Udaan Business Quiz 2019: A Repeat of Udaan 2018

The venue was revamped. The participation was bigger. And like every year, the occasion was momentous.

Just like mangoes and IPL have become synonymous with Indian summers, so has my opening speech at Udaan Business Quiz. Come 3rd Sunday of June and I get ready to greet the enthusiastic participants with “mangoes and IPL”. Note to self: next year, equate North India’s harsh loo with the tough questions that I ask. Or maybe not.

While the country was still mesmerized with Mohammad Nabi Shami’s performance the previous evening, 80 of the country’s finest quizzing teams descended upon the annual pilgrimage to SAIL-MTI Ranchi. It was the 10th edition of Udaan Business Quiz and the 7th time I was hosting it.

The quiz was divided in 3 parts – Prelims, Semifinal and Final. The prelims had 25 Qs with 100 points up for grabs. While no one scored a distinction, only 1 team secured 1st division. Haw! But thanks to a wide 100 points playing field there were no ties, even though with a cutoff at 37, there were at least 8 other teams that were bunched at 32-35.

The Semifinal was a David (Capgemini) vs Goliath (SAIL) show. Yup. 5 teams from 4 different plants of SAIL and a team from Capgemini. Capgemini, who was 5th in the prelims benefited greatly out of the head start they got to begin with. While on the end of the spectrum was Rourkela Steel, 3 time champion of Udaan, who started with a clean slate but tip-toed ahead of the other SAIL teams to march straight ahead into the final. Capgemini 37, Rourkela 33 and missing out on the last question was Bhilai at 22.

Now for the final of 2018. Err.. I mean 2019, but it was the same 6 teams that shared the stage last year as well. Capgemini (on the podium 5 years ago) and Rourkela (3 time former champion) were joined by RBI, M-Junction, TCS (Defending champions), and Ernst & Young (on the podium last year). Right, so one could blame it on Nehru (as we did in one of the questions), but experience counts when pitted against such strong opponents.  The finals began on an easy direct and pass no negative no buzzer manner with all teams except 1 on the scoreboard. TCS with some wonderful answers like harmonium being banned by AIR, and the String of Pearls geopolitical influence of China, made early inroads and Rourkela continued to bring their good form of the semis in the final while nudging TCS from behind. Scores after Round 1 – TCS 39, Rourkela 33, RBI 17.

Round 2 is when I felt greed (or was it desperation?) got the better of teams as they opted for tough questions to slingshot ahead instead of easy questions and gradually rising. Perhaps they took a lead from the accountants from M-Junction who had the luck of the draw in their favour as they picked GST and smashed it easily, making the others think they’ll receive dollies. But it wasn’t to be. The big moment came towards the very end when Rourkela missed a direct question to take a negative and handing TCS an opportunity to build a cushion for themselves at the top. Scores after Round 2 – TCS 71, Rourkela 38, Capgemini 30, RBI 29, M-Junction 24 and E&Y 12.

On to the final and the decisive round. Till now a reserved and silent observer E&Y picked a very important 15 pointer in the first question to announce their arrival. TCS took the next one to continue to surge ahead. Pouncing on question 3 was Rourkela. Question 4 was a negative for TCS, but by now they were beyond the horizon for the others so it didn’t matter. Question 5 and 6 saw Rourkela pushing the pedal but running out of gas immediately. They got a negative and then a positive to cancel that out. Question 7 went Capgemini’s way. Question 8 to TCS ensuring consecutive victory lap dance for them. Question 9 to E&Y to bring them in touching distance of 3rd place and repeat last year’s performance but in the final question Capgemini held their nerve to sail away from E&Y. Final scores – TCS 96, Rourkela Steel – 53, Capgemini – 50, E&Y – 37, RBI – 29 and M-Junction – 24.

Lastly, thanks to all the sponsors for making this event happen year after year and of course for SAIL-MTI and NHRDN Ranchi Chapter for being such wonderful hosts. Here’s to another 10 years of Udaan.

TCS with the winning trophy
Rourkela Steel Plant was the 1st Runner Up

Some Questions from the Quiz (you can answer in the comments)–

  1. Around 90% of the world’s production of it is in Iran, while another 7.3% is in an Indian state. But the land allotted to it in the state has decreased from around 5,800 hectares in the 1980s to below 3,700 hectares in 2016. In its glory days, the state would produce as much as 16 tonnes a year. But in the last few years, output has fallen to less than 1 tonne a year. Also known as red gold, what is being talked about?
  2. State Street Global Advisors Gender Diversity ETF, an arm of SSGA, an asset management business that commissioned the Fearless Girl that stood strong in front of the Raging Bull to promote women leaders. Among all the controversies that this campaign saw, what is the ticker symbol with which the company trades on NYSE?
  3. Alpic Finance, a company that got into trouble in 2002 with the Bombay High Court for duping its investors, was a part of which business giant set up in 1935 in Mumbai? In 2012, its Nepal unit merged with other NBFCs to form Synergy Finance Limited.

4. What self-maintenance activity originated in China as early as 3000 BCE whose ingredients included beeswax, egg whites, gelatin, and vegetable dyes. In Ancient Egypt, both for women and men, its colour was even used to signify class rankings, a division between the lower class and the high society?

5. At the LFW2019, USHA Silai presented X’s new collection Y, an ode to the magnificent beauty of flowers of Kashmir. For the show, the ramp was strewn with dry Chinar leaves and shikaras laden with colourful flowers. Hailing from Kashmir, which designer (X) and what collection (Y)?

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