Ever wondered how to turn your meagre earnings into a million rupees, that too in jiffy?

Maybe you should take a tip or two from first year management students at the Faculty of Management Studies in Delhi University.

The batch of 2015 will tell you how, as part of their learning at the institute, they managed to make a quick buck, literally.

Last Sunday, the entire batch of 225 students was told to report to class. They could wear what they please, not the formal dress they normally have to while attending classes.

“It was obvious something very special had been planned for us,” said Sneha Motwani, a first-year student.

The special event was called “Merchants of Delhi”. All the students were divided into groups of 14 and their wallets and cell phones were taken away.

In their place, each group was given Rs. 500 with the instruction that they had six hours to earn as much as they could from the cash given to them.

“Nobody could cheat, there were two of us accompanying each group,” said Ishan, head of the Marketing Society of the college.

The winning group, believe it or not, had earned Rs 13,750 by the end of the day.

This group first made its way to the Kamla Nagar market. The strategy was simple: buy roses at the cheapest rate possible and sell them for as high a price as they could.

“We also took some key chains and went to Connaught Place. The first few sales were difficult, we started talking to anyone we could find and finally after a while, we were able to sell the flowers, but without much of a margin,” said Akshay Sharma.

The corner flower-seller gave them Rs. 20 per rose. They managed to increase the margin again. “The flowers sold for Rs. 30. It was good in a way; we were buying and selling higher in the same place for an increased rate,” said Pooja Pai.

Delhiites are known for their bargaining. “The best way to avoid this was to avoid putting a price on the roses, whatever the customer was willing to pay, we would accept and of course, we had to target the right people,” added Sneha.

Who were the “right” people? “The girls coming out of stores with packets in their hands, they wouldn’t mind taking a rose home along. In a couple, usually the man is asked how much he would pay for a rose to give his lady love; he usually wants to give a little extra. And, of course, a single parent with a child he or she wants to indulge,” added Preeti Tibrawal.

The group had other strategies as well; some of them headed to Khan Market where the merchandise is more expensive and the pockets usually deeper. And, as expected, the money coming in was more and the sales higher than Connaught Place.

“In Khan Market, we sold a flower for Rs. 1,000 to a man with a child of five and another man bought a flower for Rs. 500 to please his lady friend. In CP, we were asked how cheap we could sell and to appear friendly we were forced to undersell, but it worked out,” added Akshay.

The winning group made Rs. 13,750. This annual event never fails to surprise first-year students but the marketing always gets sharper. Last year made a total Rs. 77,000 and this year earnings from the 15 groups totalled Rs. 1, 22,417.

Strategy, an overused term in management studies, is not really overused, said the students. “The way they targeted individuals is called ‘capturing emotions’. You identify the person willing to spend, not just on the product itself but on the emotion. For instance, an old man accompanied by his wife is asked when was the last time he bought his wife a rose. How much is he willing to pay for this symbol of love? In the heat of the moment, economic sense of the individual changes,” added Ishan.

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