Supply Chain Management Association, Chevron host Smeal MBA case competition

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Last month, the Penn State Smeal College of Business Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA), with sponsorship from Chevron, hosted its third annual Chevron Supply Chain Case Competition.

Teammates Shridhar Kumar, Arvind Dutta, Ankit Mahajan and Yasar Awan took first place. More than 30 students participated in the event, which blended first- and second-year students on nine teams.

“We see Penn State as a core partner, and we want to establish key relationships with the University. For the case competition, Penn State provides the theory, and we provide the application.”

-- Kira Haynes, recruiting coordinator, Chevron Services Co.

“My concentrations are in supply chain and finance, and the Chevron case competition was a perfect opportunity to work on a supply chain case and put to use much of my first-year knowledge,” said Awan. “Working in teams comprised of both first-year and second-year MBAs was a great way to learn from each other and increase our familiarity with the industry."

Chevron began partnering with the Penn State Smeal Master of Business Administration Program on an annual case competition in 2011 to invest in recruitment efforts and provide students with information on the oil and gas industry, according to Kira N. Haynes, recruiting coordinator in corporate procurement at Chevron Services Co.

“We see Penn State as a core partner, and we want to establish key relationships with the University,” said Haynes. “For the case competition, Penn State provides the theory, and we provide the application.”

Students received the cases on the evening of March 20 and presented with their teams March 22. The extended period of time allowed for deeper analysis of the issues, according to SCMA President Chris Riling.

“We decided to spend the first half of our time familiarizing ourselves with the case and dividing the roles we would take in analyzing the case,” said Awan. “In the last half of our time, we all came together in a conference room crunching numbers, creating slides and deciding what we wanted to say.”

The case, said Riling, focused on procurement concepts in light of the economic downturn.

“This was the first year we provided a Chevron-specific case,” said Haynes. “Subsequent feedback from students indicated that this provided them with key insights on specific oil and gas industry challenges.”

Supply chain management as well as communication skills were a large component of the judging.

A panel of Smeal faculty and Chevron representatives judged presentations and selected the winning team. Chevron provided funding for the student-run case competition, including $2,000 in prizes to the top three teams.

“It was a great experience in learning about a new industry, working with new people and working in a real-life scenario with Chevron’s supply chain case,” said Awan.

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Last Updated September 10, 2013