Ross Part-Time MBA Team Takes First in Business Competition

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The saying goes, “third time’s the charm.” Yet, for a group of four students from the Michigan Ross Part-Time MBA Program, it was just the second.

After not placing in 2013, this year they won first place in MIT Sloan’s 10th Annual: Operations Simulation Competition (OpsSimCom).

This is the first time a team from the Ross School of Business has won first place at OpsSimCom. The online competition took place from April 3-6. The team, rossweekend2014, won $3,500 and consisted of PTMBA students Thomas Blaine (MBA ’14), Jonathan Buck (MBA ’14), James Cook (MBA ’14), and Christopher Paradise (MBA ’14).

The competition was a simulation of a real-life business. The objective was to see which team could operate the most profitable “virtual” company. Some of their responsibilities included making investments, cutting costs, forecasting demand, and meeting customer satisfaction. The key to the team’s success was an inventory-minimization strategy, making sure not to accept more orders than their factory could handle – something they did not do the year prior. This approach saved their company $2.3 million.

“We managed to win in spite of all of us having full-time jobs. We sacrificed some sleep to enter decisions in the middle of the night,” said Paradise. “I think us having other obligations worked in our favor, as we were driven to make decisions quickly and rarely succumbed to paralysis by analysis. We did not fiddle around with settings as much as the other teams and we basically picked our strategy and executed it perfectly.”

"We were driven to make decisions quickly and rarely succumbed to paralysis by analysis. We did not fiddle around with settings as much as the other teams and we basically picked our strategy and executed it perfectly." -Christopher Paradise, Ross MBA '14

The team received no special faculty coaching, but Eric Svaan, lecturer of operations management, added that his role as a Ross instructor provided the foundation.

“I take no credit for preparing them for the competition, other than by teaching them the principles of operations management in their fall 2012 core WMBA 508 course, and introducing them to the Littlefield simulation in that class,” said Svaan. “I believe that the faculty do an especially good job of teaching in our operations core classes, and the high level placements in this competition bear that out.”

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