Ilitch School alumnus featured by Irvin D. Reid Honors College
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story originally appeared on the Irvin D. Reid Honors College website.
Tell me about your time at Wayne State.
I was on the Executive Board of the Global Supply Chain Management Association, which is like Supply Chain Student Association. I was a Committee Head on the Business Student Senate, where we helped put together networking events for business school students. I was on the National Case Competition team for our Supply Chain Program, so I travel to Michigan State, Denver, Colorado and Arizona State and represented Wayne on the national level competing against other schools solving supply chain case studies.
Within the Supply Chain Management Association, my senior year I interfaced a lot with our Industry Advisory Board, and I kind of led the first annual day of service with our Industry Advisory Board. The Industry Advisory Board are executives of local and global companies that help advise our program on curriculum. So I organized an event with Habitat for Humanity bringing together students, faculty, and members of that committee and we cleaned up a blighted lot on the east side of the city in April.
I was also an undergraduate research assistant my senior year. I worked on a $125,000 grant from the Automotive Industry Action group, studying sustainability in the automotive industry, specifically automotive industry supply chain and that was with Dr. Sachin Modi. Then I was also able to work on another paper that was published in a peer-reviewed journal that studied containerized shipping in the Great Lakes and if that is feasible or not.
It’s not. A large reason is that the great lakes are shut down for two or three months of the year and it’s a lot more competitive to do that with trucks and trains as opposed to ships. A lot of it is like infrastructure constraints. That was with Dr. John Taylor, who is the chair of our department, and that was published in the Journal of Transportation Management.
Why did you major in global supply chain management?
Growing up I was always really interested in railroads and transportation and just how things got from A to B. So it was kind of like my hobby growing up and I was lucky enough to discover that you could study that in college. So really, my childhood passion turned into a career.
Where did you do your internship at?
I did two. I did one at a company called RoyOMartin, which is in Louisiana, and then I did an eight month co-op program which was at KBX Logistics, which was in Wisconsin.
How did you find out about the internships?
The first one a family member told me about it, and the second one, I actually went up to the Michigan State Supply Chain Career Fair and kind of got plugged in through there.
The second one is how I got the job I’m at now. I was working for the company called KBX Logistics, but they’re a subsidiary of Georgia Pacific. So I was actually in Georgia-Pacific’s internship program but working for KBX Logistics, and now I am full time at Georgia-Pacific in Atlanta.
What do you do at Georgia-Pacific?
I started at the beginning of January. My official title is that I am a Process Improvement Analysist. I am going to be responsible for the in-house development of robot process automation bots. So it is programming to streamline routine tasks. I within strategic sourcing and procurement, so mostly on the buying and procurement end.
What did you do in your internships?
That one (RoyOMartin), I was an inventory/procurement analyst. So I did a lot of reporting on different things and I also got to tour a bunch of different plants and I got to help set up a store room at one of the smaller company locations. That was great hands-on experience on how does a store room work and stuff like that. I got to go on a couple of trips to tour a couple of railyards, which wasn’t really a part of my day-to-day at the internship, but just seeing the whole end-to-end supply chain was really valuable there.
At my one in Wisconsin, I did logistics. I ran all the logistics for the paper mill that was in Virginia, but it was from Wisconsin. I actually got to work on a couple of projects as well and I got to present my projects at the end of the internship to the Vice President of the Supply Chain of Georgia-Pacific.
How nervous were you?
It was very, very nerve-racking. I remember walking up there and remember walking down. But I was really lucky because they prepared me really well to do it. I had a ton of practice and I could have given it in my sleep.
Another cool thing from that internship was I was actually doing a full-time job because I was there for eight months, so at the end I trained someone to run the desk as a full-time position that I ran as a co-op. That was really fulfilling.
How did all of your experiences (at Wayne State and Honors) help shape your future into the position you are in now?
I feel like I was exposed to so much at Wayne and with my internships that I really knew what I wanted. I was able to explore so many different areas, whether it was in class or doing my Honors Options, because both my internships were in different areas, being exposed to so much I was really able to hone in on what I want to do in my first job out of college. I know the skills I want to gain. So it has really just given me direction and a path.
How did Honors fit into all this?
Honors really gave me two things. Outside of my major, the Honors events kind of allowed me to explore areas and topics that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. The lectures you guys would put on that I was able to attend, whether it was a political science or an economics lecture, just to expose myself to things I wasn’t getting exposed to due to what I was majoring in, as well as networking. I went to an event where the editor of the New York Post came, who was a Wayne Alum, and just getting to meet him and talk to him about stuff.
So curriculum wise, I feel like it allowed me to kind of explore a lot. I had to do Honors options for classes, so that allowed me to take the curriculum a step further. For instance, I did an eight month internship with a company and I got exposed to a decent amount of software that I knew I would be useful for when I got out of school and into the workforce. So when I came back, I kind of did a bunch of my honors options where I was able to go get free software licenses from those companies and do projects with that software so I could come kind of into the workplace and kind of be ahead of the game with my systems knowledge. I think that and allowing me to explore and it really got me interested in research as well. I was able to go out and write these papers on topics that interested me.
What advice would you give to incoming students to Wayne State or the Mike Ilitch School of Business?
Take advantage of the opportunities that Wayne State has to offer. There are so many opportunities at Wayne. I feel like, and this is my elevator pitch, Wayne State has the resources of a Tier 1 Research University with the community of a much smaller school, and that is an incredibly powerful combination.
Be curious; really build Community and explore opportunities. That was the biggest thing that I got from Wayne was I felt that it was a small school kind of community, especially Honors made it feel even smaller. So having a small community with the resources of a huge university was great.
Give me an elevator pitch for why students should do Honors?
Opportunities…opportunities to interface one-on-one with faculty, again which ties back into small community with powerful resources. You’re going to be interfacing with faculty that do all sorts of research. Exposure to different things, as I mentioned earlier, with the programming that Honors puts on. The opportunity to say hey, I have a couple of hours after class and there is an interesting speaker. Maybe that will get you into things you never knew you would have enjoyed before. So really the opportunity to dig deeper and get more connected to the school and the city as well.
Honors was a really great way to plug in, not only into my career, but also the area that was around me. And those were the things that I loved about Wayne State, how engrained it was in Detroit and the community.