Wednesday, 19th February, 2020


MBA students successfully complete internship in an auto-rickshaw

14, Jun 2011 By Harshad Karandikar

Mumbai. Continuing the trend of MBA grads giving up lucrative offers to “do something meaningful”, 3 students from the Wannabe Institute of Management, WIM, have successfully completed their mandatory summer internship in an auto-rickshaw here.

Confirming the development, Mr. Sharma, the placement chairperson of WIM, praised the lads for their lateral thinking in trying to solve the myriad problems that society today faced, the chief of those being what to do with all those MBA students during those 2 months between the first and second year.

Talking exclusively to Faking News, the trend setting students shared their experience.

“Every year, all of our fellow MBA students occupy so much space in corporate offices, drink gallons of coffee, cause the AC system to generate another ton of greenhouse gases and give already overworked middle management personnel the really enriching but also tiring task of cooking up something to keep us busy. At WIM, however, we have always been encouraged to challenge status-quo and think out of the box,” remarked Gaurav, in his impeccable Raymond suit.

Suraj, his classmate and project partner, had an altogether different take on the issue: “Corporate Social Responsibility is another area of focus at WIM. Unless we create real change at the bottom of the pyramid, India cannot shine. If we, the top brains of the country do not contribute to this, then who will? Therefore, we decided to catch hold of somebody who would really do with some help from us. A stint with an auto-rickshaw wallah seemed like a good idea.”

“The changing scenery would also alleviate boredom and stimulate creative thinking. Considering the state of Mumbai’s roads, the risk of falling asleep in office in the afternoon was also negated, a common problem faced by many of our batchmates,” he added.

Auto rickshaw in Mumbai
Initially the MBA grads had an idea of working on a summer project of converting an auto-rickshaw into an eco-friendly one, but later settled for a project on livelihood finance.

Pratik, the third partner, no longer being able to control his annoyance at being denied precious airtime, pitched in: “We decided that the auto driver could well do with some improvements in his top and bottom-line. Unfortunately, he was already heavily leveraged due to the considerable support that he extended to the local liquor business. Therefore, we needed to find a solution which was not very capital-intensive. With the RBI hiking lending rates every week or so, how could anybody afford to get more debt? What we proposed was a result of an intense session of pot, err, I meant brainstorming. We decided that the best way for the fellow to make more money was to sell umbrellas!”

“Umbrellas?” this curious reporter asked with a sinking feeling that his inferior mind would not quite be able to fathom the brilliant logic behind the suggestion.

“Oh, it’s really simple. It was clear that he had to diversify. Rickshaw services are a commodity, and he just had no USP. In a situation of perfect competition, he could do nothing with the market demand curve. His price was market given. Diversifying into a completely unrelated market was the perfect solution. Plus, selling umbrellas is a cyclical business. After all, even a third-grade MBA student knows that a cyclical and non-cyclical mixture of businesses creates a healthy portfolio. In addition, his existing business ensured that the marginal costs involved in selling umbrellas would be zero,” Pratik explained.

The students also handed out an implementation plan to the auto-rickshaw wallah at the end of their internship period.

“The core of the business is based on fundamental consumer behavior – the tendency of passengers to forget umbrellas in autos. All that the auto driver has to do is to only choose customers carrying umbrellas, and he’d have a fine selection by the end of the day. Once he had plenty of variety, he would simply have to start choosing passengers who weren’t carrying umbrellas, and sell them one on the way. It’s a simple model, really, with no working capital and a hundred percent profit margin,” students explained.

Speaking to Faking News on the condition of anonymity, a partner at McKinsey & Co. confirmed that they were deliberating making offers to these students:

“We have a rare mixture of talent and humility here, exactly what we look for in future McKinseyians. These boys have created real change, and we’re really excited at having them on board. In fact, we might even work with them on extending the scope of the project. I don’t think we currently have anything in the not-completely-public-but-something-like-that transportation space anywhere in the world. It creates value for all stakeholders.”

A placement committee member from one of the lesser IIMs declined to comment on the impact of McKinsey recruiting from a non-IIM while steadfastly refusing to visit their campus for placements year after year. “All our students get their choice of roles and industries during placements and are extremely satisfied,” he maintained.

(reported by Harshad Karandikar)