Mick Ward, Zach Snow, Jake Booher, Chris Black, and Nathan Mackie

BYU-Idaho is known for its focus on real-world preparation, offering students a high-value education in many ways. Business management majors Christopher Black, Jake Booher, Nathan Mackie and Zach Snow felt what it's like to experience this first hand.

On February 25-27, these students attended the Weber State Intercollegiate Supply Chain Competition as the second BYU-Idaho group to participate, and the first group to win first place. Booher says the competition tested their knowledge in problem-solving and team building in order to come up with the best solution for the Salt Lake City supply chain company, O.C. Tanner.

"We had 24 hours to compile the case, read the case, digest it, and come up with a presentation," Booher said. "We then presented in front of a board of cooperate judges."

To prepare for the competition, Mackie says they were given case studies to analyze in the classroom, and participated in team building exercises to help them learn how to strategize effectively.

"One thing I learned was how important it is to work with a team," Mackie said. "I think why we did well and why we got first was because we worked so well as a team."

They faced challenges along the way, but together Booher says they were able to apply their best skills and learn great lessons to apply to their future endeavors.

"I think we really took a lot of people by surprise at the level that we were able to perform," Booher said. "I don't say that to boast of ourselves, but it's really just a humbling experience for us. To show that what's going on up here is really inspired, that the teachers really give us the time of day, and it helped us to prepare for the workforce and compete with these other schools."

As members of the Business Management Supply Chain Society, they understood that coming from a small group would be a challenge, but Black says their preparation helped them to push themselves and accomplish hard things.

"One of the things that I learned the most from this experience is the importance of breaking out of my comfort zone," Black said. "I didn't just make three really good friends, but I really built confidence in myself and what I can do. And I really built confidence in the program here at BYU-Idaho, knowing that the education I am getting is sufficient and that it's going to be able to help me succeed in the future."

The team walked away with the first place trophy, after competition against ten other university supply chain programs all over the U.S., including Brigham Young University.

Faculty mentor Mick Ward says he wasn't surprised they won.

"It was a big achievement for these young men and they deserve the award," Ward said.