Bauer MBA Groups Win First, Second and Third Place at APICS Event
Three teams of MBA students from the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston have swept the 2013 APICS West Coast Student Case Competition.
Led by Bauer Professor Gordon Smith, the Bauer teams won first, and second and third place in the competition’s graduate division — besting teams from Thunderbird School of Management, Hult International Business School, San Diego State University and The University of Texas at El Paso and significantly raising the profile of the college’s Supply Chain Management program. This was the first time a graduate MBA team from Bauer competed in an APICS Association of Operations Management competition.
“It was a great opportunity to show that Bauer College’s Supply Chain program stands above others, and we’re willing to show the rest of the world that,” Smith said.
The professor floated the idea of the case competition in the two sections of his fall 2012 Production and Operations Management Course and to the Supply Chain Forum, a graduate student group that Smith advises. The student response was overwhelming, and three teams signed up to compete in the Feb. 22-23 event in Phoenix.
The winning team — Mei Chen, Daniyal Inamullah, Marco Guzman, James Montague and Andrew Stephens — has been invited to participate at the 2013 APICS International Conference in Orlando, slated for Sept. 29 to Oct. 1. They will compete against winning teams from other APICS regional case competitions. These will include the Mid-Atlantic District winner, University of Delaware; the Northeast District winner, University of Massachusetts Amherst; the Great Lakes District winner, St. Cloud State University; and the APICS Canadian District winner, Seneca College.
Bauer’s second-place team consisted of Morgan Barsi, Jennifer Campbell, Zainab Hamidaddin, Thomas Locke and Christopher Manfredi. A third team— Owen Davies, Don Quigley, David Sardi and Claudia Serrano— finished third out of a total of 11 graduate teams. There were also 14 undergraduate teams, with the University of Portland taking first place honors.
The Bauer MBA students said the experience gave them invaluable networking opportunities, with both students and professionals, and tested their mettle for problem-solving in an intense, time-sensitive situation.
“It was a really exhausting weekend sandwiched in between two hectic weeks, but I’m so glad I did it,” said Barsi, a Houston attorney and Bauer MBA student. “I learned quite a bit about myself and really strengthened my connections with some of the people in our program. I also enjoyed the fact that we were able to show industry leaders that UH Bauer is an up-and-coming supply chain school.”
The competition was based on a real-world situation. A digital billboard manufacturing company from the Silicon Valley region sought recommendations for the allocation of $1 million for business operations. Students acted as a consulting organization and made recommendations on which activities to fund.
“I felt that the competition was a great way to compare the skills we’ve developed at Bauer to the other schools in our region,” Manfredi said. “While the case had some tough and interesting ways to tackle the issue, I felt our teams were well prepared. Overall, it was a great day to be a Cougar.”
Said Locke: “This was the first case competition for all of us and our output certainly spoke for itself. There was a clear separation between UH Bauer and the competition.”
Founded in 1957, APICS The Association for Operations Management is a not-for-profit international education organization that provides certification programs, training tools and networking opportunities to increase workplace performance.
The Houston chapter of APICS sponsored one UH team, and the other two teams were responsible for raising the money to pay for the trip.
Tish Patel, president of the APICS Houston Chapter, congratulated the Bauer students on their excellent showing. “This is truly a fantastic achievement,” she wrote in an email.
Many of the Bauer students want to compete again next year, Smith said. He’ll also be recruiting from the new crop of MBA students arriving next fall.
By Wendell Brock