The 4th edition of the Deloitte Supply Chain Case Competition was organized at Brigham Young University, Utah, on the 19th and 20th of January this year. Over 40 teams from various business schools across the US, including Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech and USC Marshall, took part in the preliminary round of the contest in the month of December. Eight teams subsequently advanced to the final round at BYU. I had the opportunity to represent Penn State in the finals at BYU along with three other 1st Year Smeal MBA students – Sahil Jain, Tilak Khullar and Carlton Langley.
Deloitte’s Supply Chain Case Competition differed from other case competitions in that it did not expect participants to take apart a standard HBR-type case within a short period of time to recommend specific solutions to a problem. The finals were designed in such a way that competing teams would respond to a Request-for-Proposal (RFP) from a client in the cosmetics industry who had recently undertaken an expensive Mergers & Acquisitions project. Very little information was provided to the team initially, but as the competition progressed, valuable pieces of information were given through telephone calls and conferences with our potential client – various Deloitte practitioners playing different roles such as the Vice-President for Procurement or the Chief Technical Officer. We had just over twelve hours to formulate a competitive response, which included information on the hypothesis the team postulated, the approach the team expected to take in order to successfully solve the client’s problem, as well as staffing and timeline details for the project, all of which culminated in the overall cost to the client.
We presented our proposal to the client the following morning. Our client panel included six senior Deloitte practitioners, who asked us insightful questions about our considerations while formulating the proposal. Penn State had a good run at the competition, with our team taking third place – BYU took the gold, and Georgia Tech the silver.
The case competition was a great learning experience for the four of us. It gave us a glimpse into the world of consulting, and helped us understand how RFP responses are formulated in the real world, especially in the absence of concrete information. The competition also gave us the chance to interact with Deloitte practitioners and with our peers from business schools all over the country.
We’d like to thank 220 for enabling us to participate in this competition. We’d also like to thank Professor David Huff for his advice and support, and for showing us around the beautiful city of Provo. This was an amazing experience for the four of us, and gave us valuable exposure to real supply chain problems in the marketplace today.