Pamplin’s Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics (CBIA) recently partnered up with Norfolk Southern Corporation to host one of its first case competitions of 2017. This unique competition tested students’ knowledge of data analytics, application, and problem solving skills. The case primarily focused on intermodal terminal capacity and asset utilization.

Norfolk Southern representatives challenged competing students to develop components of a comprehensive digital strategy to enhance the customer service experience, and give Norfolk Southern a competitive edge among peers.  Solutions were to maximize the full value of NS’ service product in a cost-effective manner; provide a friction-less customer experience that maintains the company’s existing customer base; identify growth opportunities in new markets; require minimal capital investment; and, leverage existing core competences wherever possible.

For students, being able to apply their knowledge outside the classroom is growing in demand as well as importance.

Events like these are so important to a college student’s experience because it is all about application,” Norfolk Southern Corporate Recruiter Khadeen Brooks stated. “We give you an opportunity to apply what you have learned in class to a real life company and use it to solve real challenges a real company faces.

A total of five teams competing with at least three to four members per group. Teams were allowed ten minutes to present their ideas along with a two minute Q&A period with company representatives.The competition was open to all majors but the group was required to be made up of at least two different majors. Their presentations were judged on creativity, logistical factors, practicality and problem solving assessment.


At the conclusion of the competition, Norfolk Southern representatives awarded cash prizes to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. The First Place team was made up of Juniors Mark Remmy, Brian Welch and Sophomore Bryce Jackson. The first place team was awarded a total of $1,000 to be divided up among members. Second place was awarded a total of $700, and third place a total of $300.

“Data analytics is already incredibly influential, but the advent of artificial intelligence is only going to increase its potential,” said first place team member Mark Remmy.

Ultimately the event provided students the opportunity to hone their case competition skills while solving a real challenge faced by a specific business. Attendees also had the luxury to network with Norfolk Southern representatives and learn more about the careers it offers.