The National Undergraduate Supply Chain Case Competition is a premier event where supply chain students from 18 prestigious universities across the United States meet to test their supply chain management skills. The competition is managed and hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

At this year’s event on April 9–11, Broad supply chain management students Jeoffrey deSpelder, Kevin Wang, Alyssa Neamos and Jennifer Fealk represented Michigan State University and were awarded first place and a $4,000 grand prize.

Due to COVID-19, the competition was virtual, and all preparation and competition was done remotely. The team had 24 hours to prepare and worked hard to assess the case, define the problem(s), select analytical methods, synthesize their results and make recommendations.

“We are proud of this accomplishment of Alyssa, Jeff, Jenny and Kevin,” Vedat Verter, McConnell Endowed Chair of Business Administration and chairperson of the Department of Supply Chain Management, said. “This is a testament to their caliber as well as the strength of the training they received from the supply chain department and the Broad College at large.”

The case involved a very strategic insourcing/outsourcing decision a firm was facing as part of improving its performance. The team of Broad Spartans provided a comprehensive plan to insource and outsource various product components to optimize competitiveness and profitability while minimizing supply chain risks. They created a detailed total cost of ownership analysis to substantiate their financial projections and recommendations.

“This team is an exceptional group of undergraduate business students,” Michael Thibideau, fixed-term faculty of supply chain management and faculty advisor for the team, said. “Each member brought unique strengths and energy to form a team that punched over its weight class. Their work represents what I would expect from MBA students, and I’m so very proud of what they accomplished together.”

Judges appreciated the team’s attention to managing the complex set of risks accompanying their recommendations and their anticipating challenges of implementation. The team did an excellent job of aligning their recommendations to the firm’s business strategy.

According to Thibideau, “these four students represent future leaders in the field of supply chain management. They’ve proven their ability to reframe a situation from problem to opportunity and create viable plans to move the firm forward.”