INDEX- Information through Disguised Experimentation - this effort is aimed at tapping into the sub-conscious of the consumer. Businesses try to do this using conventional marketing tools, but at a high cost in terms of money, time and the inevitable biases that creep in. INDEX is IIM Lucknow's endeavour to provide to the industry quality market research from desensitized data.
Initially, about one and a half years back, when I got into IIML and introduced to these committees, I don't know what? But I was attracted to the INDEX. I so desperately wanted to get into it. But well, destiny had something else scripted for me, and I could not get INDEXed for life, as they would call it. No regrets. I got into Student Exchange Committee (STEX). But then, this pinch that I need to do something about INDEX.
I was already in a team – W.I.N. – Whats in a Name?. I did have lots of fun while in the team. Made some great friends. Many mentors among seniors – Prashant (Uncle), the team lead; Abhishek Bhatia; Mandal; Bhunia, and so many others. Also had many memorable memories, exciting adventures and also some learning. In whole, it was an amazing experience, and I had then decided that I would form a team.
I opted out of the exchange program, in my dearth to lead a team in INDEX. We started forming the team right in march with Tanuj and Srinivas as the first members. I had this zealous enthusiasm that I want to win INDEX'08. During my summers I always had this INDEX thing on the back of my mind. I also spoke to Mukesh Patnaik in detail about the whole process. (He is my senior and the INDEX winner last year. I had the chance to catch up with him in vizag during my summers). When the second year started, we were done with the senior team formation (comprising ten members) and after lots of heated discussion named the team – TOTAL RECALL. (The name was suggested by Varun Reddy).
As soon as the facchas came in, as suggested by Mukesh, we started scouting for them. Getting to know them, interviewing them, explaining them INDEX and then finally taking them in on the three point evaluator – Creative, Jugaad, BhakChod. The process of the junior team formation was tedious and it also raised healthy competition among teams fostering into camaraderie. Tha faccha team was formed and we partied out at nashwa.
Now comes the first step. Proposal making. We needed to win a proposal. We as a team recognised that this was our weakest link, and I had so many nightmares that I would land up without a proposal. A terrible thing to happen. The dynamics are so – there are 13 teams in campus, and INDEX core would get about 9 or maximum 10 projects to be executed. So about 3-4 teams would get dissolved. I at no cost wanted to be in that 3-4 teams. We did work hard and smart, and finally lapped in CITIBANK. That called for a celebration, in an 'unconventional' party. Everyone dressed and ready for the party and we all head to Fauji Dhaba outside campus in a open truck. One party that I am sure everyone would remember. Iit could not not get more weird than that.
Then the unexpected pleasant shock. I got a PPO from Cadbury, and everyone started believing I would have no more motivation. Actually yes, the CV did not matter anymore and I did not see any reason I should work for it. But well, how do I explain that INDEX is something that I was not doing just for the CV. I had things to prove. I still work, of course not with the same rigour, as lethargy and relaxedness had taken toll on me.
INDEX'08 was scheduled on 22nd and 23rd November. We started off with the prop design and the questionnaire design, along with the game design well in advance. It all went smooth, and our props were like one of the best among the teams, I can vouch. The process in place for prop preparation was intact and it showed in the results. The two days at the fair were tiring and fun at the same time. I slept for not more that 4 hrs in those two days. It was a very gratifying experience. We did party out a lot during those two days. Went out to Ritz for team dinner on both days, and also followed it up the nest week with a team outing for dinner. Also, in the tent itself, we arranged for alcohol, and even invited INDEX core for it. All the actors were having their glass ready while enacting their parts to the respondents!!
Now comes the final lag – the report and the presentation. Everyone had lost enthusiasm, and that includes me. The data was not being coded in spite of repeated requests. Mahale was busy preparing for TOEFL, and so were others in their own pursuits. The final blow, I was leaving town and would not be available when the report has to be submitted. Even Srinivas is out of town, and well tanuj was out long back (different story!). So only gaur left, and I hand him over everything with a request to everyone to follow Gaur. On Monday evening, when I was busy having fun in Jaipur at the wedding, I get reddy's message – "Dude, Please talk to gaur. No work is happening". I was like shit; I call up srini instead, and ask him to please complete the formality. Whatever little chances of winning were left are all forgotten, and now it has reduced to just a formality. The report does get submitted.
Saturday night is the deadline for the presentation to be submitted. I try and divide the work among the team members, but to no avail. No one seems to be interested. Why should i? I don't have anything at stake. Chuck it. Finally, after lots of persuasion, I and Srini start working on the ppt at about 10PM, with some inputs from Mahale on quantitative analysis. We complete some crap by 12 midnight. We then go out to the mess and eat lightly just to follow it up with some pegs of Royal Stag – My lucky charm. Trump card it is Abhinav if you want to call it so.
Presentation at 9:30AM on Sunday morning. My hair is oiled so I necessarily have to bath in that cold chilling fog filled weather. I mail the entire team to be present without much hope, and then mail some key members separately asking them to join me compulsorily. In Vain, I realise next day morning. I wake up baka and ask him to wake up Gaur and Mahale at least. Gaur replies back blatantly – "NO, I am not coming". Srini asks him some details about his part, and then me and Srini head to Mahale's room. After lots of requesting, he agrees to come but not in formals. We were like, "come in whatever way you like. Just come and present the quantitative part" He replies back, stopping where he is, "no Dude, I am not presenting anything. If they ask any questions I would defend you". With the fear that he would retract back to his cozy blanket, we agreed.
The first presentation people re walking out, and now thankfully we also have Ankush and Ali – none in formals. The saving grace were Swati and Shwetha who came in formals. At least to show the team bonding, and the gender diversity we have something. I and Srini are on the stage trying to explain everything in the uttermost smartness we can. We do a good job I am sure. I present the major part and Srini handles one part. In the end part of the presentation was the quantitative analysis of which I knew no shit, so I just skim through it. After we end with the thank you slide, the judge from ac neilson does not seem very happy, and remarks, " you gave a good presentation, but you know what? Somewhere in the middle I completely got lost". He then started shooting questions along with his counterpart on the rational of using various data, and the methodology by which we arrived at the numbers. A hard core statistician. My weak area. We try fielding him for some time with some globe, but of no avail. Now enters Mahale, who was just sitting idly all the while. He replies back in the same numbers tone and speaks quant for some 5 minutes. (maybe it was greek and Latin, I did not know). Then the judge again provokes Mahale by further introspection. Mahale is raged, and gets down to the stage. He takes a chalk piece and starts drawing the most obscure signs and equations explaining things with some graphs. Now I am sure it was latin, many of the signs on the board were. After the detailed explanation he retorts, " NOW AM I RIGHT?", after a brief pause, " YES, I THINK I AM". The whole hall is silent, and the judges awestruck. (Abhinav one more trump card this is for TOTAL RECALL). Prof. DDG, who was also the judge along with those from ac nelison finally asked some question to break the silence. This I handed with élan. My core competency as Baka calls – Speaking.
We have little hopes on the outcome, and only I and Srini attend the presentation ceremony in the evening. Shweta followed after sometime, and Ali and Ajit also were present. Other teams had a good 10-15 people representation. Great. First the traditional speeches by the judges. Thankfully they were brief. Then the individual stages results. We do not win any.
Now for the final results. Overall INNDEX'08 winners. First the 2nd runners up..
Whoa! I and Srini were like the most surprised people on the planet. We just keep staring each other for a moment. And then after Kaushik signals to come over, do we go the stage to collect the award. Huh! Finally it paid off.
We partied in the night at genesis club, where I got totally drunk! As usual!
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