WMU Home > About WMU > WMU News

WMU News

Business students take third in international competition

July 19, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Four Western Michigan University undergraduate business students recently took third place in a new international competition, beating many teams composed of graduate students.

The students are all enrolled in the WMU Integrated Supply Management Program. They competed in late June in the first International ERP Simulation Game. The contest is a competitive business simulation game created at HEC Montreal, Canada's first management school, using SAP's Enterprise Resource Planning--ERP--software as the interface. The software is used by a majority of Fortune 500 companies, including Kellogg Co. and Whirlpool, to operate their businesses. Officially known as HEC Montreal since 2002, the formal, full name of the school that held the inaugural event is Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales.

In the game, students use the SAP software to design, produce and market different brands of muesli cereal. The ERP simulation game creates a virtual marketplace where customers buy cereal from the team that has the combination of ingredients and price that best matches the virtual customer's preferences. The team that generates the most profit during the game is the winner.

Members of the WMU team are: Andrea Blankers of Portage, Mich., a member of the WMU Lee Honors College; Danielle Drabek of Canton, Mich.; Andrew Sarkipato of Kalamazoo; and Elizabeth Willyard of Grandville, Mich.

"It was really a great experience," says Drabek, an ISM senior, who is also an intern at Kellogg Co. "Once the game started, you forget that it's a game. It begins to seem very real. Our team worked very well together, and we were excited to be part of the very first international competition."

The WMU team competed against teams from HEC Montreal, the University of Arkansas, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Central Florida. Except for WMU, all teams consisted of MBA students. While the competition was conducted at HEC Montreal, most teams, including WMU's, competed online. A team from HEC Montreal finished first, while a joint HEC Montreal and University of Cincinnati team took second.

At HEC Montreal, a command center was set up in the school's atrium. From the command center, faculty and staff at HEC managed the competition. In addition, coaches for virtual teams operated from the command center. A number of faculty members from universities across the United States and Canada watched the competition. They were at HEC attending SAP training workshops.

"I'm extremely proud of the WMU team," says Dr. Bret Wagner, director of WMU's Integrated Supply Management Program. "The ERP Simulation game is very new, and only a few universities have been using it over the past year. I'm pleased that we have been able to make it part of our curriculum and to participate in this very first competition. Just competing was an honor, but coming in third place against teams of MBA students is really an accomplishment."

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400