For the first time in BYU-Idaho history, a team of business management majors took gold in the Weber State Intercollegiate Supply Chain Competition, which took place from February 23-25 this year.
Four business management majors traveled to Weber State University in Utah, competing against other major colleges across the nation. They were given a real-life case study for an international company, O.C. Tanner.
The case was this: despite the Trump administration’s tariffs on all imported China goods, would it be sensible for O.C. Tanner to still receive shipments from China? All teams were given 24 hours to solve the issue and to prepare a twenty-minute presentation to a board of judges consisting of corporate managers and representatives of O.C. Tanner who decided in ranked order which solution was the best.
O.C. Tanner is a company based in Salt Lake City that focuses on employee recognition and awards. They manufacture items like trophies or rings for other companies to help recognize their employees‘ hard work and dedication.
The team members for BYU-I consisted of Christopher Black, Jake Booher, Nathan Mackie, and Zach Snow. They each took the case, ran the numbers individually, and came together with their findings. As supply chain management emphases, they put the skills learned in their classes to the test to find the best possible solution to the case given.
According to the Weber State University website, Sebastian Brockhaus, a supply chain management assistant professor, said, “The students are acting as a consulting firm. They get to do something that highly paid consultants usually do, and they are being held to the same kind of standards. This is real stuff; it is not a textbook problem.”
The challenge was the 24-hour time constraint. Jake Booher, a senior studying business management, said, “Of that 24 hours, we worked on the case for 20 hours straight, and then we got about two hours of sleep, got up the next morning, put the final touches on, and then presented it.”
At the award ceremony, Booher said he and his team were in surprise and disbelief when the judges read their team as first place winners.
“We were like, ‘There has to be some kind of mistake,’ and none of us stood up,” Booher said. “We all looked at each other and like, ‘That can’t be true.’ And so the guy, he said, ‘aren’t you going to come up?’”
Despite having achieved a first place trophy, Booher said this was a humbling experience.
“I was personally humbled to be able to have that opportunity because I looked up to a lot of the other schools that were there,” Booher said.
According to the newsroom on byui.edu, Mick Ward, a faculty member in the business management department and a student mentor, said, “It was a big achievement for these young men and they deserve the award.”
Booher said this achievement helps with the Supply Chain Management Society’s goals of building an awareness for the supply chain management program and for the high demand for individuals with this degree. Booher said Walmart is actively recruiting people with supply chain majors and that 92 percent of students from BYU-I received full–time positions after their internships. According to Forbes.com, it is eighth of the 10 most sought after business degrees in the U.S.
“The need for it is because more and more companies are realizing that to be able to be a good business is not so much about just making more money, sometimes it’s about cutting more cost,” Booher said. “And that’s where supply chain really comes in.”