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TCU Students Make Winning Impressions at Competitions in California and Minnesota

What do California and Minnesota have in common? Winning TCU students in their competitions. TCU teams placed in the final award winning categories in entrepreneurship and supply chain.  

May 06,  2015

By Elaine Cole

The Neeley School’s entrepreneurship program and supply chain management program are ranked among the best in the nation. Two teams of TCU students proved why at recent business competitions.

Russ Russell and Colton Pittman competed in the California Dreamin’ Business Plan Competition at Chapman University and won $2,000 as finalists among 30 schools invited to participate. Mark Branagh, James Glunt, Nicole Lawson and Paytin Specht won 4th place and $600 in the National Undergraduate Supply Chain and Operations Case Competition at the University of Minnesota, out of 16 top universities.

At the California Dreamin’ entrepreneurship competition, Russ and Colton won for their plan for NotebookU, which connects classmates with a student-only class page where they can ask questions, share notes and create workgroups to better communicate, manage and collaborate on projects.

“The competition is one that I will always remember, not just because of the prize money and the amazing connections we made, but because the opportunity has already helped us and NotebookU, and I have no doubt will continue to prove to be beneficial throughout my career,” Russ said.

The National Undergraduate Supply Chain and Operations Case Competition features students from top undergraduate supply chain and operations programs in the country. Teams compete in a 24-hour business case and present to a panel of business professionals. University of North Carolina won first place, Carlson School won second, Iowa State won third and TCU took fourth.

“I had researched the competition for nearly a year, so I knew the caliber of students invited is very high,” Paytin said. “Learning with and from the other schools was a very unique experience. I had also never been to Minneapolis, so having the chance to tour companies like 3M and CH Robinson gave me insight to businesses in other parts of the U.S.”

Nicole said that the two most important things she learned from the competition are “that you should never be afraid to ask questions, and confidence is a key factor in success.”

James said the TCU team was among the most professional and prepared. “We knew as soon as we finished the first round that we had knocked it out of the park,” he said. “We immediately began tweaking our presentation for the final round before even learning that we had officially moved on.”

The four TCU juniors were proud to be finalists in a field of seniors who had experience with multiple competitions.

“Winning is a testament to the hard work we did and the amount of training we received from the TCU supply chain department, especially Dr. Verghese and Mr. Dave Malenfant,” Paytin added. “Our performance proves that TCU students are every bit as smart and capable as supply chain students in other top programs across the country.”