Section Image: University of Wisconsin team of Tobias Kern, Sajal Dixit, Saurabh Papppu and Juhi Goenka at the Neeley fountain wearing purple competition baseball hats

TCU Neeley Center for Supply Chain Innovation Hosts Sixteen Universities at Graduate Supply Chain Case Competition

Teams competed and proved their innovation chops using a supply chain case that asked students to address a real-world business challenge at the eighth annual event.

February 28, 2024

By Winter Harris

The graduate team from the University of Wisconsin took home the top prize at TCU’s Center for Supply Chain Innovation Case Competition this past weekend. The four-person team - Tobias Kern, Sajal Dixit, Saurabh Pappu and Juhi Goenka – received a $14,000 prize for first place.

The team was excited about their win and grateful for the immersive experience. Dixit, who is an MBA candidate, said this year’s win was special because he participated in this supply chain case competition last year and won third place. Dixit’s personal goal was to return and finish in first this time around. Goal accomplished.

For the past eight years, the Center for Supply Chain Innovation in the TCU Neeley School of Business has invited graduate students in Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Supply Chain Management programs across the nation to participate in the case competition to test their problem-solving skills and innovation mindsets. The Center for Supply Chain partnered with sponsor Esri, case provider Raising Cane’s and additional corporate partners to provide a weekend filled with competition, but also camaraderie and connections. At the end, a total of $30,000 was presented to the top three teams.

Group of three working in a conference room

Morgan Swink, the Eunice and James L. West Chair in Supply Chain Management and executive director for the Center for Supply Chain Innovation, said the case competition is a highlight program and one the Neeley team looks forward to each year.

“We love giving students from all over the country the chance to compete, to learn, to meet each other, and to network with executives from around the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Our partners who serve as sponsors and judges also love the opportunity to see some of the top talent in the country. It really is a special event and one that we’re proud to host here at TCU,” said Swink.

This year’s case was written by Cliff Defee, director for supply chain management graduate programs and an associate professor of professional practice in Neeley. The case invited teams to identify strategic solutions for business challenges related to growth and sustainability to support Raising Cane’s. The teams had 24 hours to identify solutions, develop a business plan and present it to judges.

Professor Cliff Defee speaking from the lectern in Shaddock Auditorium.

To fuel the case discussions, Raising Cane’s hosted a kickoff event for students on campus offering afternoon snacks Thursday, and also fed the teams and judges on Friday.

“Raising Cane’s has been excited to partner with the TCU Center for Supply Chain Innovation on this year’s case study. Having been participants at various levels for several years, we have seen the great ideas and creative thinking that college teams can bring to real world challenges,” said Raising Cane’s Vice President of Distribution Mitch Plesha.

“We appreciate the opportunity to gain different perspective on ways to support our restaurants, as we continue our rapid growth. From our past experience with TCU, we have found implementable solutions that have improved our supply chain performance.”

2024 TCU’s Graduate Supply Chain Case Competition Winners
First Place - University of Wisconsin (Team EDGE Geospatial) $14,000
University of Wisconsin team with award check
Second Place - Arizona State University (Team Conoco Phillips) $10,000
Arizona State team with Hettie Richardson and large check
Third Place - Brigham Young University (Team PepsiCo) $6,000
BYU team with Hettie Richardson and large check

Universities in attendance included:
Arizona State University
Brigham Young University
Iowa State University
Lehigh University
Northeastern University
Rutgers University
Saint Louis University
Syracuse University
Texas Christian University
University of Florida
University of Pittsburgh
University of Southern California
University of Texas at Dallas
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin
Virginia Commonwealth University