Delhi University Students brought laurels for India even during the coronavirus pandemic at Global Case Competition at Harvard 2020; it was the first time that India beat top universities from around the world on a common platform and won a coveted prize of $10,000.
India's team comprising five students from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies (SSCBS), University of Delhi, were all set to go for the competition to Harvard but due to travel shut down and country borders sealed, they could not realize their dream of representing their country at Harvard University in Cambridge. This didn't dampen their spirit and they decided to give their best shot at Global Case Competition at Harvard (GCCH) 2020.
Indian students beat prestigious Universities
Over 140 teams from the world's most prestigious business schools and universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), John Hopkins University, HEC Paris and London Business School, had participated in the competition. School of Business and Economics, Brazil, and John Hopkins University were declared the first and second runners-up, respectively.
The GCCH is the world's most prestigious case competition organized by the IFSA Network and Harvard GSAS Business Club. The competition is a unique opportunity connecting the world's smartest academics from finance, business and economics backgrounds from the U.S.A, Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. The teams are given three weeks to prepare and submit a solution.
Amir Rezvani, Doctoral Researcher at the Harvard Business School, while hosting the award ceremony online, observed, "the annual competition witnessed top talent of the planet, great material with participants having paid attention to detail and academic rigour." Delhi University's SSCBS was announced as the winning team by Olivier Levyne, Managing Director, CACIB.
The winning team, comprised the BMS and BBA students Sparsh Sehgal, Ojas Jhamb, Kunal Vats, Raghav Nath and Aanand Negi. They were led by faculty members Neeraj Sehrawat and Amit Kumar.
International Business Times correspondent reached out to the team and they spoke about the competition, which commenced on February 24. The case in point was: 'Should Amazon acquire Netflix to expand its content library and win the streaming wars?'
Kunal while talking to International Business Times, India, said, "We were supposed to prepare a Merger and Acquisition pitchbook, justifying our strategy with financial and non-financial analysis. We all got together at Ojas' house and stayed there for about three weeks. Towards the end when the pandemic worsened and travel restrictions became imminent, I had to go to Jammu where my father, who is an Army officer, is posted and contribute to the solution from there. The deadline of submission was March 14, but because of the logistical, technical and collaborative difficulties associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, the deadline was pushed to March 21."
The result for the top 10 global finalists was announced on April 7, and the team made the cut. Other teams included prestigious universities and business schools from around the world. Details were passed on to the team, since this edition of the Harvard Global Case Competition couldn't be hosted at the Harvard campus like in the past.
Kunal further added, "We had to prepare a video presentation, not exceeding 12 minutes, which would be sent to the judges for evaluation followed by a Question and Answer round online. We got together and chalked out our content, individually recorded our parts, and combined the recordings to make the final video cohesive and presentable. It was indeed a unique experience and demanded utmost coordination amongst the five of us."
The final round was held on April 25 and was conducted via Zoom. The team faced an esteemed panel of judges who challenged them on their solution. Kunal especially highlighted the team's flexibility and ingenuity.
The results were announced via Harvard's live stream on Facebook. When the moment came, and the college and team's name flashed on screen, the team was over the moon! What made this win special was that it was the first time an Indian team had won this event. Moreover, competing against the best and beating them was very fulfilling, considering that the competitors were Master/PhD students from the best universities around the globe.
Indeed a great feat
"It was a great opportunity for our students to learn and interact with other international students. I am glad that our students are achieving international laurels and bringing positive news especially during such times", said Dr Poonam Verma, Principal, SSCBS.
Meanwhile, the team members said, "It has been a dream come true for us! Winning it has been surreal. Competing against and beating the top universities from around the world will always have a special place in our lives. This edition was online as compared to the other rounds held at Harvard, and we were able to adapt to the new format effectively. We're really glad that this competition happened despite the ongoing pandemic!"