YSU scrambles to fourth place in case race

By Gunnhildur Baldursdottir / The Jambar

Youngstown State University hosted and placed fourth in a case study competition at the annual Midwest Sciences Institute conference at the Williamson College of Business Administration on April 12 and 13.

This was the first time YSU hosted the conference, with over 130 students, faculty and staff representing eight universities. Teams of three to four undergraduate business students from each university participated in the competition, where they had 24 hours to create a solution to a made-up case study.

Alina Marculetiu is the co-organizer of the MWDSI case competition and a YSU professor of operations management and supply chain studies. Marculetiu said in cooperation with Boardman-based Summer Garden Food Manufacturing, students had 24-hours to find a solution for egg supply chain disruptions caused by bird flu.

“The students started by touring the company, then they came back to campus, and they were released the case,” Marculetiu said. “They also had the opportunity to read [the case] and they had to present the solutions the next day to judges. So, they only had less than a 24-hour time window.”

The teams visited Summer Garden Food Manufacturing at 10 a.m. on April 12. Later that day, they competed in a judged question and answer session and received the case. The teams then worked together to find a solution to the case, which they presented at 9 a.m. on April 13.

Marculetiu said the presentations were judged by supply chain professionals from the area and protagonists of the case, which are central decision makers in case studies.

Jeong Hoon Choi, a professor in the management and marketing department, said MWDSI is part of nine regional chapters of Decisions Sciences Institute, which is a parent organization that hosts annual international conferences in November.

“The conference is to meet new people, and then we have many research presentations,” Choi said. “This year’s theme was Innovation and Adaptation: Navigating Change in the Dynamic Business World. So, this is about the sciences.”

Of the eight universities participating, John Carroll University took first place, winning a $1,000 team award. Cleveland State University placed second, receiving a $500 award, and The University of Akron placed third, receiving a $200 award.

YSU’s team, Team Frittata, was half a point shy of the podium. Seniors Cierra Anzelmo, Rebecca Catlos, Jason Gibson and junior Jordan Clark represented the Penguins.

Catlos is double majoring in marketing and supply chain management and is the captain of the YSU team. This was the second time she’s represented YSU in a case race. She said it was nice having the competition on home grounds and networking with other students.

“It was fun networking with students from other universities, hearing their input and hearing math questions about the case competition because everyone reads it and thinks differently,” Catlos said. “We have also been able to work and have fun together as a team, even though some of us have never met before, and I think that’s really cool.”

Marculetiu said the competition is mutually beneficial to students and the company.

“Students from nearby get exposure to potential jobs, and the companies actually want to participate so they can recruit the best students,” Marculetiu said. “Even if you’ve only participated and didn’t win, it’s still great for your resume because I think it’s sort of like making it to the Olympics but on a smaller scale.”

Marculetiu said organizers made changes to last year’s rules for the case race to ensure unbiased results.

“We had a set of rules for example, where students were not allowed to wear themed outfits or say what university they came from because we didn’t want the judges to be biased towards the Universities,” Marculetiu said.