A group of six Brigham Young University students must take their cereal very seriously, because for them, figuring out the best way to get cereal from point A to point B earned them $3,000 and first place at the 12th Annual FedEx Freight International Graduate Logistics Case Competition held at the University of Arkansas.
BYU students have attended the event for just two years, but their involvement has garnered attention.
“Our participation in this event has helped increase the visibility of our supply chain management program,” says Stan Fawcett, professor of supply chain management and the team’s faculty adviser. “It is unusual for a new school to show up, take second place the first year and first place the second year.”
Teams from 12 schools received a case involving a small ready-to-eat cereal manufacturer with a shrinking market share in the industry. The teams had 24 hours to analyze the logistical problems the organization faced and come up with viable solutions to present to a panel of judges.
“I think our ability to work together as a team really differentiated us,” says David Minaker, a second-year MBA student from Alberta, Canada. “During the presentation someone would say something and then other members of the team would step up and support it, which allowed us to really sell our solution.”
This team unity came from weeks of working together to prepare for the event. The BYU team was selected in September and trained for six weeks, which was a key to their success, Fawcett says. “If you’ve got great students with talent and experience and you work with them through a rigorous development process, they’re going to do well,” he says.
The team consisted of second-year MBA students Minaker; Bryce LaPierre from Woburn, Mass.; Brandon Robinson from Provo, Utah; and A-Young Kim from Seoul, South Korea; and first-year MBA students Fernando Araujo from Curitiba, Brazil; and Stephen Jones from Portland, Ore.
Darmstadt University of Technology placed second and the University of Arkansas placed third, receiving $2,000 and $1,000 respectively.
Other participating schools included University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Iowa State University, Texas Christian University and Chalmers University of Technology of Gothenburg, Sweden.
“I loved meeting students from the other MBA programs,” Kim says. “We met a lot of them during receptions and dinners, and we enjoyed how bright and amiable they were. When we were in the final round, we had many of our new friends rooting for us.”
The Marriott School has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.
For this and other Marriott School news releases, visit the online newsroom at marriottschoool.byu.edu/news.
Writer: Cindy Badger