A Shark Tank for India’s high school students with Ashneer Grover at Masters’ Union

31 January, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma

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Over 6,500 students from more than 500 schools across 30+ Indian cities competed to get a chance to showcase their leadership, problem-solving, and business skills to Ashneer Grover. The cut-throat...

Over 6,500 students from more than 500 schools across 30+ Indian cities competed to get a chance to showcase their leadership, problem-solving, and business skills to Ashneer Grover. The cut-throat competition was spread over three grueling rounds over 6 weeks, where students from all parts of the country submitted their applications to be part of Masters’ Union’s The CEO Challenge.

Amid the growing popularity and mushrooming of entrepreneurs across the world, including India, there is a rising desire among individuals to start or lead successful businesses. Masters’ Union – India’s only practitioner-led B-school where students learn business by running a business – conceptualized the CEO Challenge to allow students from Class XI and XII to get an early taste of life as an entrepreneur/ business leader.

Pratham Mittal, Founder, Masters’ Union said, “We believe that one can only learn the nuances of business by running the business and deep diving into the subject matter. That’s how the idea of the CEO Challenge was incepted – to provide high school students with a platform to present their innovative business ideas and evoke the entrepreneur inside them. We were glad to see such fantastic business ideas and pitches coming from students from Delhi, Rajasthan, Meerut, Bhopal, Jabalpur etc.”

The CEO Challenge was created with the belief that by allowing students to experience the role of a CEO, the B-school can inspire them to pursue careers in business and leadership and help to develop the next generation of leaders. ‘The CEO Challenge’, was broken down into 3 rounds. In the first round, students participated in a 7-day-7-minute marathon that had an online MCQ-based tech and business simulation. This was followed by a 4-hour-long Virtual Case Study Competition Internship which culminated in a face-to-face round with Ashneer. The top 18 applicants from across India presented their final business ideas to the Former Shark Tank India Judge Ashneer Grover, at Masters’ Union Gurugram Campus.

“A founder’s/CEO’s job seems fancy, but really isn’t. It is one of the hardest jobs, as it involves making multiple decisions all the time. And you only get better and make more right ones than the wrong ones, with experience. I have had many ideas being pitched to me by experienced folks. But I was really impressed to see such intellect and application from school students of Class XI and XII. Congratulations to Masters’ Union for developing the CEO Challenge – it is a great concept and far more effective than classroom lectures. I think it’s important that more schools and B-Schools create such platforms that add real value to the students.” said Ashneer Grover, Former MD, BharatPe.

The innovative ideas in the final round involved topics like financial literacy, protecting the environment, advancing sustainable fashion, and encouraging energy conservation. Ten students have been selected to shadow CEOs of reputed companies, for one day in order to gain hands-on experience in decision-making, strategy development, and other important skills. The top 3 winners were Divyanshi Gupta from Adarsh Jain Dharmik Shiksha Sadan, Delhi, for her ed-tech startup “Skill Before Degree”; Raghvi Ajmera from Rockwoods International School, Udaipur, for her customized social platform “Uni-Connect”, and Adya Chouhan from Shikshantar School, Gurugram, for her fintech start-up idea “Marham”. These 3 students were awarded cash prizes worth a total of INR 10 Lakhs for their outstanding performance and innovative ideas.