Logistics, Business & Public Policy

Case Competition FAQ

What is a case competition?

A case competition is an event in which teams of students have the opportunity to examine real-life business problems and present their solutions and ideas to a panel of corporate executives and business leaders. All teams will be given the same case and the team will make create a presentation on why their solution is the best. The panel will judge the recommendations on aspects like feasibility, creativity, completeness, etc.

Why should I participate in a case competition?

There are multitudes of reasons for why you should participate in a case competition! Here are a few reasons:

  • Experience: These competitions provide the most hands-on, realistic simulations of what it would be like to work in the supply chain industry. There will be opportunities to analyze and make recommendations on real-life strategic issues just like real business professional. You will also be able to practice leadership skills in a team environment. The case competition can also help you realize if the supply chain industry is something you want to be a part of.
  • Networking: There are many opportunities to meet and interact with various representatives from many great companies. In addition, there will be top supply chain students from other schools that you can meet too.
  • Confidence and Resume Booster: Amazing the judges and winning a case competition increases your confidence in your own skills, which can help you present yourself better in an interview. You will also be able to present the case competition as an impressive experience on your resume and as a talking point in interviews.
  • Application of Skills: get the opportunity to apply the skills you have learned in the classroom to real world experiences
  • Stronger Classmate Relationships: You will be on a team with 3-4 other Smith Supply Chain Management students. After spending a few days together and working hard through the case problem, you will have a much stronger relationship with your team! These bonds will stay with you even after the competition.
  • Stronger Communication Skills: You will have the experience of presenting to business managers, answering questions under pressure, and receiving feedback about your team’s ideas in relationship with real world expectations.
  • Travel: With your travel expenses paid by the department, you will be able to travel to a different place for free!
  • Prizes: Many case competitions do offer monetary prizes in addition to bragging rights!

When and where do case competitions take place?

Case competitions take place throughout the school year and all over the country!

Do I have to pay to join the case competition?

No, the Supply Chain department will cover your travel expenses during the case competition.

How are case competition team formed?

Please email your resume to Dianne Fox (dfox@rhsmith.umd.edu) and let her know which case competition you are interested in participating in. Dianne will gather the candidates and then decisions will be made on which candidates will be a part of the team.

Will I be missing class?

Most case competitions do happen throughout the school week, therefore there is a high chance that you will be missing class. The case competition is an excused absence, however you must let your professor know before hand and make sure you make up the work.

Can a case competition help me get an internship or job?

Absolutely! Doing a case competition is a great resume booster and does help you stand out when competing for a job. You can also use your participation in a case competition as examples for interview questions like the following: “When was a time you had to work in a team”, “When was a time you had to work under pressure”, “Describe a time when you made a process improvement or recommendation”, etc. Also, at the case competition you will have the opportunity to interact with the companies that are sponsoring the competition. The competition sponsors are there to help with the case competition, in addition to looking for possible candidates for positions at their companies.

How do I prepare for a case competition? 

Meeting up with team members before the competition is crucial. The case competition advisor will give you further instructions on how to prepare with your group as the competition approaches. 

Supply Chain Case Competitions


Case competitions allow students the opportunity to demonstrate and develop their communication and collaboration skills and to strategize business challenges in real time.  Information about annual supply chain case competitions are below. If you are confused on what a case competition is please read the FAQ. 

Name: Rutgers' Ten Plus Supply Chain Case Dual Challenge

Date: March 26-28, 2015

Location: Rutgers University - New Brunswick, New Jersey

Website: TBA

Participant Requirement: Undergraduate Supply Chain Management Major

Information: The purpose of this event is to bring together teams from BIG10 Universities and other competitive Universities to participate in a competitive supply chain case challenge. The competition will consist of a preliminary round and a final round. In each challenge, there are two tracks in the preliminary round and a final round. Prizes include $3,000 for the first place, $1,500 for the second place, and $500 for the best presentation award. The competition will also feature a recruiting event with members of the corporate sponsor board.


Name: 3rd Annual National Undergraduate Supply Chain and Operations Case Competition

Date: TBA (Previous Year – April 2-5, 2014)

Location: University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Website: http://carlsonschool.umn.edu/departments/supply-chain-and-operations-department/events/case-competition

Participant Requirement: Undergraduate Supply Chain Management or Operations Management Major

Information: The purpose of the competition is to provide a unique learning opportunity for undergraduate students while raising awareness of the areas of supply chain and operations as both a field of study and as a potential career path. The competition includes cash prizes totaling $7,500. The competition brings together eleven of the top undergraduate supply chain and operations programs in the country. Teams of four undergraduate students compete in a 24-hour business case with presentations to judges’ panels consisting of business professionals from the corporate sponsors.

