Intellect and creativity collide in case competitions where students work together in teams, competing against other colleges, to analyze a problem specific to a case study, and strategically develop the best solution(s) within the guidelines they are given.
The Black School of Business recently had two teams do well in two different competitions.
Smeal Sustainability Case Competition
A team of Behrend students took third place at the third annual Smeal Undergraduate Sustainability Case Competition in March.
The topic of the competition was addressing food insecurity on our college campus. Specific topic criteria included financial, social, and environmental impacts plus feasibility, partnerships, and risk analysis. To prepare, the team met with multiple resources, including the finance office, the Lion’s Pantry, and community entrepreneurs.
The Behrend team proposed moving the Lion’s Pantry to a more central location on campus and reformatting it as a grocery store layout so students could choose food that meets their individual tastes. Additionally, they suggested including access to fresh produce such as items harvested from Behrend’s student-run garden.
The Behrend team was one of five teams that went to the finals out of nearly twenty teams in the competition.
“The organizer/funder for the competition spoke with the team afterward and indicated that he thought their plan was the most focused and feasible, and said that he could offer additional funding if their changes were implemented,” said Carol Putman, associate teaching professor of management. “We will likely submit for that extra funding this year.”
The revamped Lion’s Pantry, which will also include a refill shop and clothing transit, will be located in the Reed Union Building and is expected to open in 2024.
Race to the Case Competition
Two Penn State Behrend student teams competed in Race to the Case, a supply chain case competition hosted by the University of Pittsburgh this fall. One team took silver, winning second place in the competition which Dr. Ying Cao, assistant professor of project and supply chain management, called “intense” with ten schools participating, including Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Duquesne University.
Teams were required to have two business majors and two engineering majors. Behrend’s winning team was made up of Matthew King, Project and Supply Chain Management and Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies; Joshua McGee, Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies; Chris Annear, Industrial Engineering; and Aaron Kovatch, Industrial Engineering.
The Race to the Case competition is modeled after the Emmy Award-winning television show “The Amazing Race.” It presents real-world situations to the students, who race between locations on the University of Pittsburgh campus as they solve problems and present their solutions to the judges at the final destination.
“As a member of the faculty judging panel, I had the privilege of seeing our students showcase their exceptional dedication and efforts,” Cao said. “I’m very proud of them! I also received feedback from event organizers and fellow judges who were impressed by our students’ achievement.”