Ross Students Compete for Best Supply Chain Solutions, Win $40,000 in Scholarships

Student teams save top companies millions in annual competition


Students from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business competed in the 2014 Spotlight! Team Project Showcase and Scholarship Competition on September 12. The Spotlight! Challenge is sponsored by U-M’s Tauber Institute for Global Operations and featured 35 teams with 89 students from 26 sponsoring companies, who presented their operations and manufacturing solutions to a panel of executives from some of the world’s major corporations.

The project concluded last Friday when the student team, whose project focused on Cummins Inc., took first place for creating a business strategy that reevaluated the company’s China manufacturing component. Two of the team members are students from the Master of Supply Chain Management (MSCM) Program. Their recommendations will save Cummins an estimated $22 million over the next 10 years. Each Cummins student team member won a $5,000 scholarship award. The other teams that won second and third place also won scholarship awards, for a total of over $40,000.

“One of the reasons why I chose Ross and the Tauber Institute is because I always felt there was a need to combine real-world experience with classroom learning and Tauber does a good job with this. This was an amazing competition; working with other students, delivering a thorough business strategy, the great support and coaching of the faculty advisors and networking with experienced industry folks. I got the biggest joy out of this,” said Nikhil Vajandar, member of the winning team and Class of 2014 MSCM student.

This year, 22 students from Ross’ MSCM Program as well as students from the College of Engineering, worked in 32 teams as part of their Paid Consulting Project. They spent the past 14 weeks as part of MSCM’s unique program, developing operations and manufacturing solutions for their respective company. Some of these companies included Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Boeing 777 and General Motors Aviation and students worked close to home in Detroit to as far as Poland and Mexico.

Student teams created work plans that could help corporations save millions of dollars by implementing lean manufacturing concepts and reduction of input time. Last year, student team recommendations helped to save companies more than $500 million, nearly $14 million per group.

The competition is one of the highlights for the MSCM Program, which offers a one-year degree and provides opportunities like Spotlight!, intersecting leadership development, action-based experience and knowledge building. In 2011 and 2012, 100 percent of MSCM students received job offers within three months post graduation. As the business world becomes increasingly complex and globalized, the program is designed to prepare students for the corporate landscape and develop future leaders in the field of supply chain management. Programs like the Paid Consulting Project and Spotlight! help students connect with top executives while learning firsthand about innovating and implementing supply chain management solutions.

“Spotlight is a fantastic venue to showcase the Tauber Institute and the capability of its contributing engineering and business school students. The competition is fair and a healthy way of incenting the best from every participant. Net, it’s a win-win for students and industry, where students hone their skills and industry gains from the latest and greatest supply chain tools and processes and the results they deliver,” said Paul Lokar, a member of the MSCM’s Corporate Advisory Council and a Tauber project sponsor.

The Michigan Ross MSCM Program is a one-year graduate degree program designed to prepare students for the ever-evolving business world. The Paid Consulting Project is just one of the components of the program, combining leadership development, classroom learning and hands-on experience. Visit to learn more.


About Michigan Ross

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan is a vibrant and distinctive learning community grounded in the principle that business can be an extraordinary vehicle for positive change in today's dynamic global economy. The Ross mission is to develop leaders who make a positive difference in the world. Through thought and action, members of the Ross community drive change and innovation that improves business and society.

Ross is consistently ranked among the world's leading business schools. Academic degree programs include the BBA, MBA, Part-time MBA (Evening and Weekend formats), Executive MBA, Global MBA, Master of Accounting, Master of Supply Chain Management, Master of Management, and PhD. In addition, the school delivers open-enrollment and custom executive education programs targeting general management, leadership development, and strategic human resource management.

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