A team of Smith MBAs placed third this past weekend in the 2004 International Graduate Logistics Case Competition in Chicago, Illinois. The team, comprised of Jeremy Gove, Muthu Venkatachalam, Bruce Chiang, Larry Legates, and Silvana Muguerza, won in the first round before falling short in a hard-fought final round.
The competition ran from Feb. 19 to Feb. 21, with the final round and award presentation on Feb. 21. The students received the case at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 20 and had 24 hours to compile their solutions and presentation. The first round of presentations began on Saturday morning with the final round in the afternoon. The winners were announced at the closing dinner.
This year's case asked teams to analyze the performance of Tricon Logistics China's distribution center. Tricon Logistics China is the logistics department of Tricon Restaurants International (China).
"Our strategy was to invest the time early to really analyze and understand the problem at hand before we dove into our problem solving exercise," said Gove. "From there, we developed alternative recommendations, picked our top five (three final recommendations, and two alternatives considered), split up the work, and then spent the rest of our time developing those alternatives and the associated benefit from pursing those option."
A critical part of the team's strategy was to designate one person as the owner of the presentation from the start in an attempt to keep team members on schedule and make sure that the outcome was one cohesive, persuasive solution, said Gove. "It was a great time and the team really came together to deliver a great set of recommendations," he added.
Smith was highly competitive, producing a presentation that was capable of winning the entire competition, said Angelisa Gillyard, faculty advisor and assistant professor of logistics, business and public policy. "They performed extremely well, finishing ahead of a number of schools known historically for their excellent logistics programs," said Gillyard.
First and second places were awarded to the University of Wisconsin and the University of Minnesota, respectively. The Smith team received $750 for third place. Last year the Smith team tied for third place in the competition. In 1998, the first year the competition was held (at the University of Tennessee), Smith won the event. The following year, the Smith team came in second.