Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Dartmouth Engineering Management Student on First-Ever MEMPC Winning Team

By Anna Fiorentino
June 2013 • Thayer By Degrees: MEM

Matthew Rice MEM’14 was among six to win the first-ever Master of Engineering Management Programs Consortium (MEMPC) cross-school online business simulation challenge earlier this year. The Consortium was formed in 2007 by Dartmouth’s own MEM Program Director Robert Graves as a network of recognized graduate-level programs in engineering management. Its inaugural competition had five teams each comprised of one student from each of the schools within the MEMPC—Dartmouth, Stanford, Cornell, Northwestern, Duke and MIT (University of Southern California has since joined the Consortium)—collaborating online in forums like Google Hangouts to present a business plan for their hypothetical automotive company.

Matthew Rice
Matthew Rice MEM’14

“Our cars focused on several segments of the population, and we either produced them at low volume with high margins or vice-versa,” says Rice, who along with Dartmouth MEM’14s Joseph Pirrello, Ankit Gadodia, Varsha Venugopal and Shirley Xu, was selected to participate in the competition by Ross Gortner, associate director of Dartmouth’s MEM program.

The students were judged on seven areas, from final stock price to market share, each worth anywhere from one to five points, as weighted by the team. Half the battle, says Rice, was knowing your strengths and weaknesses—his team, for example, didn’t place much importance in stock price and other factors that fluctuated significantly and were hard to control.

The MEMPC created the challenge to encourage students to work together across each of the engineering management programs, tackling a business problem and, in keeping with the goal of the MEMPC, raising awareness of where degree recipients fit in within the technology-driven corporate world.

“We often talk about the work environment these students are going to enter—virtual meetings, working across time zones and cultures—and this provided a great opportunity to put them to the test,” says Gortner. “The directors of the programs have been meeting for the past six years, and we have recently been engaging with our alumni.”

The competition gave the program directors a vehicle to help them understand what the consortium is all about. It gave Rice, who was selected among his group to give their final webinar presentation summarizing their strategy and what they learned, an opportunity to interact with students in the other top master’s programs in engineering management. He and his teammates, Cornell’s Sruthi Penmatsa, Northwestern’s James Du, Stanford’s Chi Hung Chong, Duke’s Joanna Clark and MIT’s Terence Teo, also took home a Nexus 7 tablet.

“It was a real pleasure to see that Matt was chosen to represent his team in the competition debrief,” says Gortner. “Some of his teammates were older and had much more work experience than Matt, and yet they saw his capability to lead and represent their team.”

Tags: award, M.E.M., students

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