Supply Chain & Operations Case Competition Guidelines

Competition Format

24-hour case competition with cases released on a staggered basis on Friday with competition on Saturday.  Teams are assigned to morning flights by random draw.  Presentation time slots are scheduled every half hour on Saturday morning – e.g., 9:00, 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, and 11:00 am.  Presentations consist of 12 minutes of formal presentation followed by 12 minutes for judge’s Q & A.  The top team in each flight of the morning round goes on to compete in the afternoon round.  Afternoon round consists of 12 minutes of formal presentation followed by up to 16 minutes for judges’ Q & A.  Winning teams are announced at the Saturday awards ceremony. 

Cash Prizes

Cash prizes totaling $7,400 are available due to the generosity of the corporate sponsors.  Monetary awards, split equally among the four team members are made to the top teams.  1st place team receives $4,000, 2nd place $2,000, and 3rd place $1,000.  Honorable Mention teams from the morning flights are recognized at the Saturday awards ceremony, but with no dollar award.  A single individual is selected as Outstanding Individual from the afternoon round receives $400.  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. 
  • Once the case is released, students may not consult with any non-team members during the team preparation, or on competition day until the competition concludes with the announcement of the top teams at the awards ceremony.  No consulting about the case with academic advisors, faculty, staff, student ambassadors, alumni, other students, etc.  Any contact about the case such as phone conversations, emails, texting, zoom, Skype conversations, etc., with non-team members are not allowed.  Violations may result in disqualification of the team at the discretion of the Faculty Director.
  • Teams are permitted to utilize any written resource, internet, industry journals, academic textbooks, etc.  Teams are expressly prohibited from discussing or accepting assistance from any person outside their team.  Passive use of the internet to access information is permitted.  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. 
  • Suggested student attire – business formal – suit and tie during Saturday competition day and awards dinner.  Business casual at all other events. 

Presentations - Morning Flights and Afternoon Championship Round

  • To maintain anonymity for the judges during Saturday’s competition day, teams are asked to not identify their university, their state, or wear school colors.  During Saturday’s competition, teams are referred to by team number.  Teams are encouraged to wear school colors at the Opening Reception and the Awards Ceremony, but not during the judging portions of the competition.  
  • Each team will submit their presentation materials – e.g., PowerPoint deck no later than two hours ahead of their presentation time. This is for distribution to the judges for the morning flights and the afternoon championship round.  PowerPoint or PDF files preferred.  No Google drive links or mac/apple files. Detailed instructions for submission will be sent out at a later date.

          Morning Flights

  • Teams are assigned by random draw into morning flights.  Teams present their recommendations during their scheduled time slot.  A panel of judges consisting of business and academic professionals select the top team and an honorable mention from each of the morning flights.  The top team from each flight continues on to the championship round in the afternoon and a full panel of judges.  The honorable mention teams are announced at the awards ceremony. 
  • Morning flight presentations consist of up to 12 minutes of formal team presentation followed by up to 12 minutes of judge’s question & answer period.  Teams must monitor their own times to stay within the 12-minute time frame.  Teams finishing the presentation portion prior to the 12 minutes go directly to the 12-minute judge’s Q&A period.  The zoom room is cleared for judges’ deliberation and debrief. 
  • Morning flight presentations are closed to all but designated Carlson School personnel.  Due to the confidential nature of the case, no videotaping is allowed of the presentations.  No coaching or feedback of any kind is allowed until the awards are announced at Saturday’s awards ceremony. 
  • Presentations may consist of (but not limited to) screen sharing of PowerPoint presentations, excel spreadsheets, flip charts, document camera, etc. 

    Afternoon Championship Round
  • The top teams present to a combined panel of judges in the afternoon round.  Afternoon championship round consists of 12-minute presentation, up to 16-minute judges’ Q&A, clear the room for a judges’ deliberation and debrief.  Presentation time slots based on timing of morning flight presentation.  Earlier teams in morning flights present in the earlier time slots of the afternoon championship round. 
  • Teams are expected to address the judges’ questions from the morning round as part of their afternoon championship round presentation.  The presentation can change from the morning flight to reflect the issues brought up from the judges’ questions and comments.  Be aware there will be a mix of judges, some that did not hear the morning flight presentation and others that did.  If the team changes the slide deck, please email the new slide deck two hours before presentation time to the person who received your morning presentation deck for distribution to judges. 
  • Afternoon championship round presentations scheduled every 40 minutes; e.g., 1:00, 1:40, 2:20, 3:00 pm. 
  • During the afternoon 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 Steve (Dr. H) Huchendorf,, 952 212-5054. 

Academic Advisors

  • Once the case has been distributed, teams are not allowed any type of coaching or consulting of live non-team member persons until the competition concludes with the announcement of the winning teams at Saturday’s awards ceremony. 
  • 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. 
  • Attendance in morning rounds is restricted to team members, the team’s academic advisor, and designated Carlson personnel.  Due to the current and confidential nature of the Case, video recordings are not allowed.  Academic advisors are not allowed to ask questions or make comments during presentations.
  • All are welcome, including all academic advisors, to attend the afternoon round except for the team members of the top teams competing in the afternoon round.  The room is cleared of all with the exception of designated Carlson personnel in between presentations to allow for judges’ debrief and deliberation.

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