Cal Poly Students Place Among Nation’s Best at a Supply Chain Competition

Cal Poly Students at Supply Chain Competition An interdisciplinary team of Cal Poly students took eighth place in the North American round of the Global Student Challenge, an annual supply chain finance competition hosted by the Supply Chain Finance Community on March 9 in Los Angeles.

The team of four competed in a timed business simulation where they aimed to maximize profits for a hypothetical company while balancing 200 variables including production needs, customer financing, marketing, loan financing and shipment deliverables while avoiding risk of supplier defaults and managing currency exchange changes.

Team members included industrial technology and packaging seniors Karan Singh (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and James MacMillan (Larkspur, Calif.); information systems senior Makenzie Lary (Thousand Oaks, Calif.); and marketing senior Michael Di Dio (San Ramon, Calif.). Cal Poly was the highest-placing undergraduate team out of 450 master’s-level and undergraduate teams in the North American competition. Industrial technology and packaging students Paige Topole (Mountain View, Calif.) and Atlanta Nguyen also helped Cal Poly’s team advance in previous rounds of the challenge.

“The competition really tested our effectiveness in communicating and decision making,” Lary said. “We had to pool all our existing knowledge that we learned at Cal Poly about finance, sales, operations and supply chain, and weigh the consequences of making certain decisions within the simulation.”

Cal Poly’s team assembled and qualified for the Global Student Challenge last fall after taking Professor Ahmed Deif’s Industrial Technology 410 course: Operations, Planning and Control, which included a Learn by Doing simulation exercise. The students placed among the top 10 percent of 150 teams in the Western United States regional competition held in February. The students advanced to the United States round, where the team placed among the top 16 teams.

For more information about the competition, visit