Penn State welcomes eight universities as NOBE national conference host

2/22/2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State student chapter of the National Organization for Business and Engineering (NOBE) hosted more than 80 participants from eight universities—as well as industry members—Feb. 12-14 for the 2016 NOBE National Conference at the Nittany Lion Inn.

Sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Penn State, the conference featured speakers from both academia and industry who addressed some of the many opportunities and overlap in workplace skills that exist for students interested in the business and engineering sectors.

The three-day conference also featured a case competition, in which a total of $2,000 in prize money was awarded to the first-, second-, third- and fourth-place teams.

The schools that participated in the conference were Drexel University, McGill University (Canada), Penn State Behrend, Penn State, University of Illinois, University of Minnesota, University of Pittsburgh and University of Texas-Austin.

“Engineering students with a business mindset and business students with an understanding of engineering are what corporations look to hire today,” said Andrew F. Quinn, president of NOBE’s National Executive Board. “The synergies created from the merger of the business and engineering mindsets were on full display at the 2016 NOBE National Conference at Penn State.”

Speakers covered such topics as megatrends in business and industry, graduate school options for business and engineering majors, entrepreneurship and complimentary skills for engineers in the business sector.

“The NOBE National Conference at Penn State was an impressive display of the power of collaboration,” said speaker and Penn State alumnus Joseph C. Atkinson (’92 FIN), U.S. advisory leader for the entertainment, media and communications practice at PwC. “Students across engineering and business disciplines from the nation’s leading universities actively challenged each other to think strategically and tackle the complex problems facing our society and business. The future is in great hands with these students.”

The Harvard Business Review Case Study competition on Feb. 13 was designed to challenge students by initiating the collaboration of systems thinking. The case focused on online apartment rental site Airbnb, which is exploring mechanisms to facilitate trust between guests and hosts following widely publicized complaints of destructive guests.

According to the study, which was published in 2011: “Flexible online reputation systems can collect and share information with ease, but Airbnb must decide which information guests and hosts should have to provide and how much flexibility each should have in selecting whom to do business with. A full-featured system could provide all the information users have been requesting, but would it be too complicated for routine use?”

Ten intercollegiate teams of four students were asked to leverage their talents and individual experiences in order to develop the most innovative and compelling solution to the panel of 10 judges.

“We incorporated a case competition to drive the intellectual collaboration between business and engineering mindsets,” said Mohammad AlZayed, president of the Penn State NOBE chapter and an industrial engineering student. “The exciting ideas we saw in the competition sets to prove the significance of exposing NOBE’s membership to case competitions, consulting projects and other real-world applications.”

After the 60-minute first round, the teams submitted their written reports to the judging panel. The judges identified the top four teams by predetermined criteria and called upon the finalists to present their solutions with a five-to-seven-minute pitch, followed by questioning from the judging panel. The winning teams were announced by Janis Terpenny, professor and head of the Marcus department, and were presented with certificates and awards at the dinner ceremony that evening.

The first-place team was comprised of Penn State industrial engineering students Matt DiSanto and Janna Al Nabhani and University of Pittsburgh industrial engineering students Kelsey Metheny and Garret White. Each team member was awarded with $250 and a brass Nittany Lion trophy.

Two Penn State industrial engineering students, Sarp Ersoy and Carl Jean-Louis, along with two University of Minnesota students, Steven Cherucheril (industrial and systems engineering) and Omead Sanei (mechanical engineering), took home second-place honors and $150 a piece.

Kelsey Schupp (accounting and finance) and Daniel Smith (industrial engineering) of Penn State Behrend, along with Rahul Jairam (chemical engineering) and Sam Schmitz (mechanical engineering) from the University Minnesota, earned third-place honors and $75 each.

The fourth-place team members each received $25 and consisted of Penn State industrial engineering students Devayani Borse and Jonathan Tatlow, and Margaret Bien (supply chain management and business) and Justin Traino (industrial engineering) from the University of Pittsburgh.

The panel of judges included three Penn State faculty members, two members of the NOBE national office and six industry members from Flashpoint Informatics, GE Transportation, Hess Corporation, PwC and United States Gypsum Corporation.

