Today’s business world has an unmistakable demand to quickly and efficiently make goods and services available wherever and whenever they are needed. That demand was the springboard for the creation of the Global Supply Chain Management program at West Virginia University in the fall of 2014.
Now, only four years later, WVU has affirmed its place among the top supply chain programs in the world, as the Mountaineers were named one of five divisional winners on October 7 at the General Motors/Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business Supply Chain Case Competition in Detroit. The competition included 24 teams from the U.S., China, Mexico and Taiwan, and challenged student teams to procure advanced technology components while considering global business issues such as logistics costs, sustainability and more.
The recognition for WVU comes on the heels of its fourth consecutive supply chain case competition win at the University of Pittsburgh’s Race to the Case Supply Chain Management Competition. That competition saw two students each from the global supply chain management program at the College of Business and Economics and the industrial engineering program at the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. The GM competition, held in the heart of the famed Automotive Alley, featured a team comprised of four global supply chain students from WVU’s business school.
“This case competition was an amazing opportunity to solve a real world problem,” said Amy Toscano, a senior from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. “Working on this case for the past month was definitely challenging. This was a complex case that required a lot of analysis.”
Kadin Burris, a senior from Lewisburg, West Virginia, said, “The competition was a valuable experience that used an actual automotive supply chain problem. The event gave students a chance to network with experts in the industry as well as several students from around the globe. This event will be something I cherish forever!”
Dr. Ednilson Bernardes, global supply chain management program coordinator, professor of global supply chain management at B&E and faculty advisor of the supply chain team, said the WVU team competed well among supply chain programs that have been in existence far longer. “The GM global leadership was impressed and heavily praised the team’s use of a wide variety of supply chain management tools, as well as its composure and presentation skills. We were one of, if not the, youngest SCM school in the competition, so finishing in the top among very strong and seasoned teams was no small feat.”
Rena Kobelak, a senior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, said the case was challenging, which made the team’s success that much more rewarding. “This case competition was arguably the most complex GM had ever written. That being said, it was rewarding to see that our performance matched the caliber of well-known supply chain programs around the country. I was very proud to represent West Virginia alongside my classmates.”
The competition also presented invaluable experience, said senior Pittsburgh native Ryan Stewart, to see how other teams handled problems and to also see major industry up close.
“The chance to meet many others studying the same material and to compete against them is a great way to set yourself apart from just another student simply majoring in supply chain,” said Stewart. “The chance to speak with senior level management is also something that doesn’t happen every day.”
Bernardes said the experience was much more than a case competition win; rather, it represented affirmation of the growth of WVU’s supply chain program. It will also help propel these four graduating seniors into the next phase of their lives.
“The complimentary statements made by GM’s global supply chain leadership really spoke to the culture we are building, the quality of our students, the quality of the major and each course in the program, and our faculty,” Bernardes said. “I’m extremely proud of our students and their accomplishment.”