They’re All about the Business of Running a Company

A team of RIC students will put their business acumen to the test as participants in the 2017 APICS Northeast District Student Case Competition next month in Albany, N.Y.

Since 1957 APICS (American Production and Inventory Control Society) has been the nation’s flagship professional association to train and certify employees at businesses about the tenets of supply chain management, from sales and production to operations planning and scheduling.

“APICS also offers scholarships and guidance to business management majors. Our participation in this case competition will not only strengthen our résumés, but it will give us extra practice,’’ said Lissa Almanzar, a business management major. “I think this is a door that allows more students exposure in the business world.’’

RIC Associate Professor of Management Paul Jacques agreed.

“APICS is one of the few organizations that puts students in direct contact with people who are knowledgeable about management,’’ he said.

Almanzar learned about APICS while working on an honors project last spring. Jacques encouraged her to set up an APICS student chapter, which received Student Community Government Inc. approval last month.

Almanzar and three other students will comprise RIC’s team: Keren Almanzar, a RIC arts major; Jennifer Atkinson, a marketing major; and Darlington Teameh, an accounting major.

“The team will be charged with establishing a business plan for a virtual company and making decisions to save it from financial ruin,’’ Almanzar said. Two rounds of the competition call for team members to submit business plans in a virtual fashion; two additional rounds will be carried out on site at the competition on March 3-4. The team that presents a Power Point presentation that racks up the highest return on investment will win $3,600 in cash plus a trip to San Antonio, Texas, to compete in the 2017 APICS International Conference.

Atkinson said she thinks she’ll be a valuable asset to the team. “I interned at RIDOT [Rhode Island Department of Transportation], where I became familiar with lean management, which is the process of making a business more efficient so you’re eliminating waste to increase value,’’ she said.

Keren Almanzar said her contribution will be to provide innovative approaches to business. “As someone who doesn’t know much about business, I can present some creative solutions from an artist’s viewpoint,’’ she said.

Jacques is enthusiastic about RIC’s collaboration with APICS because it “provides practical applications about operations management.’’

“The opportunity is unique in that APICS offers a glimpse into the professional world, leveraging what students have seen in the classroom,’’ he said. “It also can open doors for jobs. And that’s not lip service, especially when we can showcase our own [students] in a competition like this.’’

Although RIC students are participating in the contest for the first time, Lissa Almanzar said she’s confident the team will fare well.

“I have this feeling that it will be a great experience,’’ she said. “If our team ranks high, I think it will draw more students to seek membership in our group.’’