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Supply chain students take home first place

Supply chain students take home first place

Quinlan supply chain students hold their first place awards from the APICS-Chicago Business Case Competition. Team members are (from left) team captain Hongzhe Zhang, Hussam Bachour, Nonyelu Chukwuogo, Samuel Mulroe, and Lu Chang.

Update: We're going to the international competition!

Quinlan supply chain students qualified to compete in the 2017 APICS International Student Case Competition, following first place finishes at both the APICS-Chicago and APICS Great Lakes District business case competitions.

The article below describes their top finish at the APICS-Chicago Business Case Competition in late 2016.

By Adriana Geday  |  Student reporter

A team of five graduate and undergraduate Quinlan students finished in first place at the annual APICS-Chicago Business Case Competition, which explores how businesses can drive overall improvement through supply chain management.

Six local universities formed teams, but only three schools—Loyola Quinlan, Northern Illinois University, and Illinois Institute of Technology—completed the three rounds of competition, which were based on The Fresh Connection, a cross-functional business simulation.

In October 2016, the three finalist schools competed in the final round at the APICS national headquarters in Chicago. The teams had one hour to complete the final simulation and make a presentation covering assumptions and actions. A panel of supply chain experts then judged their presentations.

“Winning first place in this competition against a strong field of Chicago-area universities shines a light on the caliber of Quinlan students and our programs,” says Professor Michael Hewitt, who guided the team throughout the process. “First and foremost, the team won because of their tremendous work ethic and combination of analytical and communication skills. I also believe our educational curriculum played a big role in preparing them for success in this competition.”

A Learning Process

Quinlan’s team has competed in APICS case competitions since 2015, finishing first at the regional competition in 2015 against more than 20 teams and fourth in a regional completion in early 2016. Motivated to do even better this fall, the team buckled down during its preparations for the APICS-Chicago Business Case Competition.

“We worked directly with Professors Michael Hewitt and Maciek Nowak, discussing strategies, guidelines, and applying theories that we learned in class,” says Hussam Bachour, a graduate student who recently completed his master’s degree in supply chain management. “They served as a fresh set of eyes and guided us to consider specific aspects we were overlooking.”

Bachour continues, “The competition simulates real life, like a real company, so you have these decisions you have to make regarding regulations, inventory, and purchasing that will potentially affect your company. We stayed up late nights discussing our final decision and it paid off.”

A Rewarding Experience

The students attribute their success to teamwork, cooperation throughout the competition, and their ability to work in unison.

“I see huge progress from the last competition to this one—everybody worked together as entrepreneurs and we were cohesive,” says Hongzhe Zhang, graduate student and president of Loyola’s student chapter of APICS. “Every individual demonstrated dedication and devotion to this case and committed as much time as needed. In the end, we took home the first place and created an invaluable bond amongst the team.”

Bachour adds, “Our team members have a passion for the topic. Overall, we wanted to positively represent Quinlan and make Loyola proud.”

Heading to the Regional Competition

Four of the students from the winning team are set to compete in the APICS Great Lakes District Business Case Competition in February 2017. Bachour, who recently graduated, will now serve as the team coach.