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Deloitte consultants collaborate with simulation competition students
Running a successful business is all about teamwork and collaboration. So it makes sense that consultants from Deloitte chose to team up with Missouri S&T students for a simulated business competition on the firm’s recent recruiting visit to campus.
“By partnering with the students, we’re able to enhance their academic experience, and at the same time they’re getting more familiar with what we do in terms of client services,” Kristin Mikelson, senior campus recruiting specialist for Deloitte, says. “We build those relationships with the students so that over the course of their college career, they see us multiple times. They get a very well-rounded idea of what they would be doing if they joined us full-time.”
Roel Harryvan, SAP engagement management director at Deloitte, says the firm’s two-day stay on campus in mid-April was a “wrap-up of the employee recruiting season.” The firm has started a “recruiting pathway” at S&T, hiring up to 10 recent graduates a year, according to Mikelson.
“Their technical background gives them an advantage,” Mikelson says of S&T students. “Having students who are interested in technology, and who can also bridge it with business application, is important.”
Eight consultants from Deloitte worked with one of six teams of three to five students as the teams navigated round three of the five-part simulation competition.
The competition asks student teams to use SAP, an enterprise resource planning computer program, to successfully run a simulated business. The simulation puts forth a general case that the teams must execute. For this simulation, the teams were given one type of product (muesli, a cereal-like breakfast product commonly found in Europe); six possible ingredients (oat, wheat, nut, raisin, blueberry, strawberry); and three potential markets in Germany (independent grocers, grocery stores, hypermarkets). Students use their technical capabilities and business knowledge to try to gain an advantage in the given marketplace.
“They are all running their own simulation of a company by distributing cereal,” explains Scott Neustadt, a junior in information science and technology and head of WeSpy Consulting, a fictional consulting firm that helps the student teams throughout the simulation competition. “They can control everything from distribution to the cereal recipes to the products. They have to order every piece of product and put it into a production line simulation. Then they watch how they’re doing in terms of sales.
“They can do everything that a real company can do,” he adds.
Eric Kase, technology consulting manager at Deloitte and Missouri S&T business management systems graduate, gives advice to team “Getamuseli.”
Roel Harryvan, SAP engagement management director at Deloitte, talks to Bonnie Wilt, a senior in engineering management, during the competition.
Each round of the competition lasts an hour in real time, with every two minutes equaling a day in the simulation, which adds up to 30 days, or a simulated month, per round. The competition is fierce and, at times, tense, with student teams hammering away at keyboards while Dr. Bih-Ru Lea, associate professor of business and information technology and simulation administrator, calls out how much time is left in the round about every 10 minutes, or the equivalent of five simulated days.
Business and information technology graduate students may take the simulation competition as a class – ERP 6120 Systems Configuration – while undergraduate students of any major can voluntarily participate.
Sam Holtmeier, a junior in information science and technology and member of the Epic Edibles team, is voluntarily participating in the competition for a second straight year.
“It’s been a learning experience, and a resume builder as well,” he says. “As far as value, I think it really reiterates what you’ve learned in class. You really learn the processes.”