CMU Event Turns Blue Cross Employees into Mentors


| 3 min read

For the past four years, Blue Cross has participated in ERPsim (Enterprise Resource Planning simulation) at Central Michigan University. The event is an interactive experience that allows teams of students to solve real-time problems with the help of mentors from sponsoring companies. Blue Cross returned as a sponsor this year, helping mentor young minds and bring former ERPsim students, who now work for Blue Cross, back to the game. At ERPsim, students manage a fictional company using SAP, a business software used by nearly all Fortune 1,000 companies. Hundreds of students form teams and get to work collaborating on computers and seeking out the most efficient answers to business scenarios. This year’s competition, which occurred on February 11, challenged teams to become dairy wholesalers. Each team needed to devise a winning strategy that would bring in the most profit compared to the competition. The students aren’t doing it alone though—more than 40 Fortune 500 companies mentored the teams along the way, including Blue Cross. Two employees from the Blue Cross Information Technology division, Dave Bargowski and Kiran Gowda, served as mentors for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan team. Other employees from departments including Enterprise Information Technology, Procurement and Human Resources were also there to lend a hand, some of whom were former ERPsim student participants. Amongst former-participants-turned-volunteers were Blue Cross employees Vincent Schiavi and Kyle Madrid. “It was a lot of fun to go back and mentor the students,” says Schiavi. “We had a few video conferences with the teams in the weeks leading up to the event to answer any questions they had and to give hints on strategy. I hope to be able to go back and represent Blue Cross again next year.” The prep work was Madrid’s favorite part when he was a student participant. “Preparing for the event gave us great insight into how the business world works while also providing networking and career opportunities,” he says. “It’s an amazing experience to take part in--I am very grateful to CMU and Blue Cross for being able to participate.” Before the ERPsim took place, students also had the chance to ask a panel of corporate leaders questions and suggestions for the upcoming challenge. This year, Laura Marble, Blue Cross vice president of Michigan delivery systems support, served on the panel. “It’s not only the technical skillsets, but also critical thinking skills that we are on the look-out for at ERPsim,” she said. “The people who can think on their feet, work as a team and can adjust as the environment changes are the ones we’d love to have at Blue Cross.” To learn more about Blue Cross’ IT hiring efforts, visit If you liked this blog, you might also enjoy:
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association