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BYU business students win second place at FedEx Supply Chain Competition

Six students from Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management won second place and $2,000 at the 11th annual FedEx Freight International Graduate Logistics Case Competition in Fayetteville, Ark.

It was BYU’s first time at the invitational event, sponsored by FedEx Freight in alliance with the Supply Chain Management Research Center at the University of Arkansas’s Sam M. Walton College of Business.

“On a global stage, the supply-chain world is a close-knit community,” says Stan Fawcett, professor of global supply chain management at BYU and the team’s faculty adviser. “Being able to get the invitation to compete and then to perform well opens the door to this tight community. The team’s performance in Arkansas will significantly improve the visibility and recruiting opportunities for our students.”

The event pitted 12 of the best supply chain programs in the world against each other, with each team playing the role of a consulting firm for a fictional start-up company in the growing wind turbine industry. Contestants had 24 hours to review the case and prepare recommendations for a supply chain plan, which they presented before a panel of judges. The judges then challenged each team’s findings in a question-and-answer session.

The BYU team consisted of first-year supply chain students Bradlee Watson, Provo, Utah; Brian Fischer, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.; and Dave Minaker, Pincher Creek, Alberta. Second-year supply chain students on the team were Alvaro Brisolla, Sao Paulo, Brazil and Artie Gulden, Lewisburg, Penn.; as well as second-year finance student Harsh Dhawan Grover, Himachal Pradesh, India.

To prepare, the team spent four weeks analyzing case studies and delivering presentations to a panel of BYU professors, which helped the students improve their analytical skills, teamwork and confidence.

“My first practice presentation was terrible,” says Alvaro Brisolla. “But by the time I presented at the competition, I was not the same person. Not that my English improved that much, but our preparation gave me more confidence to speak English in front of people. Presentation skills are so important in business, so I think the competition was fantastic for me.”

The University of Maryland placed first and won $3,000, and Pennsylvania State University was awarded $1,000 for finishing third. The other participating universities included the University of Arkansas, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Iowa State University, Texas Christian University, Darmstadt University of Technology from Darmstadt, Germany, and Chalmers University of Technology from Gothenburg, Sweden.

The Marriott School has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, entrepreneurship, public management and information systems. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

Writer: Arie Decker

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