Hola España! Partha Rao, from the Class of 2018-19 of the Executive Post Graduate Programme in Management (EPGP), shares leaves from his Spain diary

27 December, 2018, Bengaluru: When I joined the Executive Post Graduate Programme in Management (EPGP) at IIM Bangalore, I was sure of two things – I wanted to earn my MBA and I wanted to win a national competition, something that I had missed out during my undergraduate days. Little did I know that my exploits would take me out of India!

The journey began when Abhishek, a classmate, was on the lookout for teammates to participate in the Global Marketing Competition, organized by ESIC Business & Marketing School, Spain. He checked with Saket and me and both of us jumped on board eagerly. The competition consisted of an online simulator in which we had to participate as an automobile company and maximize our profits in three markets – North America, Northern Europe and Southern Europe. Long hours and many weeks later, we made it to the semi-finals, competing with six other teams to enter the finals, which were to be held in Madrid in December. A nail-biting month later, we got our results and voila – our team, team ‘Autobots’ as we called ourselves, had made it to the finals! The sense of pride and achievement was indescribable and it was one of the best moments of my life.

We landed in Spain on the 10th of December and were greeted by the chilly morning breeze. The cab ride to ESIC from the airport turned out to be one of the most picturesque ones that I have ever taken in my life, passing right through the Spanish countryside and into the heart of Madrid. Once we arrived, our team and the other teams – Spain, Portugal and Argentina, we were quickly ushered into rooms and were told that we had to prepare a presentation on our executive decisions taken in the semi-finals. We were brought back to reality after the breath-taking beauty of the ride and quickly came to a consensus on the points to make in the presentation. We decided that we were going to present as CEOs and not as competitors – it is what IIMB has been grooming us for, after all! A tense couple of hours later, we were all done and were dropped to our hotel room at Sol Square, post submission. The hotel turned out to be quaint little place and everything that I imagined a European hotel would be – right out of the pages of a Brothers Grimm book! We spent the evening preparing for the presentation, but not before shopping in Gran Via, which was just a couple of hundred metres away.

The next morning, we had our presentation and the atmosphere was rife with anticipation and nervousness. We were ‘Grupo Uno’ or Group One and hence were the first to go. All the other teams were ushered out and we began our presentation in front of an esteemed panel of C-level executives and professors. The presentation itself was very interactive and any vestige of nervousness that we might have had were taken away by the judges themselves. This was followed by a short interview that we gave to a local Spanish newspaper. It was the closest I felt to being a celebrity! Then came the time for results and we were keeping our fingers and toes crossed. They first announced Argentina in fourth place and we collectively heaved a sigh of relief. Then they announced third place, which was – Grupo Uno – us! We had made India and IIMB proud and I cannot put into words the way we were feeling at the time! We went on stage, posed with the huge cheque that was presented to us and went outside to join a small celebration that ESIC had organized for us before we bid adieu.

Although we were slightly disappointed at not having topped the contest, the experience of going to Madrid was a memorable one. It was totally worth the long hours and the tense wait, and it is a memory that I am going to cherish for the rest of my life.

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