UNIBusiness places 3rd in Denver case competition
Christine Schrage has coached around 50 teams in various competitions during her 21-year career at UNIBusiness. But she said the team she coached in this year’s Operation Stimulus competition may have been one of the strongest.
The four-person team of Adrienne Tebbe, Trisha Coberly, Ben Tschirgi and Spencer Wiley finished in third place at the Operation Stimulus competition, which took place from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 in Denver.
“The team was extremely professional and dedicated a lot of effort,” said Schrage, marketing and global trade instructor and adviser to the group. “It’s one of the strongest teams I’ve coaches.”
The case competition, hosted by the Denver Transportation Club in Colorado, has a history dating back to 1982. The competition brings in colleges from around the nation to innovate and solve logistics problems for fictional companies in an efficient and cost-effective manner. After putting together a plan, teams present in front of a panel of judges. Five finalists are chosen and have to present again given a twist to the case.
Teams included Syracuse University, the University of North Texas, Kansas State University, University of Wyoming, Georgia Southern, Miami University, Iowa State University, Texas Tech University and Wayne State University, the eventual winners.
Participating students received the case a couple weeks prior to the trip to Denver. Schrage, who has coached every UNI team but one in the 11 years the school has participated, held a “fed and focused” weekend session in her home to help the students prepare. All told, the team spent 50 hours in just a couple weeks before Operation Stimulus.
“I learned so much throughout the two weeks we worked on the case," Coberly said. "In the classroom we learn about concepts and how to approach different decisions but don’t often get to apply that knowledge in real-world situations. The case was a great opportunity for us to do that and also gave us insight as to the types of problems we might face in our future careers.”
The case forced students to create a supply chain strategy for a solar-related product that could be produced in one of several countries and sold in a variety of countries. India, China, the United States and Europe were all key considerations. Teams were forced to develop the best comprehensive solution, address customers, the company and the overall supply chain.
At the end of the competition, the students walked away with knowledge of a real-life supply chain scenario. And they also had the opportunity to network with supply chain professionals.
"It was a great feeling, our team had put in lots of hours and hard work to get the results we did,” Wiley said. “Personally, being a sophomore with little supply chain experience, this competition has allowed me to gain valuable insight on the field and allow me to be certain this is the career path I would like to pursue."