The Global Operations Conference at the University of Michigan was an amazing experience. It was my first case competition, and here we were at the finals, competing with some of the biggest names and with their best teams. It was also my first visit to Michigan Ross, and I was very excited about visiting it, and maybe going around the town a bit, if time permit.
As this event was not initially on the list of events for the Supply Chain and Operations Club, there was no budget allocated for it. However, the president of the club, Rajorshi Chakroborty supported the team and requested the department to sponsor our trip. We managed to get the air-tickets sponsored while we had to cover other expenses such as stay, local travel, and food on our own, which was still not bad a deal.
We had some exams and assignments due that week, but guess it will always be the case in a B-school, and we cannot expect to get enough of free time for other things. We submitted our final recommendations, which were more in line with what the questions wanted us to answer, and directed at a particular strategy, instead of being open ended as in the first round.
We reached Michigan on the evening of November 5, and confirmed the logistics for the event with the coordinator Carlos Carrazza, MBA 2010 from the Ross school, who was very helpful and responsive all this time. We also went around the town at night, as our team member, Chia Chia, having done her undergrad from Univ. of Michigan was familiar with the place.
The operations conference on the November 6 had some awesome speakers consisting of top-notch faculty and researchers lined up, the keynote speaker being Hau L. Lee, Director of Global Supply Chain Management Forum from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. There were some industry speakers from companies such as Autodesk Inc., Xerox, Eaton etc. as well. The sponsors for the event included Cisco, Infosys, Accenture, CPP Global, Eaton and BorgWarner. ( For more details about the event visit link Global Operations Conference )
We presented our case in front of the three judges – Andrew (Andy) Chien, President & Managing Director at Ricardo Strategic Consulting (MBA Ross School), Dan Hearsch, Manager at Ricardo Strategic Consulting (MBA Ross School), and Marc Wiseman, VP Third Planet Windpower. The judges tried to simulate the conditions, which a consultant typically faces with the clients, and thus the whole experience for us became even more valuable. Their feedback at the end of our presentation helped us even more in understanding what they were looking for and things we should focus on, going forward.
During lunch, we got the opportunity to interact with some of the industry representatives, especially with some executives from Alcoa seated at our table. The awards for the case competition were presented during lunch. Teams from the University of Michigan, Ross School claimed the first two spots and the team from Maryland -our team from the Smith School, came in second runners-up. There was no prize for the winners as such but yes the glory and pride we felt, having figured amongst the winners, was no less valuable. In addition, I was able to make some new friends. It was indeed, an experience of a lifetime.