High-profile partnership between CITT and MBA games increases awareness of supply chain logistics in future business leaders

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TORONTO, Ont.— Since 1988, the Canadian MBA Games continue to draw hundreds of future business leaders who compete with each other for top spots in three categories—academics, sport and spirit. Lasting a weekend and drawing MBA students from over 20 universities across Canada, the Canadian MBA Games bring together the best and brightest to put their skills to the test, said CITT in a release.

This year, the games took place from January 4-5, and were hosted by the Schulich School of Business at York University. Research continues to find that financial performance of businesses is more closely linked to uninterrupted supply chain operations than any other major factor.

“CITT, known in industry for expertise and thought leadership in SCL, was tapped for a second consecutive year to develop the Strategy case study with a focus on supply chain logistics,” noted the release.

The partnership seems like a perfect fit. Senior management in many industries have noted the lack of human resources and top talent entering the supply chain logistics field, and, as Barry Prentice, Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Asper School of Business observed: “We are undertrained in general. The education [and enrolment] in supply chain transportation economics and logistics management at the university level in this country is less than religious studies.”

That figure is especially daunting in light of the looming exodus of talent as the baby boomers begin to retire.

“It’s a win-win for us” says CITT President Catherine Viglas. “We build awareness in a large audience of future business leaders about the exciting discipline of supply chain logistics—a career they might not have considered. And they get an inside look at a field where there’s huge demand for talent, especially in leadership roles.” Viglas added “sometimes the students don’t know how challenging and rewarding supply chain logistics can be until they work on the case study.”

CITT’s case study in the ‘Strategy’ subject area challenged students to build a 3-year business plan for a domestic brewery, with a focus on getting lean and remaining competitive in a fickle market. The case was developed by Warren Sarafinchan, CCLP (CITT-Certified Logistics Professional), who also sat on the judging panel. The 2014 winners were the delegates from Western University’s Richard Ivey School of Business, who were able to skillfully tackle the daunting case, addressing vital SCL areas such as transportation and warehousing costs, inventory carrying costs, duties, tariffs, and lead time implications.

It can be said of nearly every business that theory and textbooks can only teach so much. One of the challenges for students competing in the MBA Games is that they’re faced with cases that mirror business problems they’ll encounter in workforce.

“Another thing that makes the MBA games such a great fit for CITT is our mutual belief in case studies” said Viglas. “We firmly believe in harnessing the power of case studies. Not only are they practical, but they really help prepare students for the business world. And any mistakes they make are kept in the classroom. Whether it’s students like the ones competing at the Games or an industry veteran, cases really sharpen skills in tangible ways.”

As more businesses look to hire or plan succession with talent that can help them immediately and with little on-the-job training, employees with designations that require case-based learning are increasingly sought out by human resources departments. 

“What’s really exciting is seeing so many business students here become intrigued by the field of supply chain logistics. They’re seeing that it’s a profession that keeps the world turning. There’s a reason we’ve seen such an increase in demand for the CCLP designation” said Viglas. “And based on the high quality of the work at the MBA Games, it looks like the field is going to be in good hands.”

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