Scott College of Business students take fourth at APICS competition

April 22, 2014

With nothing but adrenaline keeping students awake, they successfully developed investment solutions for their "Dazz Manufacturing Company" case study in the APICS, Association for Operations Management, Competition held in Chicago.

The 19th Annual Great Lakes District Student Case Competition was held in Downers Grove, Ill. Twenty-one student teams representing 18 universities participated, including Indiana State University, which was represented by two student teams that placed fourth ahead of universities like University of Indianapolis, Kelley School of Business, and University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign.

"This is the best rank that Indiana State University has achieved in this competition in the past few years, and I am hopeful that a better result is right round the corner as we prepare our next batch of contestants for spring 2015," said Dr. Kuntal Bhattacharyya, assistant professor in the Department of Marketing and Operations at Indiana State.

Before the actual case competition, Anna Krutik, graduate student in business administration from Yurga, Syberia, said students had a mock competition.

"So, basically, when we had the mock case we already knew who is good at what... We met after [the mock case] and kind of divided our responsibilities before Chicago so we knew who was going to present, who was going to do calculations, [and who] is going to check the calculations," she said.

After students arrived at the Doubletree Suites in Chicago, they met in the ballroom where the APICS organization went over what students could expect during the competition. They were then given their case study at 7:30 p.m. and were allowed to split up into their two groups of seven to begin strategizing their solutions. "We had a time table set up of where we wanted to go in the night," said David Deisher, a senior in operations and supply management from Marshall, Ill.

The "Dazz Manufacturing Company" case required students to contemplate whether the company's plant manager should rebuild the production processes for a lower price or purchase a new unit equipped with newer technology. After teams distributed work among their group members, relying on each individual's strengths, they had to prepare a six-page paper and five-minute presentation explaining to a panel of judges why they chose the investment route that they did.

The students who competed spent nearly their entire night after 7:30 p.m. calculating information for the case study until they began presentations the next morning at 10:30.

"My team slept for maybe 45 minutes," Deisher said. "I was kind of apprehensive at about 5:30 in the morning on how we were going to do because we spent way too much time analyzing it going over numbers and stuff."

"We need[ed] a little bit of sleep at least," Krutik said, "But even when I went to bed I couldn't sleep because I was so excited."Krutik was especially eager to compete in this year's APICS Competition. She had to forgo competing in a competition while she was living in Moscow due to lack of team members. Applying future career skills in an opportunity like this was one of Krutik's biggest excitements.

"For any student this is real experience because it's not just reading books or doing calculations, it's also getting involved into real business," Krutik said. "It's also a great time [to] make friends. You can meet other people and you can see how [your university compares to] other universities."This was the first time Bhattacharyya accompanied the students to the competition as faculty advisor of the APICS ISU Student Chapter.

"It was a gratifying experience watching the students put their learning to action. It was a grueling 15-hour competition, to say the least," he said. "Our students represented themselves and the university very well. When they go through these real life simulations of business problems-at-large and work within a time constraint towards a viable goal, they also manifest a certain level of resilience, meticulous approach, and patience that they often do not get a chance to showcase in a traditional classroom setting. Most importantly, the students take pride in their ability to cope with the pressure and deliver the results - that takeaway is priceless for them as they prepare for a career in supply management."

Both Indiana State teams decided that Dazz should invest in purchasing a new unit. The solution tied both teams in fourth place for the competition. Krutik and Deisher both agreed that they were proud of their teams' accomplishments, this year being Indiana State's highest award for APICS.

"It was a really [mentally] stressful experience," Deisher said. "A lot of brain work [was put] into it. I felt really good about how both teams did [and] I felt like we stacked up pretty well against these others schools that are [larger]."

"I would recommend participating in such competitions more and more," Krutik said. "[The] mock case competition was actually a great experience and [it] prepared us for the real case competition... I think even next year the teams will reach higher levels that we did. I hope so."

Writer: Sadie All, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or sall@sycamores.indstate.ed