Supply Chain & Operations Case Competition Guidelines

Competition Format

This is a 24-hour case competition with cases released on a staggered basis on Friday and the competition following on Saturday.  The competition will occur in 2 rounds: the elimination round in the morning and the championship round in the afternoon.

In the elimination round, students are randomly split into 4 flights of 4-5 teams.  Each student presentation will be given a total of 30 minutes (starting at 9:00AM on Saturday morning), with 12 minutes of formal team presentation, followed up by 12 minutes of judges' Q&A period.  Following the Q&A period, students leave the room for a 6 minute judges' debrief.  At the end of the elimination round, judges will select the top team and an honorable mention team within each flight.  The top team in each flight will move on to the championship round in the afternoon.

In the championship round, each top team will be given a total of 40 minutes (starting at 1:00PM on Saturday), with 12 minutes of formal team presentation addressing addressing the judges' questions and comments from the elimination round, followed by up to 16 minutes of judges' Q&A period.  Following the Q&A period, students leave the room for a 10 minute judges' debrief.  The judges will select the 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, and 4th place teams, along with one single individual from any of the top teams as the Outstanding Individual Presenter.

Winning teams, Honorable Mention teams, and the Outstanding Individual Presenter will be announced at the Saturday awards ceremony.

Cash Prizes

Cash prizes totaling $8,000 are available due to the generosity of the corporate sponsors.  The top teams will receive cash prizes, with $4,000 awarded to the 1st place team, $2,000 to the 2nd place team,  $1,000 to the 3rd place team, $600 to the 4th place team, and $400 for an Outstanding Individual Presenter.  Individual checks are sent to an address of choice for each of the team members.

Team Composition

  • Team members are restricted to undergraduate students currently enrolled in their first four-year undergraduate program.
  • Teams must consist of exactly four (4) undergraduate students.  Due to space and cost restrictions, alternates are not allowed.  Each team may be accompanied by an academic advisor.  Under extenuating circumstances, e.g. hospitalization, illness, death in the family, the Faculty Director reserves the right to allow teams of less than four members to compete. 
  • Team members are to be ‘traditional’ undergraduate students.  The spirit of the ‘traditional’ undergraduate student is to exclude the 30+ year old student coming back for a degree after several years working as a supply chain business professional or with a consulting firm. 

Competition Rules

  • Once the case is released, teams are expressly prohibited from discussing or accepting assistance from any person outside their team until the competition concludes with the announcement of the top teams at the awards ceremony.  Any consulting about the case with non-team members (e.g., academic advisors, faculty, staff, student ambassadors, alumni, other students, etc.) through any channel (e.g., phone conversations, emails, texting, Zoom, Skype conversations, etc.) is not allowed.  Violations may result in disqualification of the team at the discretion of the Faculty Director.
  • For the elimination round, each team will submit their presentation materials e.g., PowerPoint deck no later than two hours ahead of their presentation time.  PowerPoint or PDF files are preferred.  No Google drive links or mac/apple files. Detailed instructions for submission will be sent out at a later date.
  • For the championship round, the presentation can be different from the elimination round to reflect the issues brought up by the judges' questions and comments.  Be aware there will be a mix of judges, some that did not hear the elimination round presentation and others did.  If the team changes the slide deck, please email the new slide deck 1 hour before presentation time to the person who will receive your elimination round presentation deck.
  • Presentations may consist of (but not limited to) screen sharing of PowerPoint presentations, excel spreadsheets, flip charts, document camera, etc.  
  • Teams are permitted to passively use any written resource including internet, journals, and textbooks.  Passive use entails no contact with individuals and no interaction with other individuals other than team members.
  • All team members are required to present roughly equivalent portions of the presentation.
  • To maintain anonymity for the judges during Saturday's competition day, teams are asked to not identify their university, their state, or not wear school colors.  During Saturday's competition, teams will be referred to only by team number.
  • Teams present their case solutions during their scheduled time slot (that will be announced during the case release for all teams for the elimination round and during the lunch time for the top teams for the championship round).
  • Due to the confidential nature of the case, no videotaping is allowed of the presentations.
  • Attendance at the elimination round is restricted to team members, the team's academic advisor, and designated Carlson personnel.
  • During the championship round, all participants with the exception of any team member from the top teams are welcome to attend.  No questions or comments are allowed from anyone but the judges.
  • The Faculty Director reserves the right to rule on issues arising during the competition.  Decisions by the Faculty Director will be final. 

Questions or Issues Arising During the Competition

Non-emergency questions may be directed to the Faculty Director, Professor Necati Ertekin,

Academic Advisors

  • The academic advisors are expressly asked to not provide any feedback or coaching of any kind until the competition concludes with the announcement of the winning teams at Saturday’s awards ceremony. 
  • Academic advisors are not allowed to ask questions or make comments during presentations.


  • Suggest student attire - business formal - suit and tie during Saturday competition day and awards dinner.  Business casual all other events.
  • Teams are encouraged to wear school colors at the opening reception, but not during the judging portions of the competition.

Evaluation Criteria

Judges are provided a rubric for evaluating the presentations.  However, judges are professionals in the field and may use the evaluation criteria as they see fit.  Decisions by the judges will be final.


Supply Chain & Operations Department