A team from the University of Wisconsin-Superior won first place in the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Milwaukee Roundtable Undergraduate Supply Chain Case Competition held Feb. 16 at UW-Whitewater.

"The case competition tested our students' supply chain knowledge as well as their capability and creativity in problem solving," said Dr. Mei Cao, director of the UW-Superior School of Business and Economics, professor of supply chain management and coach of the team. "It provided a tremendous opportunity for our students to apply their classroom learning to the supply chain challenges in a real world competitive environment. It also allowed our students to demonstrate and develop their communication and collaboration skills."

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The UWS team was comprised of John Bergstroem, double major in transportation and logistics management and supply chain management from Lund, Sweden; Marta Larson, a double major in transportation and logistics management and mathematics from Ramsey, Minn.; Muqing Li, a triple major in transportation and logistics management, supply chain management, and international business from Shanghai, China; and Robert Webber, a double major in transportation and logistics management and supply chain management from Duluth.

The purpose of this competition is to bring together teams from top undergraduate supply chain programs, which also included representatives from UW-Eau Claire, UW- Madison, Marquette University, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Whitewater. Each team had been given the case study on energy drink company Guayaki two weeks prior to the competition to research relevant materials and develop proposed solutions. Students were asked to identify the supply chain issues that Guayaki was facing, analyze alternatives and make their recommendations.

"Having group work is sometimes frustrating, because everyone has different ideas" said Li. "What made our team get first place is the interactive discussions we had along the way. I felt absolutely happy. This experience was very valuable and I learned so much from this work. I would be delighted to participate in another competition in the future."

Following a 10-minute question-and-answer session, the student teams had 20 minutes to present their recommended solutions to a panel of judges selected from the supply chain management industry by the Milwaukee Roundtable. At the end of the day-long series of presentations, the judges voted UW-Madison fourth place, Marquette University, third, UW-Eau Claire, second, and UWS first.

"According to the judges, we won the case competition because we had developed a realistic model that helped us drive the solution and objectives in the case," said Bergstroem. "Winning this competition would not have been possible without the knowledge, support and guidance provided by the faculty in the School of Business and Economics. This was a great experience for everyone involved, and it shows that UWS provides their students with the necessary tools and knowledge to be successful in the academic and professional world."

As the top team, UWS was awarded a check from the CSCMP Milwaukee Round Table for $3,000 that will be distributed among the student team members.

"The CSCMP case study competition was a great experience because we were able to apply what we have learned in class to a real-life scenario," said Larson. "We were able to get feedback from professionals about what would help us succeed in a supply chain career. It is great to be reassured that our education is setting us up for success in the real world."