27 Feb 2019 19:57 IST

Impressive grasp of social issues

Winning entries were marked by analytical rigour, original ideas and sustainable solutions

Of late, there has been some criticism of MBA programmes, with critics contending that they churn out graduates with a narrow, instrumental managerial perspective on business. Following the global financial crisis, attention has been focused on the role played by business schools, intensifying concerns about the moral shortcomings of both academics and graduating students. There is increasing criticism of the divorce of contemporary cases from the social, economic and political context of organisational life.

With the 7Weaves case, I wanted to pose a challenge to MBA students in India where they were not only required to solve a business problem but also take into account the associated social and environmental dimensions of the case. I wanted to see how well-prepared they are to solve the ‘wicked problems’ posed to entrepreneurs trying to tackle social issues with business solutions.

I was very impressed with the quality of the analysesof the 7Weaves case, which is set in the emerging arena of slow fashion, and deals with critical issues related to sustainability. I have also shared the analyses with the co-founders of 7Weaves, and they were delighted with the range of new ideas they received from the budding managers of tomorrow.

While there were many ideas and creative solutions offered, BL on Campus can only publish the top five entries here. As earlier, I have used the following criteria to evaluate the entries – 1) Strength of analysis; 2) Application of theoretical frameworks; 3) Originality and practicality of ideas; and 4) Presentation.

Here are the key reasons for picking the top five entries:

1. Priya Prasad, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai: Excellent presentation, demonstrating sound understanding of sustainability principles coupled with practical ideas for implementation. I also liked the presentation style.

2. Vipin P and Amol A, IIM_Indore: A superior contribution depicting good understanding of issues in sustainability. I liked the strong analysis, presentation and practical ideas.

3. Prasanth G and Jenifer R, LIBA, Chennai: Quite a thorough analysis with some practical ideas. Not a very flashy presentation, but ticked all the boxes for me by being methodical in their approach.

4. Anshu Priyadarshi and Lakshay Kukreja, IIM Shillong: A decent analysis that shows a good understanding of the topic.

5. Devendra K and Mohit U, IIM-Bangalore: A very good presentation with many positives that enabled it to be in the top five despite one major error. This entry missed out on being in the top three solely for proposing that 7Weaves should organise rearers and spinners into cooperatives, when the case itself asks for exploring innovative models beyond cooperatives. Even if the students felt very strongly about the need for cooperative model, they should have provided a powerful and convincing justification for the same.