The team solved an operations problem for Lindt & Sprüngli
They say that victory is sweet, and for five Professional Evening MBA (PEMBA) students at Boston University School of Management, it’s not only sweet—it tastes like milk chocolate. The five—Juliana Beauvais, Bobby Mclaughlin, Ram Meyyappan, Lauren Murphy, and Renata Shypailo, also known as the Glooper Troopers—clinched the School’s inaugural PEMBA Case Competition, held from November 15-16, 2014, in collaboration with Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Sprüngi.
Supported by Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Ken Freeman and organized by Professors Erik Molander and Patricia Hambrick, the competition was the first of its kind, specifically engaging the School’s part-time MBA community and offering its students a chance to showcase their abilities in front of top executives.
“It was amazing to be able to present to the CEO of Lindt and VP of operations and have our hard work over the two days acknowledged by them,” Mclaughlin said. “Opportunities like this are seldom available to part-time MBAs at any school, and I was really impressed with the organization of the entire event and how BU dedicates resources to part-time students.”
Together, Mclaughlin and his teammates were the “Glooper Troopers,” which is a nod to Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, according to Meyyappan. He said the team was cohorted together last year and, ironically, Augustus Gloop had been an inside joke from one of the team’s finance classes. “It felt only appropriate to use him again in a chocolate competition.”
The Glooper Troopers went up against five other cleverly named PEMBA teams in the competition: Beyond Compare, Brain Conche, Pythis, Sweet Science, and Seal Team Six (Wonka Warriors).
The 32 students were faced with an operations challenge: As Lindt USA continues to expand (the company acquired Russell Stover in July 2014), the company doesn’t want to lose its entrepreneurial spirit, but seeks to build a platform of shared services so that its management team can focus on exploiting local differences that more traditional firms would miss. The students were then asked what services should be included in this platform, such as HR, finance, logistics, and brand marketing, whether this shared model could speed time to market and flexibility to meet localized market needs, and what the appropriate governance mechanism is to manage the boundary between shared services and localized needs.
Glooper Troopers found that running three distinct, siloed companies in the same sector would not likely be effective for Lindt & Sprüngi USA. Consolidation of some operations seemed to be the obvious solution to the team, and marketing—a strength for Lindt—didn’t seem to be the best area to start regarding shared services, according to Beauvais. What’s more, she noted, given that Lindt has its own “bean-to-bar” production, the team didn’t want to focus on either purchasing or operations.
Knowing that the company has a longstanding decentralized culture, Murphy said the team recognized that a shared services model would be a major shift, and that communication and marketing for internal-change management would be as important as the actual implementation itself. In conducting their research and preparing their pitch for the judges, she said the Glooper Troopers wanted to focus on the “why”—why they felt Lindt would benefit from a shared services model—instead of the “how.”
“The competition gave me the invaluable opportunity to use knowledge from all of the classes I have taken in the PEMBA program and leverage that knowledge in approaching a real-world problem,” Mclaughlin said.
Not to mention, “as chocolate fans, it was interesting to get a crash course on the industry itself,” Shypailo added. “During the holiday season, each of us has a newfound appreciation for chocolate while doing our shopping.”
November 11, 2011—Boston University School of Management once again placed 1st in Boston and 4th in New England in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2011 ranking of part-time MBA programs in the United States. This is the third consecutive time that Businessweek has ranked Boston University’s Professional Evening MBA Program #1 in Boston.
The ranking is based on separate measures of student satisfaction, academic quality, and post-graduation outcomes.
Among Boston evening MBAs, graduates of BU’s Professional Evening MBA Program:
- Reported the highest average salary increase, with 60% of recent graduates reporting an average increase of 37.9%.
- Gave the School of Management the highest student satisfaction rating in Boston.
- Gave their fellow students a rating of “A” in caliber of classmates (the only Boston MBA program to do so).
“Our reputation for full-time quality in the Professional Evening MBA Program attracts exceptional students from diverse backgrounds and industries, which enhances the classroom experience for everyone,” said Ken Freeman, Allen Questrom Professor and Dean, Boston University School of Management.”The part-time curriculum leverages all the School’s strengths, including a world-class faculty, multiple options for specialization, and the resources of a major research university, preparing our graduates so they may provide immediate value to their organizations, their communities, and the world.”
Full coverage of Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2011 ranking of part-time MBA programs can be found here.