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MBA Case Competition and Round Table Focus on Supply Chain

On February 20-21, the Penn State Smeal MBA Program hosted the second and final round of the Deloitte Supply Chain MBA Challenge—a case competition sponsored by Deloitte Consulting LLP. After the awards presentation, faculty members from the participating schools and Deloitte Consulting leaders participated in a round table discussion on the future of supply chain education.
March 14, 2014

On February 20-21, the Penn State Smeal MBA Program hosted the second and final round of the Deloitte Supply Chain MBA Challenge—a case competition sponsored by Deloitte Consulting LLP. After the awards presentation, faculty members from the participating schools and Deloitte Consulting leaders participated in a round table discussion on the future of supply chain education.

The round table discussion included Deloitte Consulting representatives Allan Krul, principal, and Amish Thakker, senior manager. Other participants included Doug Thomas, Penn State Smeal MBA faculty director, and faculty representatives from the attending schools: Mary Holcomb, associate professor of logistics at the University of Tennessee; Alan Scheller-Wolf, professor of operations management at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business; and Mike Knemeyer, associate professor of logistics at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business.

"The faculty members provided us with good insights on developing supply chain talent. It was clear that they were committed to enhancing their curricula in line with the evolving challenges in industry."

The panel convened to discuss what is perceived to be a growing gap between available talent in the supply chain field and its industry needs. Discussion points included best practices for building relationships among recruiters and academic institutions, as well as new programs and formats used by institutions to address gaps in talent.

The team from Carnegie Mellon finished first in the case competition while the team from Tennessee earned second.

Deloitte Consulting leaders Allan Krul, Sudhir Menon and Amish Thakker judged the final presentations. The case was based on a situation at Crocs in the late 2000s after the company’s stock declined. Participating teams were asked to present on how they proposed to cut costs or expand product lines.

“The Deloitte Supply Chain MBA Challenge was a huge success.  We had the exciting opportunity to work hand in hand with a number of talented Supply Chain MBA students and senior faculty from some of our target supply chain programs. The students handled changing scenarios and tight timelines very well and developed thoughtful, actionable recommendations that addressed an end-to-end business challenge. The faculty members provided us with good insights on developing supply chain talent. It was clear that they were committed to enhancing their curricula in line with the evolving challenges in industry,” offered members of the Deloitte Consulting Team.

They also added, “Penn State provided support by hosting the competition and helping us manage the event. We were very impressed by the performance of all the teams and look forward to further expanding the Deloitte Supply Chain MBA Challenge competition next year.”

“Finalist teams from the four schools pitched their ideas, which ranged from establishing a well-structured supply chain planning process, closing or relocating manufacturing capacity, changing contractual relationships with suppliers and contract manufacturers, and expanding into new product lines,” said Thomas.

Penn State Smeal MBA Program alumnus Jeff Lasher ‘92g, currently the chief financial officer at Crocs, will connect with participating students later this month to provide feedback on the students’ ideas and share the course the company took since the time of the case.

About Supply Chain Education at Penn State
Smeal’s No. 1 supply chain program offers a comprehensive suite of supply chain education, beginning at the undergraduate level with a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain and Information Systems. In conjunction with Penn State's World Campus, students can earn a Master of Professional Studies in Supply Chain Management. The Penn State Smeal MBA Program offers a concentration in supply chain management, and the college also offers a Ph.D. in supply chain. Smeal’s Center for Supply Chain Research and Penn State Executive Programs offer certificate programs in supply chain management and supply chain leadership.

About the Penn State Smeal MBA Program
The internationally ranked residential Penn State Smeal MBA Program positions students from around the world for their future careers. The two-year program, based on the University Park campus, begins with a focus on business fundamentals. Through summer internships with top companies and concentration opportunities in areas such as finance, marketing, and supply chain management, students then personalize their Smeal MBA experiences to align with their career aspirations. Learn more at www.smeal.psu.edu/mba.

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