Kelley Team Competes In Annual General Motors Case Competition

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Supply chain management majors Aaron Buchanan, Samantha Bredhold, and Tessa Kulhawick, along with accounting and finance major Courtland Jackson, were among 80 students from 20 schools who competed in the fourth-annual supply chain case competition sponsored by General Motors.

The case was designed to introduce students to the issues and challenges involved in producing leading technology vehicles. Teams analyzed a “request for quote” on consoles containing a new wireless charging module component that will be a standard feature on the 2015 Cadillac ATS Couple and optional on the 2015 Chevrolet Sonic.

“The case was very challenging,” said Bredhold. “It was heavily focused on supply chain and finance, but also presented a few other challenges such as risk assessment and competitive assessment.”

The case was delivered to the team in early September and they had approximately 25 days to analyze it and prepare their presentation. They estimated that they spent 25 to 30 hours working both individually and as a team preparing the case before departing Indianapolis.

Once they reached Detroit, the 20 teams were divided into five groups, with the Kelley team competing against Ohio State, Northern Iowa, and Western Michigan in the preliminary round. Despite what senior lecturer in operations management Mark Ippolito called “a very credible presentation,” the Kelley group did not advance to the final round from the group.

“(Professor) Peggy (Daniels Lee) and I are still scratching our heads about that,” said Ippolito, who accompanied the group to Detroit with Lee. “Tim Butler, one of the Wayne State faculty, was very complimentary (of their presentation).”

“We were very disappointed not to make the finals,” said Buchanan. “But overall we learned a lot from the case and competition. It was an honor to be chosen to represent Kelley.”

Added Bredhold, “I was very excited and honored to be chosen to represent Kelley at this competition and wish I had the chance to go again next year.”

Other than the disappointment of not advancing into the final round, the weekend still proved to be an invaluable experience for the competitors. In addition to numerous social activities and panel presentations on supply chain logistics and automotive purchasing, the group was given several opportunities to network with executives from GM and its suppliers.

“The weekend was well organized and the events we were able to attend were a lot of fun,” said Jackson, who is a member of the IUPUI Honors College and Kelley Honors Program. “General Motors and Wayne State University were great hosts and we got the opportunity to tour GM's Orion Small Car Assembly Plant, play Bocce ball – which apparently is a Michigan tradition – and took a riverboat cruise on the Princess passing into Canadian waters.”

With Detroit behind them, the foursome now looks ahead to February, when they’ll team up again for the 2015 APICS Great Lakes Regional Case Competition. Buchanan, Bredhold, and Kulhawick were part of a team that competed at the 2014 event.

“Working with the same team from competition to competition definitely helps us understand our preferences and strengths when it comes time to divide the work,” said Buchanan.

In November, Buchanan and Jackson will join forces with Nick Mosier and Stephen Clyde to represent the Kelley Indy campus during a case competition that will feature four teams from Purdue’s Krannert School of Business and three teams from Kelley Bloomington.

“We have put together a solid team,” Jackson said. “I am confident that we can bring home the grand prize.”