A team of Lally School of Management graduate students, enrolled in the inaugural year of the new Master of Science in supply chain management program, won third place in the annual Association for Operations Management and Supply Chain Professionals (APICS) Northeast District Student Case Competition held Feb. 7–8 at the Marriott Hotel in Albany. The three winning students—Christian Griffin ’14, Gina Guetti ’14, and Fei Xue ’14—won $400 for their third-place finish.
Rensselaer was a first-time competitor in this event hosted by APICS, entering both undergraduate and graduate teams. APICS is a leading source of training and certifications in operations management and has a worldwide network of accomplished professionals.
The Student Case Competition is a signature event for APICS that occurs throughout different regions of the United States each year and provides a rigorous and intense environment for student case solution development and presentation; application of supply chain, analytical, and decision-making skills; network opportunities with operations management professionals; and the chance to earn prize money.
“Our team had never attended this competition before so winning a prize is a wonderful surprise, but also a fantastic starting point to guide us to be better and better,” said Xue.
During the two-day competition, undergraduate and graduate university student teams of three to four students each are given an operations management case study of a real company and asked to submit solutions both written and in an oral presentation to a panel of judges. This year’s case asked teams to develop a solution for a company’s warehousing strategy, requiring heavy calculations of warehousing costs based on the figures provided.
“It’s important to be creative in your solution preparation and be prepared to defend your position,” said Guetti. “It was a terrific opportunity and I recommend it to future Rensselaer graduate and undergraduate students.”
The winning team credits the M.S. program’s classes in business, supply chain, and specialized electives that have real-world project-based opportunities. These project-based courses allow them to develop their expertise in specific areas of supply chain management of interest to them.
The team also received coaching prior to the competition on strategy, critical supply chain concepts, and presentation fundamentals from T. (Ravi) Ravichandran, director of the M.S. in supply chain management program, associate dean for research, and professor at Lally.
The Lally M.S. in supply chain management degree is a one-year, 30-credit program that uses a systems approach to prepare students to design and manage supply chains in manufacturing and service industries, develop strategies to optimize supply chain operations, identify opportunities to leverage information technology, and create effective demand fulfillment capabilities in firms.
“We were up against teams who had rigorous training and who had entered in these types of events several times before,” said Griffin. “However, the supply chain courses that we have taken, the coaching we received, and the real-life supply chain experience that we had collectively gave us the edge to rank us third out of the 14 graduate teams that competed.”