltd and featuring a case challenge created by Vishwadeep Kuila of knowledge partner Brand Vectors, the Boardroom Challenge saw intense competition, with over 1,600 entries for the initial round of psychometric tests and 42 teams making it to the semi-final rounds held in six cities — Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi.

The other five finalists in today’s event were teams from IIM Ahmedabad; ISB Hyderabad; SIBM Bengaluru; PSG Institute of Management, Coimbatore; and IIT Delhi’s Department of Management Studies.

Prakalp Mehta, Anandaramakrishnan Srinivasan and Siddharth Shankar Ravichandran from the IIM-A team won the runners-up awards for the titles of CEO, CFO and CMO.

The case the participants were expected to crack was how best apparel-maker Indian Terrain could invest Rs 100 crore to increase its market share from 7 per cent to 14 per cent in three years.

The jury comprised Charath Narasimhan, CEO, Indian Terrain; Vishwadeep Kuila, Founder and CEO, Brand Vectors and Prof Suresh Srinivasan, Senior Associate Professor, Strategy, at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai.

Explaining his rationale for picking the winning team, Kuila highlighted the following components: Understanding of case facts; clarity of thinking and analysis; accuracy of solution; presentation quality; and positioning solution.

What differentiated the winning team was their focus on the case numbers and analysis of each scenario with complete logic, backed with numbers. While the teams generally spoke of promotions and expansion of retail outlets as the drivers, along with a sharp positioning, most lacked the exact logic for this.

Charath Narasimhan, CEO, Indian Terrain, said: All the teams went beyond case facts and used external data to validate their points and come up with something unique in their ideas. The winning team had thought through the process and had boldly supplemented their reasoning.

Addressing the participants and audience, Venky Rajgopal, Chairman and MD, Indian Terrain Fashions Ltd, said he was impressed with the quality of research that went into the presentations and found it remarkable that the student teams touched upon so many live issues the company faced every day.

Even more important than the facts and figures, however, are two factors of overarching importance that must form the basis of all decision-making — the environment and people, he said, adding: “It’s important for CEOs, who work very close to the ground, to take a step back to assess the shift in goalposts as a result of changes in the policy or other environment, and factor this into their strategies.”

He elaborated that a company’s values must resonate with people. While strategy and speed of execution are important, these must be pursued with integrity, which is what investors look for even as they place trust in a team to deliver on their promises.

An ability to understand the world and see the larger picture, and information processing skills are key requirements in a manager today, said R Srinivasan, Editor, The Hindu BusinessLine . Especially significant are changes in policy, particularly on aspects such as competition or taxation, he said.