All the quality tools, design thinking skills, data analysis mastery, and consulting prowess QUEST students accumulate over their time in college is eventually displayed for all to see at the QUEST Conference. On May 3rd, 2018, students of Cohort 27 put their outstanding capstone projects on display. After an hour of mingling with fellow QUESTees and admiring Q27’s beautiful and informative poster boards, it was time for presentations. Unfortunately, I could not attend all of them, since there were three rounds in which three presentations occured simultaneously in different rooms, so I had to choose three to watch.
The first presentation that a couple of my friends and I gathered to watch was Gizmo Solution’s project on how Orbital ATK can optimize their machine shop scheduling. I loved how the team not only focused on the quantifiable benefits of their recommended solutions, but also on how “Cory, the scheduler, will be able to spend less time using Excel and more time creating value for the company” (Mark Purtilo, Q27).
After a great Q&A session with probing questions from the audience, I moved over to Ballroom A to watch Operation Hawkeye present their suggestions on how Northrop Grumman can improve its machine uptime and utilization. It was hard not to be impressed with the confidence each speaker exuded when they were on stage and how clear the message was that Northrop should take preventative and not reactive actions. I spoke to Akshay Guthal, one of the members of Operation Hawkeye, about how the team was able to be so relaxed in front of such a large crowd. He said, “Having already presented in class on Wednesday, we felt very comfortable presenting our project again. And since that crowd included many of my friends and family, it felt great to show them what we worked so hard on.”
The last presentation I was able to see was how 1PoP Consulting helped Lockheed Martin reduce its supply chain costs. This was a very informative slide deck with clean, easy to understand appendices and a clear focus on how supply chain concepts can be better integrated into Lockheed Martin’s search for high quality suppliers. It was during this last presentation that I realized how supportive the audience had been in each of the showcases I attended and how the QUEST community sets a strong foundation to help its fellow members succeed.
I was very excited to be able to witness all of the knowledge Cohort 27 had learned over the years and how it had led to such a memorable night. I had gone to the QUEST Conference last year in December while I was taking 190H, but here I really took some time to think about what I was seeing, hearing, and experiencing. I noticed that every presenter had their own way of speaking on stage, just as each writer has their own voice in their articles.
I saw various 190H and 390H concepts being displayed in the presentations, be it how the teams utilized design thinking to gain empathy from their clients or how they used Monte Carlo analyses to determine the probability of getting a favorable outcome from certain recommendations. Each team had a clean, no-frills presentation slide deck and a poster board that only contained the most important information of their projects. Each student’s professionalism and composure on stage must be a result of having to present pitches for 2 years in their 190H, 390H, and 490H classes. I can’t wait for my turn to take 490H next year!