In its 6 years of existence, Udaan – The Business Quiz for Corporates (the quiz to attend if you’re interested in quizzing in India) has seen a complete domination by Rourkela Steel Plant. With the team of Mr Debhajit Rabha and Mr Ravi Banjare completing a hattrick of victories (2011-2013), it was Mr Sampad Mishra and Mr S. S. Panda winning in 2014 and 2015 and in 2016 Mr Sampad Mishra partnered with Mr Ashwin Menon to complete his hattrick. And so I thought how about I get the winners share how they manage to win a quiz that sees the finest quizzers from across the country make their annual pilgrimage to Ranchi. Before we get to reviews, a quick word of thank-yous to all the 60-ish participating teams for deciding to spend their Sunday
watching me crack some bad jokes to learn something awesome, the organizers NHRD Network- Ranchi Chapter and SAIL-MTI for organizing this quiz so spectacularly that it raises the standard of corporate quizzing in India every year and finally the sponsors SMS Group and Siemens without whose valuable support, UDAAN-2016 wouldn’t have been possible. Now, let’s get to the review straight from the horses’ mouth-
Mr Ashwin Menon: Udaan 2016 was a first of its kind experience for me as a quizzer as it was my first corporate business quiz. As a person more inclined towards pop culture and sports I used to consider the business quizzes that I watch on social media to be out of my scope. This edition of Udaan certainly cleared that misconception of mine through a lovely set of workoutable questions presented in a way that kept us participants on the edge throughout. The right mix of buzzer and infinite bounce rounds made the whole thing a little trickier than usual. The spread of the question has to be appreciated as the quiz saw questions ranging from the establishment of NatGeo to phones [Ajay’s edit: it was books] using Artificial Intelligence. It was the quiz that would make an amateur business quizzer like me want to participate in more such events. The quality of the questions can be judged by the fact that members of the audience were eagerly waiting through the rounds for a chance to take a shot at a question. The whole event was a learning experience as well as an encouragement for everyone to take up business quizzing as a fun activity which will come as a welcome break from the usually rigid corporate culture. I don’t know about others but I am looking forward to more such events from the QM, Mr. Ajay Poonia.
Mr Sampad Mishra: This event holds a special place in my heart, not because I am winning it since the past two years but for the venue, as it takes place in MTI, which is a residential training center of SAIL, and SAIL units sponsor top 2-4 teams to participate in this event. So it’s like two days of paid holiday. The Last three editions of this Quiz is being conducted by Shri Ajay Poonia. I’m a big fan of him for the kind of research he does, the mix and framing of questions. But this time it was little special for me for three reasons. Firstly, I was not selected from my unit to represent, so no sponsored stay and travel and entry fee. Secondly, a change of partner and lastly, the added pressure of a hattrick win. There was a huge turnout with more than 60 teams from various Plants/units of SAIL and from other corporate houses like Godrej & Boyce, IOC, NALCO, NTPC, NMDC, IFFCO, RINL, TATA Steel, CAPGEMINI, MECON, Central Coalfields Limited (CCL), NSPCL, PGCIL participating. The Stage was taken over by Mr. Ajay Poonia, our QM for the event. Prelims was a regular affair with 25 questions. But I knew Ajay doesn’t like simple format at all! As predicted by me, there were a few Jack-in-the-boxes waiting for us all. Question number 5, 12, 19 and 25 were starred, meaning tie breaker questions, and the answer to them was an anagram of the first letter of answers preceding them. Prelims were a well laid out mix of current affairs, sports, tech, companies/brand and trivia. We worked out three out of four tie breaker questions and were pretty sure to make it into top 4. The first four teams on the basis of prelims marks qualify directly to finals and next six teams would have to fight out for other two slots on stage in a semifinal which consisted of three rounds. So we wanted to avoid that, because in short format semifinal anything can happen. As it happened we topped the prelims with 20 points, next IOCL at 19, BSL at 17, BSP at 16 and we were joined by Capgemini and RSP (team two) from the qualifying Semifinal beating the other four teams. We had been allotted table no.6 and were quite happy with it as it’s got the best possible view of the display screen. The final consisted of 5 rounds namely Infinite Bounce Clockwise, Cluetopia, Infinite Bounce Anticlockwise, Jeopardy and Sudden Death. At the End of First round only team IOCL had opened their account. In Cluetopia, each question had got three clues. If one worked it out in first clue only one would score 20, 10 with the second clue and with third, 5 and negative was constant at -5. Four questions in this round and everything on buzzer. This was a very tense round for me as one can score 20 if they can crack the question on first clue itself which is a huge leap. As it happened, my partner only cracked the first question on the first clue, which gave a boost to his confidence as he was new to the world of corporate business quiz. I would also like to add that this happened because the question was quite workable and one needed to just apply oneself in an Ajay Poonia Quiz! It’s not a classic Business Quiz where one needs to mug up old origins, history, personality, tagline and logo etc. So next time don’t hesitate to go to a quiz conducted by him because it’s just so entertaining and fulfilling and it might turn out that you win the quiz against some professional quizzers by just applying your brain. By the end of this round team IOCL was in the lead with 30 points and we were trailing behind with 20 points. Another round of Infinite Bounce had us neck to neck with IOCL at 40 points and us at 44! Questions like “What did Sam Brannan do, instead of panning gold that led to the coining of the famous maxim: During a gold rush, sell _____”? made sure that all the teams were on tenterhooks! The answer was simply “Shovel”! We had a Jeopardy round where the teams got to select Topics with different scores, and that too in an ascending order of scoring. In short, preference was shown to teams that were not doing so well at that time. We were the last to choose but we selected the highest scoring one named DATA with 15 points and luckily, got it right too. The question was” It’s often sold in bulk, it’s frequently on sale, and it’s non-perishable and easily storable”, what is this daily household item? Again a workable one: Toilet paper! The end of this round saw us on 64 with tiny steps forward by other teams too. The last round was Sudden Death where any outcome was possible with 8 questions and +10/-10 on buzzer. It certainly misfired for Team CapGemini who played a little aggressively. We played it safe, answered one and emerged as winners with a score of 74. Team IOCL came 2nd with 40 points. And I completed my Hat-Trick successfully. My observation since the past 3 years from Mr. Poonia’s quizzes are that one need not be a seasoned quizzer to participate and win. The youth especially who have a greater sense of perception are easily inspired from this persona who creates a sense of inquisitiveness with his diverse yet fun questions. [Ajay’s edit: Worth noting Mr Sampad Mishra had 2 consecutive 2nd place finishes in another quiz that I conducted recently, so a victory here was monkey off the back too 🙂 ]
Watch their victory here-
And here are some pictures from the quiz-
The stage is set