Business students attend premiere auto industry event

Two Wayne State University School of Business Administration seniors attended the 48th annual Center for Automotive Research (CAR) Management Briefing Seminars (MBS). The event hosted more than 900 people in industry, government, economic development and academia on August 5–8 in Traverse City. The focus of this year’s seminar was mobility, profitability and sustainability.

The students participated in the CAR Students@MBS Program. The program allows undergraduate students with an interest in global supply chain management to experience the issues in the field and interact with industry leaders.

“I enjoyed the Purchasing Today panel the most because it showed how buying and selling automotive components was changing,” said Alexa Gates, senior global supply chain management major and a member of the Global Supply Chain Management Association and WSU chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma. “Before there was not a relationship between original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and the supplier, now OEMs are trying to form relationships with suppliers.”

“The Designing for Technology and the Consumer panel explained how technology is ever-changing and how integrated technology has to stay up-to-date,” said Jessica Baird, senior marketing major and president of the WSU chapter of the American Marketing Association. “Think about it: A consumer may change phones every year, but only changes cars every five years.”

Wayne State University was one of 10 universities to take part in the Students@MBS Program.

John Taylor, director of supply chain programs and chair of the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, selected Gates and Baird to represent the business school.

“The most surprising thing that I learned were the different ways car companies are making lightweight vehicles,” Gates said.

“I was surprised to learn that autonomous driving features are expected to be implemented in the very near future,” Baird said.

Gates said after attending the event, she realized how big the automotive industry is and how technical the industry is becoming as a whole.

“The CAR Management Briefing Seminar is a phenomenal experience for students,” Gates said.