Student business team comes out on top in Northeast competition

From left to right: Adam Chojnowski, Andrew Vastardis, Kamalika Sharma, Stephen Murray, James Damiano, Ethan Stout, Timia Thomas, Sarah McMekin, Bianca Rodriguez.
From left to right: Adam Chojnowski, Andrew Vastardis, Kamalika Sharma, Stephen Murray, James Damiano, Ethan Stout, Timia Thomas, Sarah McMekin, Bianca Rodriguez.

By Lauren Lavelle

Nine students from Rider’s College of Business Administration took home a second and third place win in the first Northeast U.S.A. Inter-Collegiate Enterprise Resource Planning simulation (ERPsim) Competition on Nov. 11.

Aimed at providing students with a real-life approach to business techniques and models, ERPsim competitions usually consist of simulation games using Systems Applications and Products (SAP) software, a popular global enterprise that is used worldwide in over 100 countries.

“The way we use it in the game is very similar to how it is used in the real world,” said junior global supply chain major and ERPsim competition team member Adam Chojnowski. “We’re trying to sell the most of the same product as the other teams so we make a forecast of the stuff we need for the game. The SAP software will then generate the raw materials we need to make those products so we will be able to request whatever we want to produce. It goes through, and we now have the inventory.”

Junior accounting major and ERPsim competition team member Sarah McMekin appreciated the healthy competition and enjoyed taking on a leadership role within her team.

“We were just running a simple company but playing against other teams made it a lot more complex,” said McMekin. “For example, I was in charge of setting prices for products and it was hard at times to keep our competitive edge against the other teams.”

Along with its extensive organizational skills, SAP software provides several other notable perks that give students a true business experience.

“Right on the SAP, we set up the price we want for the product and we can see how the product does,” said Chojnowski. “All the teams were getting the raw materials, producing what they felt was needed and trying to sell it. Whoever had the best company value and net profit got placed.”

After a rough start, Rider won second and third place wins against other institutions such as Delaware State University, Penn State University, Widener University and the University of Delaware.

“I feel really proud of my team’s victories,” said McMekin. “The first two rounds were a little difficult and we had a rough time figuring out what we were going to accomplish to make our company successful. After the first rounds, we finally found a strategy that worked for us and ended up coming in second place in the final round.”

Chojnowski, who originally heard about the competition through his Information Systems for Supply Chain Management class, feels the competition is beneficial for business students because it may give them a boost when searching for jobs and internships.

“A lot of people have told me the software we’re using looks identical to how it will be in the workplace,” said Chojnowski. “Businesses love to know you know how to use this software. If you can tell any sort of profession in the business world that you know how to use SAP, that’s nothing but good news for you.”

Overall, McMekin is glad she participated and hopes business students continue to take part in ERPsim competitions in the future.

“I know a lot more about ERPsim than I thought,” she said. “I decided to take part in this competition because it allowed me to take the skills I learned in class and apply them to a real world situation. It’s a great opportunity and I recommend it to any student who is interested.”

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