WMU student team places third in supply chain challenge

Contact: Cindy Wagner
Campbell, Patterson, Tirtadihardia, Wagner.

Campbell, Patterson, Tirtadihardia, Wagner

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A team of Western Michigan University integrated supply management students placed third in the 2016 Bowersox Supply Challenge, marking the University's first placement in the competition that annually brings together teams from around the country.

Competing in the eighth annual challenge among 13 teams from other top programs in Arkansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin were WMU undergraduate students Erika Campbell, of Brownstone Township; Courtney Patterson, of Romulus; and Christopher Tirtadihardja, from Indonesia. The event was hosted by Michigan State University.

Impressive performance

"To finish in the top half of student teams, given the quality of the competition, is significant," says Dr. Bret Wagner, WMU associate professor of management and advisor to the team. "To place in the top three is impressive. Our students have a good mix of theory and practice in their curriculum and good internship experiences, which helped them to perform well."

The event has teams address a supply chain challenge using a business simulation to run a business process. Students are introduced to the simulation on a Thursday afternoon, and only have Thursday evening to become familiar with it. On Friday morning, they are given a new scenario with some significant additions that increase the complexity. They must then develop a revised strategy and execute it in a short period of time with their performance scored.

"Our coursework definitely prepared us for this simulation," says Patterson. "In Western's ISM program, students are required to take a course called production, management and control. In this class we work via simulation to understand supply chain inputs and outputs."

Participating schools

  • Central Michigan University
  • Duquesne (Pennsylvania) University
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Miami (Ohio) University
  • Michigan State University
  • Northeastern University
  •     Ohio State University
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Wayne State University
  • West Virginia University
  • Western Michigan University

"It is incredible that WMU provides us with opportunities to participate in events like this. Getting the opportunity to meet students and faculty of other universities is just amazing," adds Patterson.

WMU's ISM program

Ranked in the top 10 nationally, WMU's ISM program has been recognized by several organizations and publications for its leadership in preparing students for careers in supply chain management. WMU's curriculum combines engineering, information technology, logistics, supply chain and business education. The program also requires internships and includes Bronco Force consulting teams, which give students additional hands-on experience in supply chain challenges. The WMU Center for Integrated Supply Management was established in 2014 by the Haworth College of Business.

For more information about the program, visit wmich.edu/supplychain.

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.