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Kellogg School students, from left, Igor Vynarchuk, Rohit Sood, Jeremy Brans, and Andrew Cromey earned a second-place finish at the ninth annual International Operations Case Competition.

Kellogg team takes second in operations case competition

By Kari Richardson

11/1/2004 - Students from the Kellogg School of Management tapped their operations insights to garner a second-place win at the ninth annual International Operations Case Competition, held at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business on Nov. 5 and 6.

The competitors, which included teams from the MIT Sloan School of Management, Wharton, the University of Michigan and other top schools, tackled a costly real-life problem for transportation company Union Pacific: how to make sure train crews arrive on time at the locations where they are needed.

The Kellogg students’ recommendations included reducing the bargaining power of contractors that transport crews to and from work locations and introducing a real-time information system so companies have more incentives to deliver crews on time. For their efforts, the team earned a $2,000 cash prize.

“We weren’t expected to resolve the case, but to reduce the problems associated with delays,” said second-year Kellogg student and team member Igor Vynarchuk. In addition to Vynarchuk, the team consisted of Rohit Sood and Andrew Cromey (both ’06) and Jeremy Brans ’05. Robert Wyssbrod ’05 was unable to attend the competition in Pittsburgh, but served as team coach.

The Kellogg School group practiced for a month to prepare for the two-day competition, drawing on their understanding of supply chain management and operations strategy. The team’s diversity served as a strength, Vynarchuk said. Members’ home countries included Ukraine, India, Canada and the United States, and they represented several different Kellogg School programs.

“Operations work will play a significant role in all [the team members’] futures, because all of us enjoy it,” Vynarchuk said.

Students from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina won the competition’s first place award.