Thriving in a dynamic global economy characterised by steady disruptions requires foundationally resilient business enterprises spearheaded by leaders with strong business acumen. To this end, GenNext was summoned to contest in an interesting battle of intellect at the HUL backed FinACE season 6. The initiative aimed to acclimatize B-schoolers to the financial workings of the FMCG industry and the application of their theoretical and practical knowledge to make strategic business decisions.
HUL, India’s leading FMCG giant and a household name with more than 50 brands to its credit, is working towards the complete adoption of a sustainable business model, which is an inherent need of the hour. Enhanced customer awareness and company valuations on the basis of environmental and social consciousness, and ethical governance practices are prodding companies to be mindful of their sustainability goals.
This finance-focused competition provided a level playing field for future leaders, as they went through several effort intensive stages over a 2-month period before the final winning team was declared. The campaign witnessed participation from over 1400 eager students, who had to register in groups of 3. The competition commenced with an online business simulation exercise, requiring candidates to make real-time business decisions to maximise profits amid adverse market scenarios. The qualifying teams then progressed to make presentations to the senior HUL leadership before finding their place in the finale.
The finalists from prestigious institutions such as ISB, SPJIMR, and IIMA presented their analyses pertaining to an interesting case study where their financial and marketing skills were put to test. The jury comprised illustrious business leaders such as Lakshmi Iyer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Investment Advisory, Kotak Investment Advisors Ltd. (KIAL); Ritesh Tiwari, Executive Director, Finance, HUL and CFO South Asia Unilever; Deepak Subramanian, Executive Director, Home care, HUL; and Sandeep Khaitan, Co-founder, Uniqus Consultech & Global Head – Finance Function Advisory Services.
Revolving around the theme of sustainability, teams made 10-minute presentations, pitching their conceptual framework, the workings of their P&L, marketing plans, cost efficiencies, and profit maximisation efforts. After a gruelling round of Q&A with the esteemed jury, the Aces of Spades team from SPJIMR took home the trophy and the cash prize of Rs. 3 lacs. They nailed their business proposition, as the team aptly quoted, "Sustainability is the new profitability.". Additionally, teams that qualified for the semi-final rounds got an opportunity to skip the queue for a PPI with Unilever, as part of the summer internship process (ULIP 2023.)
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