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Guest Post: Campus Club Cupcakes – Classroom Course Icebreaker Exercise

July 29, 2016

brent sniderOur Guest Post today comes from Brent Snider, who is an award winning senior instructor of Operations and Supply Chain Management at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business.

The first session of a required undergraduate OM course is often challenging for both faculty and students. Reviewing the course syllabus is mundane, and many students are unaware of what OM even is or why it is required.

Campus Club Cupcakes was developed specifically as a course icebreaker exercise to turn the first session into an in-class exercise that gets the entire class engaged and working together within minutes– while also conveying what OM is, its importance, and how it relates to other functional areas. Campus Club Cupcakes is a variation of the popular “Kristen’s Cookie Co.” case, incorporating supply chain management concerns. It consists of a 1-page mini-case and 5 related questions and is completely free. (E-mail me at brent.snider@haskayne.ucalgary.ca and I will send you the whole lesson plan).

The case scenario is based on a student club looking at alternatives to raise funds for their community development initiatives. The questions students are expected to work through are (1) how long would a student have to wait, (2) how many orders can be completed in a shift, (3) how many trays would be needed, (4) should a discount be offered, and (5) what are some of the risks. Cupcakes require a multi-stage process (baking, then toppings) which also enables discussion on supply chain management concepts of subcontracting and postponement.

Students work through the questions for 20–30 minutes followed by a debrief, all of which can be completed in either a 50-70 minute session.  We have used Campus Club Cupcakes to kick-off the OM course for the past 2 years and students have overwhelmingly embraced it, with over 92% commenting positively about the exercise.

I am confident you too can turn the dreaded “day 1” into “day won” with this exercise!

 

 

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