IBM Challenge - A Real-Life IT Case

HEC Montréal students identify and solve a problem

April 9, 2009

IBM has decided to put HEC Montréal BBA students specializing in information technology (IT) to the test. The students have twelve weeks, during a course taught by IT Professor Pierre-Majorique Léger, and Assistant Director - ERPsim Lab, Derick Lyle, to solve a business problem encountered by one of the high-tech firm’s clients. They have complete freedom to produce an operational prototype using SAP technology and use it to analyze a real-life logistics problem.

“Helping a manufacturing company get the most out of its distribution and warehousing network by developing a tool it can use to optimize its costs depending on the product, its availability and delivery site – that was the challenge we gave to HEC Montréal students,” explained Louis Desjardins, Executive Director of Projects with IBM Canada and the author of the case.

As part of their last course, the six teams of students will take on the role of consulting firms presenting their solutions to IBM. One of their valuable assets is that they possess not only strong IT skills and experience in an exceptional technological environment, but also a good basis in management. Their analysis skills and access to resources make them top-quality “business analysts” for IBM.

“This type of learning experience is incredibly valuable for our students,” explains Professor Pierre-Majorique Léger. “The realism of the business case means that the viability of the solutions that they propose will be weighed by a company that is very familiar with the issues because it has solved the problem itself.”

This is the first co-operation of this kind between IBM and HEC Montréal. Depending on the results, the two partners may well repeat the experience.

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