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Team RamBiz wins global supply chain competition

January 17, 2013

Sponsor of ISCEA's Ptak Prize will be on campus this semester to personally present the awards.

Kaylynn Asmussen, Angelina Howard, Kandis LaPonte and John Jacobs from the College of Business took top honors in the global 2013 Ptak Prize Case Competition.A team of undergraduates in the College of Business won the 2013 Ptak Student Supply Chain Case Competition, a prestigious global competition. The International Supply Chain Education Alliance announced in December that Team RamBiz -- Kaylynn Asmussen, Angelina Howard, Kandis LaPonte, and John Jacobs – had been chosen from among teams worldwide for the honor.

Carol A. Ptak, noted author in the field of supply chain management and  former president of APICS International for whom the prize is named, is coming to Fort Collins to personally present a $1,000 check and a medallion to the team. Team members also received free training and certification as Certified Supply Chain Managers as well as the title of Ptak Prize Scholar for their outstanding performance.

“I am thrilled with this result and am very proud of our team,” said Paul Vanderspek, clinical professor of management in the College of Business and faculty advisor to Team RamBiz. “They showed lots of collaboration, commitment and professionalism throughout the entire process.”

Started at regional level

Hundreds of university students around the world competed throughout the year at the local and four regional levels before advancing to the final global round, according to competition organizers.

Team RamBiz got a relatively late start, said team member Angelina Howard, a senior who is also vice president of CSU’s Supply Chain Management Club this semester.

“Brian Fugate (associate professor of management) and I noticed the announcement of the competition on the SC Next website in October, but the preliminary round was past,” she said. SC Next is the organization for Young Professional Supply Chain Managers within ISCEA and a sponsor of the competition.

Competitive selection process

Vanderspek managed to get permission for CSU to enter the competition at the North American regional level. Then he had to select the members of Team RamBiz.

“Paul made it a competitive process to be on the team,” Howard said. “We all took classes together but didn’t really know each other and we had never worked together. We had to email Paul our resumes and a cover letter that explained why we should be on the team.”

Members of Team RamBiz were in place by November. Howard took on the responsibility of registering the team in the competition, which required each team member to join SC Next for $25. (Those fees were reimbursed by the College’s Supply Chain Forum.) They received the case on the evening of Nov. 24 – the Sunday before Thanksgiving, after team members had left Fort Collins for Fall Break – and it was due on Nov. 30.

“I started by emailing the problem to the team and setting up a Google Doc with a timeline and five specific questions that we all answered separately,” Howard said. “On the Friday before it was due, we picked what was best from each answer, then spent all day Saturday putting it into the PowerPoint template. We emailed it in at 10 p.m., an hour before the deadline.”

Learning from real-world cases

Vanderspek did not review the presentation before it was submitted, but he wouldn’t have wanted to anyway, according to Howard, who had also competed in previous case competitions.

“He leaves it all to the students to figure out,” she said. “That means we do all the work, and we learn so much that way. Real-world cases prepare us better than sitting in the classroom, and you see the different ideas different people bring to the problem that you didn’t think of but can still apply to the solution.”

Team RamBiz received an email informing them that they had made the global finals on the Tuesday, Dec. 3 – and that a video presentation was due at 3 p.m. that Friday.

Video made in Rockwell East

With the help of Steven Butler and the College of Business IT Media Production team, Team RamBiz set up in the MBA classroom in Rockwell Hall East, which is equipped with a podium, two touch screen computer monitors, three TV screens and three video cameras, on Thursday. Forty-five minutes and two takes later, the production team started editing, and the final link went off to the judges by 2 p.m. on Friday.

Watch that international prize-winning video.

It didn’t take long for the judges to make their decision. Members got the email congratulating Team RamBiz for being selected the first place winner of the 2013 Ptak Prize Case Competition the following Tuesday, Dec. 10 – just over a week before Kaylynn and Jacob graduated. They will be returning to campus for the prize presentation later this semester.