Marketing & Communications

Demand drives growth for major

By: Andrea Brock

It's hot. It's versatile. It's in demand by employers.

It is one of the fastest growing programs in the BGSU College of Business Administration - supply chain management. Record numbers of students are adopting the major and earning jobs well before graduation in the discipline, which allows them to pursue careers in logistics, purchasing and operations.

Dozens of employers were seeking out supply chain management majors at the BGSU Job and Internship Expo in February, including Cardinal Health, Marathon Petroleum Company, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Target, and Cooper Tire and Rubber Company.

"Their professional development is strong from their previous internship work and by the time they are seniors and we are offering them positions."Pacer International, Inc., a leading asset-light based transportation and logistics services provider, is another of the many companies that recruit supply chain management students at the event. Patrick Gardner, director of talent management at Pacer, attended the expo and raved about the program and its students.

"We like how prepared the students are when they come on board to work with us," Gardner said. "Their professional development is strong from their previous internship work and by the time they are seniors and we are offering them positions. Their transition into the corporation is extremely smooth and they end up being very strong assets to Pacer."

Supply chain management students explore the planning, acquisition, conversion, flow and distribution of goods. Hands-on opportunities come early for supply chain management students, as they complete the additional 21 credit hours required for the specialization within the BGSU College of Business Administration.

"Students in the program need to be comfortable with numbers and enjoy working with people," said Dr. Janet Hartley, professor of supply chain management and director of the BGSU Supply Chain Management Institute. "It's a nicely balanced career; you won't be at your desk all day and will be doing a lot of hands-on work with companies."

The Supply Chain Management Institute also brings companies and students together to apply classroom lessons to real company experience. That's how many students also find internships through the Supply Chain Management Institute with leading companies including as John Deere and Cleveland Clinic.

An internship became a full-time job for Corrie Jones, a senior from Tipp City, Ohio. After a 13-week internship with Owens Corning in Toledo, she was offered a full-time job. Jones will join the Owens Corning Supply Chain Leadership Program, a three-year program for young professionals. She will be a plant manager in northern Texas for the first year, and will return to Toledo for her second and third year to work in multiple departments including logistics, scheduling and purchasing.

Jones was originally an accounting major, but found that supply chain management offered a better fit for her interests in math, complex problem solving and teamwork.

"After my first class, I was hooked. I just fell in love with it," Jones said. "The BGSU program is amazing. I felt extremely prepared going into my internship with Owens Corning last summer."

BGSU strives to ensure students are successful beyond graduation, and the supply chain management program is no exception. Among the successful alumni of the program is Maryrose Sylvester '87, who serves as president and chief executive officer of GE Lighting.

The supply chain management "program is meant to serve as a pathway for students to bridge their strong academics into a successful career," Hartley said. "Ultimately, we are seeing this program help students in their pathway to the top of the ladder in many companies and businesses."

(Posted April 8, 2013 )