By Tom Paprocki, second-year MBA student
In what was undoubtedly one of the more bizarre moments of my two years here at Kelley, I recently had my head put in a guillotine while participating in a game show in Delhi, India -- all of which was broadcast on national television.
Let that sink in for a second.
Every year a school in India called IIPM hosts an international marketing case competition. Or so they say. In actuality, it is a “quiz show,” though you won’t know that until after you’ve been accepted to participate. This year, 50 graduate business schools took part, 45 from within India and five outside of the country: Duke, Columbia, London School of Business, University of Chicago and Indiana University. All expenses are paid by the host school in India, including the flight, hotel, food and all transportation while in the country.
A fellow classmate and I were selected by the host school to represent Kelley in the competition, and in spite of the fact that we did not receive our airline tickets or visas until four hours before our flight was to depart, we soon found ourselves amid the hustle and bustle of India’s energetic capital. Our hosts treated us to a visit to the Taj Majal, a tour of Delhi, and then brought us to their school to participate in the marketing competition.
In the end, only six schools out of the original 50 made it to the finals. We were fortunate enough to advance, along with Chicago Booth and four Indian schools. The finals were held in a professionally constructed outdoor studio on the school grounds. In addition to random performances of Bollywood-style dancing and the liberal use of fog machines, the event was highlighted by the appearance of the game show host Shah Rukh Khan. For those of you who are not familiar, Khan is the biggest movie star in India. My Indian-born friends in Bloomington describe him as “the sum of Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in their respective primes … times two.”
Over the course of the two-hour broadcast, my teammate and I competed in a very strange but very fun “quiz show” that included a dance-off with “King” Khan and what I still believe to be a near-death experience with the aforementioned guillotine while "Carmina Burana" blasted in the studio.
Although we didn’t win the grand prize of 250,000 rupees, it was an unforgettable experience and just another example of the sort of global opportunities available at Kelley.