Review: "To represent the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Minnesota case competition is one of the best decisions I have made as a student. It was a unique opportunity to learn about 3M's supply chain operations, product innovations and market challenges. This opportunity allowed me to expand my network with other top business students, and high level company executives. The competition was challenging, with only 24 hours to read, analyze, solve and present. Only through team work, and collaboration were we able to create a competitive presentation that eventually placed us in 4th place among 16 competing schools. Certainly, this experience is a topic of conversation at all my interviews, where employers are looking for individuals who are highly involved, collaborative and seek to challenge themselves" -Marcos Moya, Supply Chain and Operations Management Major, 2014


Name: 7th Annual IANA Logistics and Supply Chain Management Case Competition

Date: TBA (Previous Year – April 10-12, 2014)

Location: TBA (Previous Year – University of North Florida - Jacksonville, Florida)

Website: http://www.unf.edu/coggin/trans_logist

Participant Requirement: Undergraduate Supply Chain Management Major

Information: Eight Universities compete in the annual case competition that is judged by a group of business professionals from the industry. After the competition there is a tour an industry building, in addition to networking events. The 2014 case involved a total cost analysis of a global supply chain in which a mix of products were being shipped out of Southeast Asia to a retail distribution center in the Midwest. Students worked with products of different sizes and weights, calculated the best container configurations given the demand patterns for the products, and determined modal choices and routes. They took into account supply disruptions such as port strikes and other events that could delay delivery of the goods to market.

Review: “I had a great experience doing the case competition at UNF! Not only did I learn more about intermodal transportation and grew my professional network, I became friends with people from all over the country. I even met up with two other people this summer in Chicago because we were all there for our internships, and it was pretty awesome to connect with them again. I definitely recommend doing a case competition!” – Cindy Liu, Supply Chain Management and Information Systems Major, 2016


Name: IANA 5th Annual Intermodal Challenge

Date: September 20-22, 2015

Location: Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center – Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Website: http://www.intermodal.org/

Participant Requirement: Undergraduate Supply Chain Management Major in the Supply Chain Fellows Program

Information: The annual student competition is a fundamental part of IANA’s Scholarship Program which continues to be an effective tool in attracting and educating the next generation of intermodal transportation leaders. The IANA case competition provides a tremendous opportunity for students to apply their classroom and internship experience to an intermodal problem in a competitive environment

Review: "Working with a team for a case competition tests your supply chain knowledge as well as your creativity in problem solving. One of the most interesting parts of a case competition is to see the differences in how other teams approached the problem" -Christine Kaiser, Supply Chain Management and Information Systems Major, 2015

Name: General Motors & Wayne State University School of Business Supply Chain Case Competition

Date: TBA (Previous Year – October 2-5, 2014)

Location: Wayne State University – Detroit, Michigan

Website: http://business.wayne.edu/supply-chain-case-competition.php

Participant Requirement: Undergraduate Supply Chain Management Major

Information: The student competitors will be presented with the challenge of procuring advanced technology components while considering global business issues at play, like logistics costs, sustainability and more. Students will experience the City of Detroit, the auto industry and its high-tech vehicles, and the supply chain systems that support the industry. They'll also have a chance to showcase their skills in front of leading auto companies and build their professional networks. Tours and networking events happen throughout the competition too.

Review: "We assumed the role of a GM buyer for the case competition. We got real world experience of some of the issues supply chain professionals face on a day to day basis. In addition, I also got the opportunity to network with GM executives and their top-tier suppliers. I interviewed for an internship position toward the end of the case competition and tour GM's assembly plant. It was an amazing experience and I would encourage other students to participate in a case competition." -Ganiyat Lawal, Supply Chain Management and Information Systems Major, 2016



Name: Sam Walton College of Business International Graduate Logistics Case Competition

Date: March 5-7 2015

Location: University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, AR

Website: http://scmr.uark.edu/gradcase.asp

Participant Requirement: Graduate Supply Chain Management Major

Information: This event brings graduate students together from top universities studying Logistics and Supply Chain Management. Teams of 5-6 members compete for prestige, cash prizes, and tremendous opportunities to network with fellow students and industry professionals.


