ISM students place second at international case competition

Contact: Stacey Markin
Photo of WMU's four-member student case competition team.

From left: Hayward, Clark, Barney and Poppema.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A team of students enrolled in Western Michigan University's integrated supply management program finished second at the General Motors/Wayne State University Supply Chain Case Competition held Sept. 28 to Oct. 1 in Detroit. This marks the first time a WMU team has placed in the annual competition that matches up some of the best and brightest supply chain students from universities around the world.

Members of the team are senior Andrew Barney of Kalamazoo, junior Celina Clark of Dexter, sophomore John Hayward of Portage and senior Zach Poppema of Holland. WMU's group was one of 21 participating teams and finished ahead of the other Michigan schools that competed—Michigan State University, Wayne State University and Grand Valley State University. The overall competition winner was a team from Brazil's Fundação Getulio Vargas.

GM employees develop the cases to present students with challenging business situations that address current industry topics. This year's competition tasked students with procuring advanced technology components while considering the  global business issues at play, like logistics costs and sustainability.

"Presenting in front of GM employees who are familiar with the case can be a bit daunting, but our students used what they learned in the classroom and through experiential learning to refine their recommendations and then presented the results effectively," says Dr. Bret Wagner, associate professor of management. "Everyone involved was impressed with how well the WMU students did in the competition. They have great futures, and we are very proud of them."

The students were well prepared since the WMU ISM program includes more supply-chain-specific coursework than other well-known programs.

"We were able to apply what we've learned and avoid all the pitfalls built into the case to challenge students," says Poppema. "Using a creative mindset and outside-the-box thinking to solve the supply chain issue really helped us develop solid recommendations."

WMU's ISM Program 

Ranked in the top 10 nationally, WMU's ISM program is recognized by several organizations and publications for its leadership in preparing students for careers in supply chain management. Its curriculum combines engineering, information technology, logistics, supply chain and business education.

The program also requires internships and includes Bronco Force transformation teams, which give students additional hands-on experience addressing supply chain challenges. The WMU Center for Integrated Supply Management was established in 2014 and is housed in the Haworth College of Business.

Competition participants

  • Bowling Green State University
  • Chang Gung University (Taiwan)
  • Colorado State University
  • Fundação Getulio Vargas (Brazil)
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Indiana University Bloomington
  • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
  • International University of Logistics and Transport in Wroclaw (Poland)
  • Miami University
  • Michigan State University
  • The Ohio State University
  • Rutgers University
  • Tecnológico de Monterrey, State of Mexico Campus (Mexico)
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of Northern Iowa
  • University of Toledo
  • Wayne State University
  • Weber State University
  • West Virginia University
  • Western Michigan University
  • Wuhan University (China)

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