IE student groups co-host case competition

Photo of IISE 1st place team
IISE winning team members Varun Raju (l) and Julia Monti (center) look on while Aruzhan Bazylzhanova (r) presents
Photo of judges and winning team
Judges and winners: (l to r) Kenneth Harling, Varun Raju, Jeff Powers, Julia Monti, Aruzhan Bazylzhanova, Charlene Sullivan, and Dave Kotterman
Three Purdue IE student organizations competed in a “Club Clash” Case Competition on Nov. 14, and the winners won a grand prize of $1,000.

A case competition challenges participants to develop the best solution to a business or education-related case study within an allocated time frame.

In this case competition, teams had to analyze a fictitious home goods retailer's current position and overall state of the industry, recommend a tech strategy for improving its customer experience and fostering long-term growth, and give a 12-minute presentation of their findings.

The Purdue Institute for Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) competed against two student-founded consulting organizations, Purdue Solutions and PurdueTHINK. According to Jennifer Teefey, IISE Events Chair and Purdue Solutions Director of Operations, the purpose of the case competition was to bring the three different organizations together to compete using their industrial engineering skills.

"The hope was for students to get the taste of real world consulting experience, to work on a business case in order to develop a creative solution - something that consultants do on a regular basis," explained Aruzhan Bazylzhanova, IISE Director of Professional Development and Purdue Solutions Project Manager.

"I thought it would be fun to have the three organizations co-host a case competition," said Teefey, but credited the original idea of a fun competition to Alex Kortepeter, IISE President and a PurdueTHINK Director.

"IISE hosted its first case competition within the IE school last semester, but we decided to involve the two consulting organizations this time, turning it into a competition between the clubs," added Bazylzhanova.

Five teams participated, including two from IISE, two from PurdueTHINK, and one from Purdue Solutions. The winning IISE team included Bazylzhanova; Julia Monti, IISE Career Fair Chair and Purdue Solutions Project Manager; and Varun Raju, IISE Seniors Advisory Council, PurdueTHINK Project Manager and incoming Director of Strategic Development, and a Purdue Solutions Associate.

The PurdueTHINK team of John MaGee, Roselin Bains, and Nathan Mueller placed second, and another PurdueTHINK team of Dhruv Patel, Marek Davis, Jeff Radzik, and Quincy Smith placed third. 

Teefey said that the competition was a valuable and fun learning experience. "There are many case competitions in the spring that consulting firms will host and use for recruiting purposes, so this competition provided students with an opportunity to practice for that," she explained. "Also, it was a fun rivalry, since there are so many people in the multiple organizations and who have friends in the competing organizations."

The competition judges was judged by Dave Kotterman, IE Industry Relations Director; Charlene Sullivan, Krannert School of Management Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Associate Professor of Management; Kenneth Harling, Wilfrid University Visiting Professor; and Jeff Powers, retired IBM executive and Krannert School of Management Administrator and Instructor. About 90 people attended the event in Stewart Center.