HBCU & HSI National Supply Chain Case Competition draws international participation

Student leaders from across the globe collaborate on a supply chain management challenge.

Ten teams from schools with Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designations participated in the 2023 HBCU & HSI National Supply Chain Case Competition.

The competition, which took place at W. P. Carey from April 13-15, challenged participants to solve a real-world supply chain management case, which was provided by Applied Materials, a semiconductor and display equipment company.

In addition to the HBCU and HSI teams, students from the Centre for Applied Research and Innovation in Supply Chain — Africa in Ghana participated in the event. Greg Collins, assistant teaching professor in supply chain management, says his department was honored to host student leaders from across the country and the globe.

"Many of our participating schools don't have the size or depth of the supply chain management department we have here at W. P. Carey," he says. "It was awesome they could send their best teams to compete — and they were stunning."

The purpose of the competition is twofold: to develop supply chain management talent and encourage collaboration between supply chain management students and programs.

The ASU Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA), a 300-plus student organization, covered travel costs for HBCU participants who traveled to Tempe. Collins credits the SCMA with the footwork of bringing teams to ASU for the competition and says the resulting collaboration was an "extraordinary experience.

"They were able to come together and discuss the drivers and root causes of global supply chain problems and how to solve them," he says. "Student leaders from other schools asked the SCMA questions like, 'How do you develop an organization like this?' and 'How do you get sponsors like Dell and Applied Materials? and 'How have you built such a strong organization?'"

Over the three-day event, participants met with representatives from corporate sponsors, including Applied Materials, Dell Technologies, W. L. Gore and Associates, Sysco, and Walmart. The competition called upon students to analyze data and make their case to an executive audience.

"These are the sweet spot of skill sets for us in supply chain management," Collins says. "It's both a quantitative and strategic discipline, and understanding business management, data analysis, and how to make relevant presentations is what we prepare our students to do."

The winners of the competition were teams from Howard University (No. 1), the University of Texas at El Paso (No. 2), and the University of Texas at San Antonio (No. 3). One team represented ASU, which was designated as an HSI by the Department of Education in January 2023, while W. P. Carey MBA alums served as judges.

"We were delighted to support their success," Collins says. "To be able to give back to other schools and programs and build excitement and confidence in their programs by sharing what we've done over the past 30 years at W. P. Carey was really cool."

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