Penn State alums Anthony Aliberti (’14 I E) and Vico Spinabelli (’14 I E), two of the four original founders of the Business and Engineering Group (BEG) that later became the Penn State chapter of NOBE, attended the conference as a judges and were impressed by how interest in the group has grown and the strives the organization has made in the business and engineering communities.

“As a founders of the BEG, we all shared the objective to create an interactive environment for students—leveraging both academia and industry—through utilizing guest speakers, classroom collaboration, case study practice, networking and professional events, and actual real-world engineering and business-focused projects, to build core competencies,” said Aliberti, who is now a supply chain associate at Hess Corporation. “I think Penn Staters have set the bar extremely high and have established the standard for students to operate at a high level in both engineering and business sectors.” 

Spinabelli, who is an inventory analyst for United States Gypsum Corporation, admitted that he was a bit envious of the students that attended because of the wealth of knowledge and experience that could be gained from participating in the event. 

“I never had the opportunity to experience anything like the NOBE conference as a student, and after talking with most of the students in attendance, I think everyone took something from the weekend and had a lot of fun doing so,” he said. “I urge anyone looking for a unique and enjoyable business and engineering experience to join the NOBE group!"

The results of the annual NOBE Executive Board election were also announced during the conference and are as follows: Andrew Quinn, discretionary global macro research analyst at AQR Capital Management as president; Paul Lynch (’04 I E, ’07 M.S., ’11 Ph.D.), assistant professor of industrial engineering at Penn State Behrend as vice president internal; Vince Wu, a senior mechanical engineering student at McGill University as vice president for outreach; Aleena Narithookil a junior business student at Drexel University as vice president external; Andrew Ng, a civil engineering student at Drexel University as technology chair; and Kusumaker Gupka, a senior industrial engineering student at Penn State as finance chair.

AlZayed was delighted by the turnout for the first national NOBE conference Penn State hosted but has even bigger goals in mind for the organization.

“Our next step is to build a strong consulting practice culture across the University Park campus that can expectantly spread to NOBE chapters across the country,” he said.

See the Flickr album for more images from the event.

 

Share this story:

facebook linked in twitter email

MEDIA CONTACT:

Pamela Krewson Wertz

pmk128@psu.edu 

One of the ten intercollegiate teams that worked through a Harvard Business Review Case Competition during the conference.

One of the ten intercollegiate teams that worked through a Harvard Business Review Case Competition during the conference.

One of the top four teams presents its case solution to the judges.

One of the top four teams presents its case solution to the judges.

Andrew Quinn, president of NOBE’s National Executive Board, addresses conference participants.

Andrew Quinn, president of NOBE’s National Executive Board, addresses conference participants.

Janis Terpenny, head of the Marcus department, and Mohammad AlZayed, president of the Penn State NOBE chapter, with the members of the first-place Harvard Business Review Case Competition team.

Janis Terpenny, head of the Marcus department, and Mohammad AlZayed, president of the Penn State NOBE chapter, with the members of the first-place Harvard Business Review Case Competition team.

2014 Penn State industrial engineering alums Anthony Aliberti (left) and Vico Spinabelli, two of the four original founders of the Business and Engineering Group that later became the Penn State chapter of NOBE.

2014 Penn State industrial engineering alums Anthony Aliberti (left) and Vico Spinabelli, two of the four original founders of the Business and Engineering Group that later became the Penn State chapter of NOBE.

“Engineering students with a business mindset and business students with an understanding of engineering are what corporations look to hire today. The synergies created from the merger of the business and engineering mindsets were on full display at the 2016 NOBE National Conference at Penn State.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Mohammad Alzayed

mqa5244@psu.edu 

 
 

About

Home of the first established industrial engineering program in the world, the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) at Penn State has made a name for itself in the engineering industry through its storied tradition of unparalleled excellence and innovation in research, education, and outreach.

We are Innovators. We are Makers. We are Excellence in Engineering. We are Penn State IME.

The Harold and Inge Marcus Department of
Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

310 Leonhard Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-7601

FAX: 814-863-4745