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Darla Moore School of Business

Top supply chain competitors

International MBA students win first place in international case competition

A team of Moore School International MBA students bested 309 teams to win first place in the Association for Supply Chain Management 2020 Case Competition virtually held in October.

International MBA candidates who are all scheduled to graduate in May 2022, the team includes: Michael DeLadesmo, Olivia Lynch, Michael Neddo and Cameron Butler.

DeLadesmo, Lynch, Neddo and Butler began participating as a team in the ASCM 2020 Case Competition and were rewarded for their efforts in three rounds between October 2020 and October 2021 as the top contender.

Winning first place in their second year “is incredibly validating!” DeLadesmo said.

“We are thankful to have the win as something to show for all the hard work and long hours we put in together as a team,” Butler said. “Participating in the ASCM Case Competitions has been an extremely memorable and rewarding experience.”

Compared to other case competitions, the international ASCM Case Competition is unique in that the ASCM business cases require substantial technical analysis and test-detailed supply chain-related concepts throughout the competition. ASCM organizers provide up to four spreadsheets of data for each of the cases.

DeLadesmo, Lynch, Neddo and Butler faced three rounds of competition ahead of their first-place finish.

With multiple weeks to go through the case, the first round had the team explore supply chain issues related to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

“The first round was in October 2020, before COVID-19 vaccines were readily available in the U.S.,” Lynch said. “This gave us a unique opportunity to see relevant data and collaborate on a historical global issue.”

For the second round, they had to provide a solution and submit a recorded presentation within eight hours. The focus of the second case was reviewing data from an automotive company that wished to reduce inventory costs and increase profits through investment via technology.  

For the final round, the team was instructed to assess the current operations of a milk producer, provide analysis of the effects of COVID-19 and recommend cost-effective improvements to their supply chain. Like in the second round, they had one day to prepare their case assessment and give a presentation.

DeLadesmo, Lynch, Neddo and Butler had a specific strategy they used in each round of the competition. They prepared in advance to understand the latest supply chain trends, and for each of the one-day cases, created a timeline for the competition day to meet the fast-approaching deadlines.

They “divided and conquered” by divvying out pieces of the project that played to each other’s strengths.

They also focused on “simple but crucial” questions like how much is their strategy costing the client, can the client afford it, what is the client’s expected return from the solution, what are the risks and how can they be mitigated, and what is the timeline and how long will the solution take to implement?

DeLadesmo, Lynch, Neddo and Butler attribute the skills they learned in their International MBA courses with earning the first-place finish.

“Our various supply chain classes, especially global supply chain and operations management, gave us the critical knowledge to understand how supply chains operated and key metrics used to judge their effectiveness,” Butler said. “Our business analytical courses gave us an edge for data-driven technical analysis and important data visualization skills. Strategy and consulting courses were a catalyst for critical thinking skills and provided essential business frameworks to organize ideas and solutions.”

The team said their case competition professor, advisor and coach, Patrick DeMouy, helped them improve upon their public speaking, presentation and decision-making skills needed to win.

“Working together as a team, despite an enormous time crunch, has been an invaluable experience,” Neddo said. “The competition has helped us practice stepping outside of our comfort zone — analyzing data very quickly, working on a project with no prior experience in the industry and presenting to high-level executives of a company. We now have a strong foundation for any project we are tasked to complete.”

DeLadesmo, Lynch, Neddo and Butler said securing first place was a welcome surprise since none of the four specializes in supply chain.

Winning a supply chain case competition without an extensive supply chain background “is a true testament to the foundational education the International MBA provides and fulfills what the working world of today requires,” Lynch said.

The team gave credit for their win to their entire International MBA cohort, which they describe as “an unyielding, driven and intelligent group” who challenge each other to build their business skills in a global context.

The Association for Supply Chain Management 2021 Case Competition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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