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K-State Today

November 17, 2021

K-State business students reach finals in General Motors Supply Chain Case Competition

Submitted by Haley Ahlers

K-State's Case Competition team

Five students from K-State's College of Business Administration recently participated in the General Motors/Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business Supply Chain Case Competition in Detroit. The event matched supply chain students from 18 universities around the nation. The K-State team was one of four teams that advanced to the finals, competing with a trio of teams from Michigan: Michigan State University, host Wayne State University and Western Michigan University.

Written by General Motors, the case focused on choosing suppliers and logistics for the battery tray of GM's electric vehicle line, including the Hummer EV and BrightDrop EV600. Each team had six weeks to prepare and present a solution that balanced cost, quality and supplier relationships. Teams that made it to the finals were given an additional "twist" in the case where a key steel supplier was unable to completely fulfill forecasted demand and teams were asked to decide which products should be prioritized. Teams then presented their proposal to GM executives/judges.

The competition included multiple networking opportunities and opportunities to see the downtown district.

"The competition provided me with an opportunity to apply my education beyond the classroom," said Will Chamberlain, a senior accounting and organizational management major, Prairie Village. "It was a positive experience getting a look at this facet of the supply chain from the standpoint of the corporate world while networking with dozens of other students and industry professionals." 

The event also included a dedicated career fair with General Motors recruiters and other competition sponsors, Bose, Ryder, Denso, AIAG, AGC and Lear Corporation.

Sam Cox, a fourth-year accounting major, Hutchinson, said, "If you have any interest in the automotive industry, this is a great foot in the door. We aren't here forever. This leap of faith to participate was definitely worth it to network with others and improve my resume for future career opportunities."

Alternate team member Brooke Younger, a sophomore supply chain major, Limon, Colorado, helped with case preparation leading up to the trip.

"The competition was great exposure to the extensive detail and calculations necessary for success in any supply chain operation," she said. "I was able to learn from each team member as they brought different skills and knowledge from their own classes and experiences to solve the case in the best possible way. I really enjoyed working with this team, and I hope to compete in Detroit next year."

Brian Blood, a junior in industrial engineering, Roeland Park, said, "As an industrial engineer, it was amazing to look at a supply chain problem from a different perspective than I typically do, but also apply an engineering perspective to the problems we faced. Being able to work on a diverse team with students from the College of Business enabled us to learn from each other, tackle the problems effectively, and really stand out from the competition."

Faculty trip advisor and College of Business Administration instructor Dan Minick said, "It's been rewarding to see some of the things that I do in class actually click with students and see each of them apply that learning."

Other participants included Julianna Alaman, senior in supply chain management, Olathe, and Brandon Savage, faculty trip advisor and College of Business Administration instructor.

Learn more about the K-State Global Supply Chain Club