The A T Kearney Global Prize has taken up so much of my time and efforts, I thought it deserved a separate post.
I have given you some details earlier. A T Kearney (if you don't know who they are, you probably are not an MBA student or engaged in a business activity - none of which is a bad thing, mind you) has for the 10th year running organised the Global Prize - a simulated consulting engagement run as a competition. This year, the participants are Cranfield School of Management, Judge Business School, London Business School, Manchester Business School and Rotterdam School of management from Europe. The North American Contestants are University of Chicago, Columbia, Kellogg, University of Michigan, Sloan, Wharton and Carnegie Mellon.
One team from each will compete for the European Final or American Final as the case may be and the European and American winners will face off for the Global Prize. The representative team for each school is chosen through competition between the teams from that school. In our case, I registered in a team of four, apart from myself, the other team members were Amit Kapoor, Adrian deCourcey and Pietro Ponte. We called ourselves the Cinnamon Club - we thought if we win the finals, we would go and celebrate at that acclaimed restaurant.
The first round was simulated interviews. We posed as A T Kearney consultants and went to interview the client - real life A T Kearney consultants who were enjoying being on the other side of the table, giving the consultants a hard time :) The teams were evaluated on preparation and client handling skills. We (The Cinnamon Club) bonded as a team prior to this stage. There was lots of enthusiasm, dissection of the case, points for asking questions - in short, we enjoyed this. Each one wanted to win, and we did our best to structure our questions and ensure that we did not loose control of time. The interviews themselves were great. We were focussed and managed to be professional and keep to time, despite the best efforts of one particular interviewee :)
The second round was written submission. Based on data gathered from the interviews, each team was supposed to submit its recommended strategy. This we did in due course, as per schedule. The fun part was putting together the strategy. I am surprised really with the short time we took to agree what it should be. The salient features, the timing et all. Amit worked really hard on the presentation. Adrian and Pietro were their usual selves, dedicated and willing to put their best efforts.
Based on the strategy submitted and the performance of the team in the interviews, three teams were short listed. The Cinnamon Club was one of those. We now had to present our strategies in front of the judges - A T Kearney people and our faculty. Competing for the honour of representing Cranfield at the later stages of the competition, we started looking at ways to improve. Mind you, this is all simultaneously with everything else in the week, the WAC, the sessions and the L'Oreal networking event. It was tough, but fun. In our pursuit to win, there were a few heated interactions - minor but nevertheless there. All of us put in so much that at the end of it, all we could do was crash onto the bed. We practised three times, I think, before friends who very generously provided their time, as well as very useful feedback. We progressed from four individuals presenting to one team presenting. Then, after all the revisions and all the practice, it was time to present the strategy.
Ours was the first team to start. It was only us and the judges, no spectators allowed, so the only version you will hear about our presentation is ours. :) The judges were three Cranfield alumni who are now working with A T Kearney, and one Cranfield faculty, John Glen. I would of course want to say that we gave the best presentation ever. But we did give our best. Then, after it was over, we played some pool.
The results were announced, we were runners-up. I still think our strategy is the best :) for this case, but where we could have improved is more numbers and certain soft skills. This improvement bit is feedback received from A T Kearney, by the way.
That was the end of the road for us as far as the A T Kearney Global Prize is concerned. We tried our best, so did our other Cranfield teams. We, The Cinnamon Club, wish the winning team all the best in their journey to the global prize. I am sure they want to win the global prize as bad as we wanted to. We learnt many things, about ourselves, about applying our knowledge, and about consulting processes. Thank you, A T Kearney, for this wonderful opportunity.