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MIT SCALE students win global supply chain contests

Team MIT Scalers, who won the 2013 Fresh Connection Global Challenge on Sept. 24, consisted of (from left) Sagar Neel De, Richard Swapp, Gustavo Escudero and Nadya Petrova.
Team MIT Scalers, who won the 2013 Fresh Connection Global Challenge on Sept. 24, consisted of (from left) Sagar Neel De, Richard Swapp, Gustavo Escudero and Nadya Petrova.
Photo: Gustavo Escudero

A team of students from four supply chain management graduate programs in the MIT Global Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence (MIT SCALE) Network took first place at the finals of the 5th annual Global Challenge of The Fresh Connection, a supply chain simulation competition designed to engage participants in making strategic and tactical decisions with the goal of improving the financial performance of a fictional company.

The winning team, named the “MIT Scalers,” consisted of the following members:
After four stages of selection, eight teams took part in the finals, which were held in Istanbul, Turkey on Sept. 24. After 12 rounds, the MIT Scalers achieved a weighted return on investment (ROI) of 47.8 percent, almost 4 percent higher than first runner-up team from Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte in Germany, and 5 percent higher than the second runner-up team from Fuji Xerox in Australia.

More than 1,300 participants from 25 countries formed more than 300 teams in this year’s competition, which was organized by Involvation Interactive, creators of The Fresh Connection simulation program. This year’s Global Challenge focused on supply chain risk management and featured new scenario planning tools to address various types of risk events such as natural disasters, strikes, supplier disruptions, theft, quality issues and high market volatility.

“We are very proud of what Gustavo, Nadya, Richard, and Sagar achieved as a team in Istanbul. They were great ambassadors for the MIT Global SCALE Network. But while winning first place is a great achievement, it was more important that the team worked harmoniously and, above all, had fun while learning a great deal in the process,” says Dr. Roberto Perez-Franco, research associate at the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics and The Fresh Connection facilitator for the MIT SCALE team. “This is something we teach our students at MIT, and it’s the reason we included The Fresh Connection as part of the MIT SCALE experience: to help students develop teamwork and leadership skills, and maintain a positive attitude in the face of daunting supply chain challenges.”

In a separate competition held earlier this year, another MIT SCALE student team, led by MIT Supply Chain Management master’s students Andrew Bignell and Derik Smith, took first place in the finals of The Fresh Connection Student Competition, which were hosted in Paris, France on May 25. The team competed against the top seven teams from France and Germany. After three rounds, the MIT SCALE team achieved an ROI of 11.89 percent, followed by ESSEC Business School with 9.18 percent, and Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg with 8.97 percent. The Fresh Connection Student Competition was organized by the Production Management Institute (Germany) and FAPICS (France).

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