UA business students win national logistics competition

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 95 views 

Four students from the Sam M. Walton College of Business won top prize at the Intermodal Association of North America Logistics & Supply Chain Management Undergraduate case competition in Jacksonville, Fla.

The eight contending teams in the contest were presented with a case study one week prior to the event and asked to address the logistical issues raised in the example. When they arrived at the competition, the teams were given specific case questions and worked into the early morning hours to finish their presentation documents.

"At the opening dinner we were given a list of questions and a 'curve ball' that required additional analysis," said team member Kristie Spielmaker, a senior studying international business, transportation and logistics. "We were up working on the case until 3 a.m. and then up again at 6:30 a.m."

The next day, functioning on little-to-no sleep, the teams presented their findings to a set of judges representing a broad cross-section of industries. Each presentation lasted 20 minutes and was followed up with a 10-minute question and answer session. The judges deliberated  for one hour and the winning team was announced at an awards dinner that evening.

"Our team had a great dynamic," Spielmaker said. "We really gelled as a group and we were able to analyze the case thoroughly. Every member of the team has industry experience through either internships or jobs. We were all able to pull on what we had learned in the industry to address some of the issues in the case."

Christian Hofer, assistant professor in the department of supply chain management, was the faculty sponsor of the team. He says that this particular case study played to the strengths of his team.

"The students were able to leverage their understanding of the retail business and their knowledge in the areas of transportation, logistics
 and supply chain management to propose innovative and financially and managerially sound solutions to the case study," Hofer said. "The
 judges particularly appreciated the clarity of the students' strategy and that it comprised both short-term and long-term elements."

The University of Arkansas team competed against students from the University of Maryland, Michigan State University, University of Tennessee,
 University of North Florida, Auburn University, University of North Texas and Georgia Southern University.