A Win-Win Opportunity

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March 3, 2014

By Sarah Marshall, ‘15 

During the fall semester, Bradley University students from Foster College of Business and Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology teamed up with Caterpillar young professionals and Six Sigma Black Belts to compete in the second annual Caterpillar Case Competition. 

Eight teams participated in the event, which focused on a complex, real life project for Caterpillar. In preparation for the competition, students participated in workshops focused on Six Sigma methodology, presentation skills, time management and etiquette. This knowledge, in addition to engineering and financial skills, was critical to the competition. 

“This is an incredible piece of collaboration between Caterpillar and Bradley,” said John Engdahl, Interim Assistant Dean for Convergence of Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology. “Students learn to work together alongside Caterpillar professionals, and it also molds into our convergence philosophy of engineering and business students working together to solve a problem with both technology and business tactics.” 

Four of the eight teams were eliminated after the first round of competition, and a winner was chosen from the final four. Students representing the top three teams also received cash prizes. Industrial engineering students Lakshmi Narsimha Vadlamani and Kevin Wollscheid, and accounting student Alexander Mulligan, represented the winning team and received $1,000 each. 

This experience-driven challenge allowed students to better understand their future roles as industry leaders and helped them learn valuable skills they can implement in their future careers. Not only did they receive the chance to help solve relevant problems, Caterpillar could choose to implement their solutions, making the students working members of the Caterpillar community. 

“There is so much potential in these synergies in students and our young Caterpillar professionals,” said Sharon Y. Kim, accountant for Caterpillar’s Global Information Services Division. “This case competition is a great way to show students what Caterpillar is – a world class company in your town and it also helps develop these students into young professionals.”