Any college professor knows it can sometimes be hard to keep students motivated. But with serious prize money at stake, motivation was no problem for a group of supply chain grad students from 18 universities who recently participated in a competition at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth.
Competing for $20,500 in total prize money, the student teams were challenged to design an expanded distribution network for the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A to support growing customer demand in seven Western states. The students were given one day to brainstorm ideas before presenting their recommendations the following day to supply chain executives from major corporations who judged the competition. To help them with their calculations, the teams were provided with geographic information system (GIS) software from event sponsor Esri.
When the dust had settled, the team from Georgia Tech was declared the winner, walking away with $10,000 in prize money and four Apple iPad tablet computers. The second- and third-place finishers, Brigham Young University and the University of Washington, also took home cash prizes and iPads. “The supply chain executives got to see how they used opportunities to overcome obstacles and pave the way for a successful result,” said Morgan Swink, executive director of the Center for Supply Chain Innovation at the TCU Neeley School of Business, in a release.