Undergraduate Supply Chain Fellows

The Supply Chain Management Fellows Program offers students a unique opportunity for learning both within the Smith School and with external Supply Chain professionals. As part of a top-ranked program, students have the opportunity to take core classes together, participate as leaders in the Supply Chain Society, visit regional facilities and operations, sign up for a class that explores international or North American processes, and network at local and annual meetings of leading industry professional organizations. By combining classroom learning with networking opportunities in the professional community, Supply Chain Fellows can take advantage of a unique opportunity to build knowledge of the profession and create a foundation for a networked career.

Dr. Tom Corsi is the Faculty Champion for this program.

Curriculum - One-year program

  • BMGT471F (Formerly BMGT 488L; Executive Seminar in Logistics, Transportation and Supply Chain Management I)  - Fall
  • BMGT499C (Executive Seminar in Logistics) OR Participation in a semester-long co-op - Spring

Pre-requisites:Applicants should enroll in BMGT370 and BMGT372 junior year; rising juniors and transfer students may be considered if they have taken both BMGT370 and BMGT372  or will complete both courses by the end of their fall semester junior year.

Students who apply for and are selected to participate in a co-op during their spring semester must submit a copy of their position description to Emily Doane Heavin (edoane@rhsmith.umd.edu) in order to be credited with completing Supply Chain Fellows.

Co-curricular activities/events

Activities of Fellows include (all activities are fully funded and require no expenditures on the student’s part):

  • Required trip to the annual Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) conference in the fall.  The Intermodal Expo will be held in Long Beach, CA September 21-23.  The Intermodal Expo is a showcase for all leading third party logistics providers, transportation carriers, and vendors supplying technology and equipment to the various service providers. The Expo provides students with an opportunity to see demonstrations in the latest software applications and technology that support efficiency improvements in intermodal transportation as well as meeting industry leaders of the Intermodal Association of North America.  Attendance at the Expo is woven into the syllabus for BMGT471 as students fulfill course requirements through assigned activities at the Expo.  Students unable to participate in this trip will complete alternative assignments as part of their BMGT471 course requirements.
  • A minimum of one plant visit in each semester.  Previous plant visits have included Amtrak facilities in Wilmington and Target Warehouse facilities in Pennsylvania.
  • Opportunities to network with transportation, logistics, and supply chain management professionals who lead class sessions in both BMGT471 and in BMGT499C.
  • Fellows assist in the planning and implementation of the annual Supply Chain Management Career Day and Alumni Day.
  • Optional summer internships opportunities.

Fellows Application Eligibility

  • Supply Chain majors.
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  • Rising seniors - juniors may apply if BMGT370 and BMGT372 have been completed by end of fall semester junior year. Active participation in the Supply Chain Management Society is a plus in applying to the program.

Application & Selection Process

The Supply Chain Fellows cohort for 2014-2015 is full. Applications will open January 5, 2015 for participation in Fellows for 2015-2016.

Questions? Contact Emily Doane Heavin (edoane@rhsmith.umd.edu).

Student Organizations

Undergraduate: Supply Chain Management Society

Website: http://www.umdscms.com

The Supply Chain Management Society (SCMS) is a student-run undergraduate organization that promotes the supply chain management program. The SCMS is responsible for hosting companies and guest speakers in the logistics, transportation, and/or supply chain fields. The SCMS also organizes and hosts the annual Supply Chain Industry Day, an event that includes a Supply Chain Management Person of the Year award and presentation, as well as a supply chain student/recruiter luncheon followed by a supply chain focused career fair. 


Graduate: Supply Chain and Operations Club

Website: http://clubs.rhsmith.umd.edu/scoc

The Supply Chain and Operations Club (SCOC) aims to create a sense of community between MBA students, faculty, alumni and operations, logistics and supply chain management professionals. Through a variety of activities and events, the club aims to further educate its members about operations, logistics and supply chain management. The SCOC also creates more opportunities for students and helps to increase its awareness at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. 


UMD-Smith Experts Comment on Ebola Social Media, Supply Chain Implications

Officials are applying social media, such as the CDC Emergency Twitter handle, to disseminate Ebola-related information and using wireless networks to track and predict outbreak patterns and locate individuals exposed to the virus. Companies concurrently are monitoring for threats to their supply chains, such as the Ivory Coast cocoa supply.

Student Involvement


“I majored in supply chain because I love solving problems. I believe the future of business relies on the capabilities of a huge network of qualified supply chain and logistics experts. ” 

- Alexander Matov, 2007 graduate   

There are many opportunities to get involved in Supply Chain Management at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Students have the opportunities to join organizations dedicated to the major, be apart of the unique fellows program, and compete in case competitions. For more information about these opportunities please see the following:


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