FOUR students from the University of the Philippines (UP) won first place in the recently concluded 7th Industrial Engineering Competition, an international industrial engineering contest held in Bandung, Indonesia, from January 9 to 17.
The Philippine team beat participants from Southeast Asian region. Two teams from Indonesia placed 2nd and 3rd.
The UP team is composed of Daniel Roi Agustin, James Renier Domingo, Dominic Aily Ecat and Arizza Ann Nocum of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research of the University of the Philippines-Diliman in Quezon City.
“It was an incredible opportunity to represent the university and the country, and we are so happy to bring honor to our department, especially the professors who have taught us so well,” Nocum said.
The four graduating students were handpicked by the university to compete for this year’s competition.
A total of 78 teams from Southeast Asia joined this year’s international industrial engineering competition. Of that number, only 15 teams passed the first selection stage–which was held online–to proceed to the semifinals in Indonesia.
During the semifinals, teams passed through an intensive three-day challenge composed of a quiz bee, an amazing race, and a simulation case challenge provided by a company.
The semifinals culminated in a presentation to a board of judges composed of professionals, the academe and company management.
After the semifinals, only five teams moved up to the finals–UP, Universitas Indonesia, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Chulalongkorn University and Universitas Gadjah Mada.
The final stage of the competition was designed to challenge students not only based on their theoretical knowledge but also on their analysis and creativity in coming up with solutions.
“We were given four days to study and solve the problems of two of the biggest Indonesian companies, Unilever Indonesia and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia. We visited their plants and were oriented on the main problems they face, then we were given two 12-hour work days to come up with a presentation outlining our solution for each company,” Domingo, the team captain, said.
The last day of the finals saw the five finalists presenting their solutions to the executives and management of the two companies. Each presentation was capped by a question and answer portion designed to test even further each team’s solution.
“I think that one of the main drivers of our victory was our commitment to the solution. We told ourselves that the main reason we were doing this was not because we wanted to win but because we wanted to help these companies succeed by finding the solution that fit their needs and vision best,” Agustin shared their secret to winning.
When asked how their UP education set them apart, Ecat answered, “We were taught the right tools, but ultimately what made us win was our diskarte [street smarts]approach, our ability to think outside the box.”
Aside from a trophy, the team was awarded $3500. The winnings will be used to support contestants in future competitions of UP’s industrial engineering students.
NEIL A. ALCOBER