Students Flex Analytical and Collaboration Skills in Supply Chain Challenge
March 2021: Student teams from Northeastern University, Babson College, Penn State, Bryant University, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and MIT's Supply Chain Management master's program competed in The Supply Chain Management Interactive Tournament (SCMIT), a 4-day, 2-round challenge to address five real-world supply chain problems put forward by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Benjamin Moore, New Balance, and Girotti Supply Chain Consulting.
Participating teams received details & data on a Friday, and worked through the weekend to meet a Tuesday deadline for submission of their analyses and recommendations. Companies sponsoring each challenge reviewed deliverables from multiple teams before selecting the best solution recommendation to advance to the final round.
In a live event held Friday, March 26, the five finalist teams' video summaries were shown, and team members responded to questions from a panel of judges drawn from the Tournament’s sponsor companies and MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics researchers. After brief deliberation, the judges selected the top three solutions.
Top prize went to the team "Order of the Phoenix" — MIT SCM students Arturo Torres Arpi, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Mantellini, and Cosmo Valentino — for their response to a production optimization challenge presented by Benjamin Moore.
The "Management Mavericks" — MIT SCM students Song Gao, Landon Hollingsworth, and Scott Sladecek, with Kelly Doan (MIT SCM '20) — took 2nd place for their recommended processes to improve patient service and safety/quality for a global biopharma company, challenge presented by BCG.
Northeastern University students Dominic Belz, Jacob Brass, Abdulatif Kanafani, and Dara Zayanderoudi, the "Best Consulting Group," were awarded the 3rd place win for their response to a “shippable shoe box” challenge presented by New Balance.
All final-round judges praised the quality of work, the skill level of the student participants, and the breadth & depth of the solutions teams were able to develop in such a short time. Jose (Pepe) Rodriguez, Managing Director and Partner at BCG, added that he was excited to see the abundance of talent and interest in the use of analytics in the supply chain space.
SCMIT is organized by the MIT Supply Chain Management master's program and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) / New England Roundtable (NERT). The idea for a hackathon-style tournament was originally proposed by a group of students in the MIT SCM class of 2020, who worked with members of CSCMP/NERT on structure and logistics and secured several sponsors, including BCG and Benjamin Moore, before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the academic year. Fast-forward a year, and several of those original organizers were able to participate in the 2021 SCMIT event as alumni advisors to MIT teams, while others helped secure challenges and/or financial sponsorship for the Tournament from the companies they now work for. Thanks to the generosity of financial sponsors BCG, Benjamin Moore, New Balance, PerkinElmer, Accenture, and Waters, the 2021 Tournament awarded over $20,000 in fellowship prizes to top teams.
The Tournament is designed to provide students with applied learning opportunities and valuable industry exposure. Working closely with top companies on relevant, timely supply chain and operations problems, and collaborating in teams to solve complex challenges requiring a broad range of skillsets, students gain invaluable experience while strengthening practical skills. On the networking front, the Tournament provides students with an opportunity to connect in substantive and productive ways with professionals at top companies, as well as with seasoned industry practitioners who volunteer their time to work with teams in a consulting capacity throughout the challenge.
Asked to comment on their Tournament experience, first-place team Order of the Phoenix, who took on a challenge from Benjamin Moore to optimize production of over 2000 paint formulations and 6000+ SKUS across five US manufacturing plants, responded in verse:
Tournament organizers hope to make SCMIT an annual event, and to expand the network of schools invited to send teams in 2022. Poetry will remain an optional skill for participating teams.