Theory Into Practice: APICS Case Study Competition

2016-2017 Issue 1

Team McGill at the APICS International Case Study Competition
Effectively putting theory into practice is part of a successful transition from school to working life. A team of remarkable Supply Chain Management students at McGill’s School of Continuing Studies decided to put what they learned to the test at the Canadian level of the 2017-2018 Association for Operations Management (APICS) Case Competition finishing in first place, followed by the International 2017-2018 APICS Case Competition in San Antonio, Texas. In San Antonio, they finished at an impressive third place on an international scale.

Nermine Nabil Saad Ibrahim, Noura Abbassi, Cindy Nounke and Nora Chau represented McGill at the international competition. Two members of the McGill team, Cindy Nounke, and Noura Abbassi chose to study Supply Chain Management for similar reasons. “Understanding how to actually get there, beyond understanding your customer, is what supply chain tackles,” explains Noura, who comes from a Marketing background. “It puts you in a unique place and you bring everyone together.”

Cindy’s attraction to the field was similar. “My background is in industrial engineering,” explains Cindy. “I was interested in making things better – processes and procedures that are already there.” Both students were interested in maximizing the potential of a company or organization.

The goal of the case study competition is to manage a simulated company to transform poor financial performance to good performance. Each team member holds a role that would exist in a company – from VP of Sales to VP of Operations. It’s no small feat to collaborate effectively.

“[You have to be] able to be a team of students and work towards a goal while being professional,” says Cindy. “You have to be able to make concessions and sometimes let go, and sometimes fight for your idea.” The McGill team excelled in technical performance and applied the practical knowledge they gained during their program.

“All of our professors have a lot of life experience, so they tell you what might hit you and how to mitigate certain risks,” says Noura. “Our professors are not only teachers, they are consultants or managers of their own firm.” One professor, Nicolai Rassolov, made a particularly strong impact on the team, pushing them to join the competition and supporting them along the way.

“He pushed us beyond our comfort zone,“ says Noura. “He makes you understand that you are capable of more than you think.” A whole community supported the team as they made their journey through the competition, for example, MACES provided space for the team to work. “We are so proud to represent because when we asked for help they were there for us, we are proud to be McGillians,” adds Noura.

Although the team was hoping for a first place win internationally, they returned rich in new experiences and hard-won lessons. “This competition closes a lot of gap between the theoretical and actual practice,” says Noura. Hats off to these students with a bright future!



Image credit: Parish Photo

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