Four University of Minnesota students took first place at Ingersoll Rand's 2014 North American Case Competition, "The Internet of Things" on April 16 at the company's headquarters in Davidson, N.C. The students' winning idea involved integrating smartphone technology into Ingersoll Rand's Club Car golf carts to improve safety. The judges, which included VP of Global Engineering Leandre Adifon, were so impressed by the proposal, they invited the team to share their idea with Club Car Division leadership in the coming months.
"Ingersoll Rand leadership treated us as equals, and were very personal in their interactions with us," says Carlson School junior and team member Justin Schlitz. "The case itself was highly challenging and forced us to quickly expand our intellectual boundaries and general comfort zones."
The competition tasked student teams from 12 business schools to apply sensor and communication technologies to enhance the value of an existing Ingersoll Rand product or service. The competing teams first presented their case using a 15-minute video submission and accompanying written summary. Judges then selected two finalist teams from Michigan State University and the University of Minnesota, and paired them with peer mentors from Ingersoll Rand to prepare for the final round of competition. The winner was chosen based on the project's innovation, implementation, solution feasibility, and depth of analysis.
"It was great to propose a creative solution to a real-world challenge facing one of our major corporate partners," says Carlson School junior and team member J.P. Woog.
The U of M team was comprised of Marketing and Management Information Systems junior Justin Schlitz, Supply Chain and Operations Management and Mandarin junior J.P. Woog, Finance sophomore Alex Cherucheril, and Mechanical Engineering sophomore Mike Swenson. Each team member won a $1,000 scholarship for taking first place.