May 2011

A crucible for future leaders

Lien Chang Luen and Wouter Van Der Gaag of London Business School declared the international winners of the Tata Crucible Campus Quiz 2010

The 2010 Tata Crucible Campus Quiz had a definite English flavour to it. At the scintillating finale that took place in Mumbai, India, recently, Lien Chang Luen and Wouter Van Der Gaag of the London Business School (LBS) were declared international winners, impressing everyone with their mature, steady and composed response to the highly charged atmosphere of the finals. The duo were earlier runners up in the UK edition of the quiz, which was held in November 2010.

Every year, Tata Crucible brings together the sharpest young minds to take on the heat of a tough business quiz. The quiz made its debut in India in 2004-05 and is held separately for corporates and campuses. The quiz is a part of the Tata group's engagement with the youth, and is a knowledge initiative to encourage lateral associations, speed of thought and out-of-the-box thinking.

"We believe that industry should play a proactive role in engaging with young people and the Tata Crucible initiative supports this belief. Tata now employs over 47,000 people in the UK, and Tata Crucible is a mechanism to engage with youth on a knowledge platform which is exciting, invigorating and at the same time challenging to their cerebral capabilities," says Syed Anwar Hasan, managing director, Tata Limited.

And challenging it was. "Many of the questions required an integrative style of answering. This moved it away from being a trivia quiz to one where a well-reasoned thought process could actually lead to the right answer, and for our team, there were quite a few questions where we were not 100 per cent certain, but managed to figure out through a logical flow," says Mr Luen of the winning team from LBS.

Tata Crucible Campus Quiz made its international debut with the Singapore edition in 2007. The UK edition was launched in 2008 and quickly gained popularity, with the latest edition seeing participation from over 20 leading UK universities, including LBS, London School of Economics, Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, Warwick, University College London, Aston, Nottingham, Loughborough, Manchester and others.

The quiz had over 125 students participating in the preliminary elimination. "Our initial motivation for taking part was just to have fun and enjoy ourselves. There are occasional pub quizzes in the UK, but not as many as I would have liked, so this was a good opportunity for us to challenge ourselves," says Mr Luen. The happy ending to the story, of course, was that a UK team also went on to win the international championship.

"This in true sense is Tata Crucible breaking the transnational boundaries. For the first two years Indian teams won the championships. London winning the international title really makes it very exciting for international participants," says Atul Agrawal, vice president, Group Corporate Affairs, Tata Services. "We believe it will strengthen the Tata brand in the UK campuses and will add to the overall brand stature." 

This belief may not be misplaced, going by what the winner has to say. "Certainly I was familiar with the name of the Tata group, but after this competition, I am much more aware. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the Jaguar factory, which is owned by the Tata group, and to think that this is the same company that manufactures the Rs1 lakh car – Tata Nano, demonstrates the breadth of expertise and range of businesses that Tata is involved in," says Mr Luen. Teammate Mr Gaag adds that in a global economy, competitions of this kind give companies a great deal of exposure in their markets.

Apart from winning the coveted International Champions Trophy, this year’s international winners also won themselves a laptop, an international holiday package and other goodies.