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Business Badgers Win KOHLER Undergraduate Wisconsin Supply Chain Cup

By Wisconsin School of Business | Photography by Paul L. Newby II

April 22, 2024

Kohler Cup participants and judges pose by Grainger water wall
Participants, guests, and judges pose for a photo at Grainger Hall during the KOHLER Undergraduate Wisconsin Supply Chain Cup.

Business Badgers swept the fifth annual KOHLER Undergraduate Wisconsin Supply Chain Cup, an undergraduate case competition sponsored by KOHLER and held recently at Grainger Hall at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Wisconsin School of Business. Team Echo, comprised of WSB students Lilly Polakott, Lily Peterson, Ryan Drew, and Zach Halter, competed with five other Wisconsin teams—Marquette University, UW–Eau Claire, UW–Oshkosh, UW–Superior, and UW–Whitewater—to take first place: a $2,000 prize courtesy of KOHLER.

There was also another reason to celebrate: The competition was the first one held since 2020, right before the pandemic hit.

“The level of supply chain talent coming out of Wisconsin universities keeps growing in our state,” says Pete Lukszys, distinguished lecturer in the Department of Operations and Information Management and a faculty affiliate with the Grainger Center for Supply Chain Management.

“This case competition has been a wonderful way to showcase top Wisconsin student talent at UW system and private schools. I have enjoyed seeing this start at UW–Madison, where we first hosted a small competition in 2016, and seeing the event rotate location around the state, returning back again to Madison this year.”

Blake Bishop, assistant director of WSB’s Grainger Center for Supply Chain Management, says hosting the event also embodies the Wisconsin Idea: the belief that learning extends beyond the confines of the classroom.

“We wanted to revive this competition and offer a great opportunity for Wisconsin students. Schools like UW–Superior have amazing supply chain programs and we are happy to include all our colleagues and students from across the state.”

View moments from the competition as captured by WSB photographer Paul L. Newby II:

First-place winners Team Echo stand on the stage of the Plenary Room for a picture. From left to right: Lilly Polakott, Lily Peterson, Ryan Drew, and Zach Halter. All participants worked on the same case study problem, which focused on expanding warehouse operations for Goodwill Industries. Written by the Council of Supply Chain Professionals, the case used real-world data and was given to all student competitors 10 days before the start of the competition.
WSB student Lily Peterson addresses the audience during Team Echo’s presentation. Peterson started participating in case competitions in 2023 with the National Supply Chain Management competition, where her team won second place and she personally received the Outstanding Individual Presenter award. She credits the faculty and staff of the Grainger Center for Supply Chain Management with “showing me unwavering confidence and guiding me through developing my public speaking, networking, and critical thinking skills,” Peterson says. “The success of students from the Grainger Center, including myself, is evident in the doors these experiences have opened. Personally, it was essential to securing my upcoming internship as a Summer Associate at Boston Consulting Group, where I hope to focus on supply chain through strategy consulting.”
Judge Sean Ketter, a WSB Executive Advisory Board member and vice president, global procurement and supply chain at Oshkosh Corporation, poses a question to Team Delta. All teams were required to analyze the case study and prepare a 20-minute presentation in advance of the competition.
UW–Eau Claire student Brian Salinas leads Team Foxtrot during the KOHLER Undergraduate Wisconsin Supply Chain Cup. Schools were limited to one team per institution, with a minimum of three individuals per team and maximum of four.