GSCM Team Places Third at Bowersox Undergraduate Supply Chain Challenge

PROVO, Utah – Dec 13, 2019 – Four seniors in the BYU Marriott global supply chain management (GSCM) program took third place at the 2019 Bowersox Undergraduate Supply Chain Management Challenge hosted at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, on 24–25 October 2019.

“The Bowersox competition challenges each team to run a company’s supply chain through a computer simulation,” says GSCM senior Josh Wright. “The afternoon we arrived we were given access to the test simulation to learn how the simulation works. The next morning the competition simulation was opened, and we ran thirteen weeks' worth of decisions within an allotted three hours.”

BYU Marriott’s GSCM program team included four GSCM seniors: Wright from Holladay, Utah; Samantha Jones from Saginaw, Michigan; Jake Carlsen from Centerville, Ohio; and Eric Tonini from Pearland, Texas. The group was accompanied by global supply chain management associate professor Scott Webb.

The BYU Marriott team began preparing for the competition weeks before the actual date. “To prepare for the challenge, our team met a couple times leading up to the competition,” says Jones. “We went over the strengths of each member in the group, and after discussing our strengths, we devised a plan and created roles for everyone in the group.”

One thing Jones learned from the competition is the value of collaboration. “I learned the team you’re on makes all the difference,” she says. “Our team meshed well, and everyone brought something different to the table. We couldn't have done it without each other, and being able to work with this specific team made it a fun experience for me.”

The plaque the team received to commemorate their placement at the competition wasn’t the only thing they gained from the experience. Students were also given the chance to form professional relationships with students in other supply chain programs. “The main purpose of the competition is for students at different programs to be able to network and grow,” says Webb. “Extensive time at the competition was given for students to mingle and discuss supply chain issues.”

Courses in the GSCM program prepared the team to succeed in the competition. “All of our supply chain courses focus on tools and frameworks to apply to structure an analysis to find a solution to complex problems,” says Wright. “We utilized these tools and frameworks within the Bowersox case.”

A specific example of a helpful class for Wright is the capstone class he is taking from Webb. “Our capstone class focuses on preparing us for roles that we won't hold for at least another decade. Professor Webb has taught us principles on pivoting a business to match technology and economic shifts. The BYU Marriott global supply chain management program has prepared us well for the future.”

The Bowersox Undergraduate Supply Chain Challenge is a competition for supply chain students from around the country. Michigan State University hosts the competition annually to honor the memory of Dr. Donald J. Bowersox, a former professor at Michigan State University and renowned supply chain academic who passed away in 2011. Each year, teams of supply chain students from top-ranked supply chain management programs across the nation travel to East Lansing for the competition. The competition is designed to put students through a simulated supply chain situation. Students have eighteen hours to practice before the competition starts, and then they have an allotted three hours to complete the simulation. This is the third year a team from BYU Marriott’s GSCM program has competed.

The GSCM team after the competition. Left to right: Josh Wright, Jake Carlsen, Samantha Jones, and Eric Tonini. Photo Courtesy of Josh Wright.
The GSCM team after their third place finish. Left to right: Josh Wright, Jake Carlsen, Samantha Jones, and Eric Tonini. Photo Courtesy of Josh Wright.
Professor Webb with some of the GSCM team members after the competition. Left to right: Professor Webb, Josh Wright, Jake Carlsen, and Eric Tonini. Photo courtesy of Josh Wright.
Professor Webb with some of the GSCM team members after the competition. Left to right: Professor Webb, Josh Wright, Jake Carlsen, and Eric Tonini. Photo courtesy of Josh Wright.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Natalia Green