“We make money from waste!” - The MAI Bangkok Business Challenge

Jaganmohanarao Yegireddi, Global MBA 2015-2016, India

“We make money from waste!” was our motto as we submitted our business plan summary in October 2015 to the MAI Bangkok Business Challenge.

The team was made up of:
  • Monica Elston from the USA
  • Praveenkumar Sundararaju from India
  • Jaganmohanarao Yegireddi from India
  • Juvena Ee Huang Tan from Singapore
  • Long Hu from China
  • Abhimanyu Ajay Mehra from India


From the very day we completed our case study on Terra Nova, who developed a technology to recycle printed circuit boards to produce the precious metals, we saw a potential to establish this technology in India. Prof. Gilles van Wijk was kind enough to set up a meeting with Mr. Christian Thomas, the CEO of Terra Nova to discuss the possibility of setting up a plant in India. It was then we heard of the MAI Bangkok Business Challenge. We realized this challenge will provide us with an opportunity to validate our Plan.

By early December 2015, we were excited that our business plan was shortlisted among the 16 semi-finalists out of 48 plans that were submitted. This provided us with the first proof of the soundness of our plan. We borrowed time from the cramped up academic schedule to develop the plan further. After several deliberations on the strategy, pricing and supply chain, we were ready with our business plan on the very last date for submission. We were all set to go to Bangkok to present our plan.

The entire challenge was very well organized from picking us up at the airport to the award ceremony. This facilitated us to be more focused on our work. We set up our exhibition booth and prepared ourselves for the first network round presentation. The judges were very detail oriented and gave insights on how we could improve our plan. This was followed by the interactions with two of the alumni whose business went on to be very successful and then the 99 second pitch for all the semi-finalists. The 99 second pitches pumped up the energy of all the teams with precise summaries of their business plans. The interactions with judges and other teams gave us new directions to explore.

The first round was intense in terms of the question and answer session. Thankfully, our intensive preparation by anticipating the possible questions helped us to face the judges with relative comfort. We were adjudged first in our group and found ourselves in the finals. The finals, which were held the next day were aired live on the Thai money TV. The questions grew more intense, the interactions more insightful and the 30 minutes stipulated to us for the presentations seemed as if they were 10 minutes.

The prize distribution ceremony was chaired by the Air Chief Marshal of Thai Air Force, as a representative of the HM King of Thailand.  Yes, we were a bit dejected by not finding our name in the first two positions but the knowledge we got by participating in this event was immense. The evaluation of the business plan by the eminent judges gave us new directions to think and work on optimizing our plan.

Tomorrow will be another day, another chance and we are better equipped to grab that from what we have learned yesterday!


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