Johns Hopkins teams take top prizes at business analytics competition

For the second year in a row, a Carey Business School team has taken first place in the MIT Sloan Operations Simulation Competition, the "Olympics" of supply chain analytics, which attracts students from top-tier business schools

For the second consecutive year, a team of Johns Hopkins students from the Carey Business School took top prize at the annual MIT Sloan Operations Simulation Competition, held April 17-19 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A second Carey team captured third place.

The competition was the 16th of a global contest attracting participants from top business schools.

The formidable competition attracted 120 students from top business schools including Columbia Business School, Harvard Business School, London Business School, and the Yale School of Management. The Carey team won the $3,000 first-place prize in what is considered the toughest quantitative challenge for any business graduate student. Another Carey team, finishing third, was awarded $500.

Collage of people's faces

Image caption: Team Hoperator (left column, from top to bottom) included Trevor Hu, Candace Tang, and Tianhao Xu, all MS in Marketing Students. Team Nimbler (center column from top to bottom) was made up of students Kiana Li (MS in Marketing) and Xuming Zhang (Global MBA). Professor Tinglong Dai (right) served as faculty adviser to student teams.

The 48-hour challenge required participants to bail out a hypothetical near-bankrupt firm and subsequently make it as profitable as possible by revamping its supply chain, hiring and training employees, pricing in response to market intelligence, balancing product lines, investing in capacity, seeking financing from banks, streamlining inventory, and improving customer relations. The intensive experience called upon students' top-notch analytics, operations, and leadership skills, among others. Teams were ranked by their ending cash balances.

The winning Carey team, named Hoperator, included MS in Marketing program students Yetian "Trevor" Hu, Tianyue "Candice" Tang, and Tianhao Xu. They finished the online simulation with a cash balance of more than $19 million. The third-place team, dubbed Nimbler and including Global MBA student Xuming Zhang and MS in Marketing student Jiayang Li, finished at $17 million. All the other teams finished at $15 million or less.

"This competition is the Olympics of supply chain analytics," said Tinglong Dai, an associate professor of operations management and business analytics who has served as faculty adviser to Carey's MIT Sloan Competition teams for the past six years. Dai worked intensely with each team prior to the competition. "Our MBA and MS students have proven they are the top talents in supply chain and data analytics in this challenging time that needs those skills more than ever. They are ready for the post-COVID world of supply chains and represent the spirit of Carey—we build for what's next," he added.

In a congratulatory email to Dai, a simulation designer of the competition wrote, "Congratulations professor, to you, your students, and your school! This certainly speaks very well of the quality of the education at Johns Hopkins."

"Schools like MIT Sloan, Berkeley Haas, and Michigan Ross had dominated the No. 1 position for years, until our students finished No. 1 last year," said Dai. "And, we just did it again."