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Supply Chain Competition Tests Minds and Feet of Students

The best supply chain management systems operate with speed, accuracy, and ingenuity. All three qualities were on display at the 2014 Pitt Business Race To The Case Supply Chain Management competition.

Forty-two students from Pitt Business and the Swanson School of Engineering participated in the competition. Each team was a mix of business and engineering students.

The format of the competition was modeled after the TV show The Amazing Race. All participants had an hour to complete the first round in Sennott Square and then arrive at Benedum Hall. Then participants had an hour to complete the second round at Benedum Hall and then arrive at Mervis Hall. The first three teams to arrive at the locations in both rounds received bonus points and the teams that were late had points subtracted.

The three teams with the highest overall scores advanced to the third and final round. In the final round, students didn’t have to race to another location. This time, however, they presented their analysis to a panel of judges who asked the types of tough questions expected in a C-suite setting. The judges included managers at The Hershey Company, Philips, Westinghouse, FedEx, and the Muninn Group; Katz faculty members Prakash Mirchandani and Jen Shang; Swanson School faculty member Jay Rajgopal; and two MBA students from Katz.

The case used in the competition was a Harvard Business School case in which a company was struggling with a number of operations management and supply chain management challenges at its facility.  The case had both a business focus that was better suited to the business students and an engineering focus better suited to the engineering students.

First prize was $3,000, second prize was $1,500, and third prize was $500. The competition was made possible thanks to support from GENCO and the company’s Executive Chairman Herb Shear. Mr. Shear’s support contributed to the creation of the Pitt Business Center for Supply Chain Management.