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Business and Engineering Students Team Up for Race for the Case

Nine teams of business and engineering students from the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State University, and West Virginia University were challenged to think fast and put their knowledge—and agility—to the test during the University of Pittsburgh’s College of Business Administration and Swanson School of Engineering’s 2015 Undergraduate Supply Chain Management Case Competition. Pitt Business, West Virginia University, and Penn State Students competed in the 2015 Race to the Case Competition

This was the first time the competition was open to teams outside of the University of Pittsburgh. Each team had two business students and two engineering students. They raced through three one-hour rounds of competition, which took them around Pitt’s campus.  

 “From my point of view, I enjoyed the competition because it had elements of both traditional industrial engineering and business perspectives,” said Andrew Cecchi, a Pitt student earning a dual major in industrial engineering and economics.

During rounds one and two, the students had one hour to answer questions based on the Harvard Business Review case, “3D Printing Jolts on SCM and China Manufacturing Industry.” After completing each round, teams then physically raced to another location on campus for the next round. 

The first three teams to arrive at the locations received bonus points and the teams that were late had points subtracted. Only the top three scoring teams from rounds one and two advanced to the third and final round. 

Many key 3D printing patents expired in 2014. The teams were challenged to present an analysis of the impact of 3D printing on supply chain, and specifically how China, the largest manufacturing nation in the world, will be impacted. The experience gave teams an opportunity to think as managers of a company and present their case to a panel of judges, who simulated a C-suite setting. 

“I think the competition paralleled well to what I have experienced in the industry,” Cecchi said. 

The panel of judges included six Pitt Business faculty and six corporate judges from Westinghouse, FedEx, Eaton, Puls+, and Denali. 

The first prize of $3,000 was awarded to a team from West Virginia University. A Pitt team earned second place and a prize of $1,500, and a Penn State University team placed third with a prize of $500. 

Professors James Kimpel and Ray Jones served as faculty advisors, and professor Eric Paljug from the Pitt Business Center for Supply Chain Management was instrumental in facilitating the judging. 

The Pitt Business Center for Supply Chain Management is dedicated to the study of critical issues in global supply chain management. Financial support from the Pittsburgh-based logistics provider GENCO and Herb Shear, the company’s former CEO and executive chairman, made the creation of the center possible. For more information and to get involved in upcoming programs and activities, click here