Contest requiring analytical, academic skills

Quamrul Ahsan | Thursday, 6 August 2020

Supply Chain Alliance, a supply chain club, has successfully arranged an inter university business case competition - SCA Upstream.  The competition was designed to enhance the supply chain knowledge of the young bright minds and help them understand real life business challenges as well as find innovative solutions for the post Covid-19 gripped business world. The competition received tremendous responses from students all across the country as more than 300 teams registered, each team consisting of three or four members.

The competition consisted of two rounds. The first round was further divided into two parts. The participating teams had to make a PPT file and a video/infographic to present their solutions. The judges, hailing from different leading industries of the country, performed the task of evaluating all the solutions thoroughly and finished up deciding the top 10 teams for the finale. It was an intense battle and many teams contested each other neck to neck. But ultimately the very bests prevailed.

For the final round, the participants had to prepare both a PPT file and a video to explain their solutions to the judges. Based on reviewing the content of the solutions, the judges prepared a specific set of questionnaire for each team. And then came the big day, the day of finale. On July 27, the teams were made to appear in front of the judges and defend their solutions, through an online Q/A session. The judges' panel included Dr Yousuf Kamal, the club moderator and Dr Nasrin Akter, the club advisor, industry leaders like Mohammad Rashedul Alam, head of supply chain, bKash Limited, Mohammad Zia Uddin, head of supply chain service, Reckitt Benckiser, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka cluster, Mohammad Habibur Rahman, director, Supply Chain, Marico Bangladesh, Md Humayun Kabir Mollah, head of supply chain management, Summit Communication Limited.

"Although supply chain management emerged as a specific subject of interest in the 1980s and started making its presence felt greatly all across the globe during the 2000s, it has become almost compulsory for businesses to have a designated department for it in the 21st century," Mohammad Rashedul Alam remarked. Mohammad Habibur Rahman also expressed his concern, as there lies a wide gap between the practical industry knowledge and the mere academic courses that the students are taught, and also indicated a wind of change, as initiatives like SCA Upstream can really help to minimise some of it. Mohammad Zia Uddin and Md Humayun Kabir Mollah agreed with these statements and also ensured to stretch their full support for the future endeavours of the club. The judges appreciated the efforts of the students as they came up with innovative and feasible solutions in the face of complex problems that required the use of superior analytical, academic, and reasoning skills. The club moderator, Dr Yousuf Kamal had been guiding the club ever since its inception and would like to see it organising more events like this in future.

All the finalist teams left their mark, but some of them were simply too good to be called just finalists. Starting with the Hill Risers, this team belonging from Faculty of Business Studies of University of Dhaka handled the judges' questions well and were declared as the second runner-up. Team Bizmaster from IBA of University of Dhaka nearly got the best of all the other teams and came very close to the glory, as they finished up in the first runner up spot. However, the team that caught everyone's attention, was F&B4 Backbenchers, from Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP). This team battled them all out and stood as the undefeated conqueror, as the first ever champion of the first ever season of SCA Upstream.

For Tahmid from Team F&B4 Backbenchers, it was more like getting closer to a self-fulfilling prophecy of winning two competitions in the year 2020. However, for Nahian and Sadia, it was just pure perseverance and hard work that paid off whereas their teammate Sajeed describes himself lucky as he ended up hitting the bulls' eye in his very first attempt.

And just like Sajeed, this was the first national competition of Team Hillrisers as a whole. They candidly spoke of their very little knowledge of supply chain prior to coming into this competition, but their ability of deep research, willingness to learn, and quick adaptability sealed their fate among the top three teams.

Team Bizmaster described their journey as an extraordinary experience with the opportunity of showcasing their knowledge and also learning key aspects of supply chain along the way. The pool of money of Tk 10,000 will be distributed among the top three teams. The champion will get Tk 5,000, runners up Tk  3,000 and second runners up Tk 2,000.

The event was supported by contributions from Kamal Trading Corporation as the title sponsor, Torun as the youth content partner, Financial Express and Our Time as online media partner.

The president of the club, Abir Ahmed Rabbi, expressed his gratitude to the participants as well as the judges for their coordinated efforts to make the event successful.

Supply Chain Alliance, although was established in early 2020, has been able to make considerable efforts in the endeavour of enriching students with supply chain-based knowledge and reducing their gap with the professionals in terms of looking more into the real life business situation.

The club plans to continue its work further and organise the flagship event SCA Upstream even bigger next year.

The writer is studying Bachelor of Business Administration at University of Dhaka. He can be reached at quamrulhasan47@gmail.com