26 December 2020 14:04:16 IST

SIBM Pune wins BLoC Boardroom Challenge 2020

SPJIMR is runner up; IIM Bangalore comes third

A team from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM) Pune came out tops in the finals today, at the end of a gruelling three-stage BusinessLine on Campus (BloC) Boardroom Challenge 2020. SPJIMR, Mumbai, was the first runner up while IIM Bangalore finished third.

The trio of Rujuta Arondekar, Aseem Raje, and K. Vijeth bagged the coveted title of CXOs of the year and Rs 1 lakh in prize money while the team comprising Shikhar Mohan Srivastava, Priyanka Gautam and Vishal Sardana of SPJIMR win Rs 75,000 and the IIM Bangalore team of R. Chithra, S. Vijay and T. Chandrasekar take home Rs 50,000. The announcement of the winning teams was made by A. Balasubramanian, Managing Director and CEO, Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC Ltd, the presenting sponsor for the case study challenge.

SIBM Pune competed with eight other top B-schools in a nine-city finals. The other teams competing in the finals for the title of CXO of the year wereGreat Lakes Institute of Management (Chennai region winners); IIM Trichy (Coimbatore); IIM Kozhikode (Kochi); IIM Bangalore (Bengaluru); ISB (Hyderabad); IIM Kashipur (Delhi); SPJIMR (Mumbai) and IIM Ranchi (Kolkata).

In the finals, the teams had to present their strategies on how to get more millennials and women to invest in mutual funds and increase MF penetration to six per cent by 2025 from two per cent now.







The two-month long contest saw around 800 teams from top B-schools participate in the online preliminary psychometric test. In the second round, 33 teams were shortlisted to take part in the virtual semi-finals rounds across nine cities.

While announcing the winners, Balasubramanian, said the challenge for the MF industry is onboarding of customers, a process which can be made easier. “Most people think MFs are only about equity and think it is volatile. MFs can be positioned as a one-stop solution platform for every need of a customer rather than be transaction or product-driven.

The jury for the finals comprised KS Rao, Senior Vice-President & Head, Investor Education & Distribution Development, Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC Ltd; Kamlesh Sharma, Chief Public Affairs and Communications Officer, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages; S.Swaminathan, CEO, Hansa Customer Equity Pvt. Ltd, and Vishwadeep Kuila, Founder Director of BrandVectors.

Commenting on the case presentations, Rao said there was very little to separate the teams. “We can take back many ideas to the real boardroom and hopefully they can help propel MFs to reach the Rs 70 trillion mark of assets under management before 2025.” Kuila said the winning team had the right balance of the qualitative and quantitative objectives of the case and thought beyond the brief to reach the numbers that the case outlined. “All the teams had a good understanding of the case and had done a lot of secondary research and the quality of presentations were very good,” he said.

Aseem Raje of the winning team, said, “We looked at the problem with a holistic perspective. Beyond women and millennials, there were many interesting opportunities in the elderly segment and tier 2 and tier 3 markets as well, which we chose to incorporate in our solution.”

Sharma said that the SIBM team was able to structure its thoughts, connect the dots and not lose focus with so much of data and so many possibilities. “Staying focused was the key for them,” he said. Swaminathan said that each team displayed good clarity of thinking and the winning team could view the problem in both the short and long term and could execute their solution well.

“We conducted a primary research survey covering different age groups and income backgrounds to get an overview of the case. Further, we did many comprehensive readings of news reports and research papers for a detailed understanding of the issue at hand. Our thorough research gave us the right insights, to identify problems, and then focus on solving,” said Rujuta Arondekar from SIBM Pune.

The BLoC Boardroom Challenge, a unique business strategy contest for B-schoolers, is in its fourth year. In 2017, the first year of the challenge, a team from LIBA, Chennai, was the winner, followed by ISB Hyderabad in 2018 and IIM Ranchi in 2019. In all the previous years the semi-final events were held at B-schools in various cities. The 2019 contest was held across eight cities with participation from all the top B-schools.

BusinessLine on Campus , a BusinessLine product, was launched eight years ago. Until now, it was largely focussed on management education. In the last month, we have started focussing on other disciplines such as engineering and accounting as well. Going forward, we will be expanding to science, arts, and liberal arts,” said Raghuvir Srinivasan, Editor, BusinessLine.

This year, keeping in mind the safety of the students and others involved in this contest, the semi-finals were conducted entirely online, and the finals too was a virtual experience. It has been a unique event with technology overcoming the challenge the pandemic has thrown up.

Aditya Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund is the presenting sponsor of the BLoC Boardroom Challenge and has been powered by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages in association with Punjab National Bank and Casagrand. The knowledge partners were Brand Vectors and Potential Genesis.