And by MAD I mean Mid-Atlantic District.
This past weekend me and four other students from the University of Delaware road-tripped it up to Pittsburgh, PA to compete in the APICS Mid-Atlantic Case Competition. It was my first time going and being thrown into what appeared to be an already well-oiled machine of team members. The experience was stress-inducing and mentally exhaustive, but I definitely learning something new about what it means to work in supply chain and under pressure.
For those of you unfamiliar with what a case competition is, a case competition entails reading about a company, finding a problem in how they work, and finding and presenting a solution to their problem. Just like the real business world, we were challenged with working in a team, meeting a deadline, writing and presenting a plan, and persuading others that our solution would work.
Going into it, I knew I had big shoes to fill, as our school’s team had previously won at this level and gone on to place internationally. Unfortunately, we did not score well enough with the judges this time, but I nonetheless took away from the experience.
I realized that I actually know more about supply chain and logistics than I thought I did. Reading the paper I recognized all sorts of buzzwords and considered all the factors that went into making an important business decision. I found out the importance of questioning the ideas of your colleagues for feasibility. Just because someone is older or more experienced than you does not necessarily mean that their ideas are the best. Teamwork is a collaborative effort. I learned how important it is to leverage each team member’s unique strengths and how great diversity is on a team. And lastly, I confirmed my need to work on my presentation skills. It is such a critical skill to have and I have definitely gotten way better at it over the years, from not ever wanting to speak in front of people to willingly volunteering my opinion in less formal settings, but when I’m faced with a huge audience and immense pressure, my brain just dies and something goes wrong.
So next year when I return to the competition, I will have all of this in mind. I’m looking forward to becoming more involved in solving real world problems as I move along in my college career.
And in writing this up I’m procrastinating all the work I got behind in this weekend and all the work I need to get ahead in for the upcoming few weeks. Oh, and that start up competition I entered a month ago unfortunately did not make the next round but I’m in the middle of exploring a couple of different options to move that project along. Happy Thursday!