2019 IBF Case Competition - Bryant team poses for a photo
The winning Bryant team who competed in Institute of Business Forecasting and Planning (IBF) New England Chapter Case Competition, from left to right: Faculty Advisor Teresa McCarthy Ph.D., Katherine Connelly ’19, Michelle Chen ’19, Syeda Zaidi ’19, Anthony Deluca ’19. As part of the innovative applied learning experience at Bryant, students can participate in intercollegiate academic competitions.
Students excel and learn in real-world academic competitions
Jul 17, 2019, by Staff Writer

Throughout the academic year, Bryant students participating in intercollegiate academic competitions earned more than accolades for their successful performances – they earned knowledge and experience, and further developed their drive to solve problems. 

In these competitions, which are part of the innovative applied learning experience at Bryant, student teams compete against other schools, including Ivy League institutions, regionally, nationally, and internationally. They apply knowledge gained in the classroom to develop creative solutions for real-world problems that organizations face. Solutions are evaluated by panels of judges – experienced professionals and renowned C-suite executives – who also quiz students in rigorous question-and-answer sessions.

“I think Bryant is a community that really challenges you. And I think that really brought me to the competition. ...  I was like: ‘This is a challenge. I want to win.’” 

To compete requires a mastery of course concepts and theories, sharp time management, and spot-on presentation skills. And it also means learning: Students who compete report learning an incredible amount, sparked by a competitive spirit and a willingness to take on a challenge.

Said Michelle Chen ’19, “I think Bryant is a community that really challenges you. And I think that really brought me to the competition because when I saw the competition, I was like: ‘This is a challenge. I want to win.’” Chen studied International Business, Global Supply Chain Management, and Chinese, and is now a Retail Sales Analyst at FGX International. 

Putting knowledge to the test, and learn

Chen is a member of the Bryant team that won this year’s IBF Case Competition, which focused on forecasting and sales and operations planning. Students had 3.5 hours to analyze processes and data, then provide solutions for a case presented by the company Escalade Sports. “It was cool to really put all of what I learned in school into an actual competition, utilizing what I learned. It shows that I actually knew what I was doing.” Learning played an equal role: “To me, the main challenge of the case was actually trying to figure out the difference between planning and forecasting.”

“The benefit of the Bryant experience is that it’s project-oriented, so [students] tend to have a better approach to these sorts of challenges." 

Likewise, Trevor Hazelwood ’21, a Data Science major and member of the Bryant team that won this year’s DataFest, said the event “was an amazing opportunity. I learned so much being able to work with a real data set and apply the skills I have learned over the past couple years to a real issue.” Trevor and his teammates (who are majoring in Applied Mathematics and Statistics) had 48 hours to analyze a large data set to understand how fatigue impacts player performance, which lacks a definitive measure.

Bryant faculty advisors for the competitions say the learning experience at Bryant may offer its students a competitive edge. Alicia Lamere, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mathematics, said, “The benefit of the Bryant experience is that it’s project-oriented, so [students] tend to have a better approach to these sorts of challenges. In the Mathematics department, our courses feature projects where they have to think through a project from start to finish.”

Teresa McCarthy, Global Supply Chain Management Program Director, agrees. “The rigor of our program requires students to really know and understand how to apply supply chain concepts in industry. We know that understanding both theory and application is required to succeed in supply chain.” 

Competition roundup

Here's a sample of competitions Bryant competed in: 

  • College Fed Challenge – Boston: In this year’s competition, Bryant competed against schools from around New England, including Ivy League institutions such as Harvard and Yale. The challenge was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, where teams had to present an overview of the current state of the economy, provide an economic forecast, and issue well-supported monetary policy recommendations.  

  • DataFest: At this year's contest, held regionally by the American Statistical Association, the Bryant team competed against Bridgewater State University, Stonehill College, and UMass-Dartmouth. Teams had 48 hours to analyze data provided by the Canadian Sport Institute, comprising of 1.1 million entries across 56 variables and 4 data sets, including data from trackers on uniforms and GPS data. Teams needed to provide a better understanding of how player fatigue impacts player performance, for which the Bryant team won the Best Insight Award. 

  • G.A.M.E. Forum: Seven of the student portfolio managers of the Bryant Archway Investment Fund attended the G.A.M.E. Forum, an annual conference focused on student-managed funds, in New York in March 2019. They attended panel sessions featuring well-known people from a wide variety of firms in the investment management industry. They presented the Archway Investment Fund’s equity and fixed income portfolios, and reviewed performance for calendar year 2018. Although the Archway Fund did not win any awards this year, the Bryant students made a positive impression on the judges. More than 75 universities, including international teams from as far away as Australia, attended the 2019 forum. 

  • IBF Case Competition: Five teams of students from Bryant University, Northeastern University, and Bentley University participated in the first-ever Institute of Business Forecasting and Planning (IBF) New England Chapter Case Competition on the topic of forecasting and sales and operations planning. The Bryant team won the competition with their solution for a case provided by Escalade Sports focusing on people, process, technology, and quantitative analysis.

  • National Financial Plan Competition: Held by the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (IARFC), Bryant competed against universities across the country. This year, participants were given a fictional case study and asked to produce a financial plan.

  • NISC/ICSC: Bryant’s Sales Team competed in the 2019 Northeast Intercollegiate Sales Competition (NISC), hosted by Bryant, as well as the International Collegiate Sales Competition (ICSC), hosted by Florida State University. At NISC, the Bryant team won all the foreign-language speed sell contests and tied with Southern New Hampshire University for fourth place in the overall competition. Members of the team also competed in ICSC with 86 colleges and universities, placing 12th among the field, with Nicholas Garrigan ’19 receiving ninth place individually.

  • Yale University International Policy Competition: In this year's competition, students from Bryant University competed against 300 other participants to act as a policy maker and in 12 hours deliver a full policy proposal and a formal presentation. The issue this year focused on conflict in the South China Sea, for which Bryant provided a proposal on issues of conflict resolution and regional security.

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