Supply chain management offers students some of the highest job placement rates and starting salaries compared to all other business degrees. Nevertheless, according to Allison Olmer, president of the Nebraska Supply Chain Club, networking and professional development remain a necessity in order to maximize potential in the job market.
Olmer, a senior supply chain management and global studies major from Creston, Nebraska, took the reins as president of the student organization last December. She wanted to bring a new vitality to club operations and membership. On September 25, she culminated her leadership tenure by facilitating a professional panel at Howard L. Hawks Hall, aimed at giving students from all majors the opportunity to question experts who work both in and with the supply chain field.
“This event is great because we wanted panelists with a wide variety of backgrounds,” said Olmer during a meet and greet with professionals and faculty before the event. “One of our panelists is in sales, but he’s going to talk about how closely his job relates to supply chain. That’s important because a lot of students who attend our panels are not supply chain majors. They might be considering it, but if not, it shows them they will come in contact with supply chain careers, which will affect their career.”
The event, which coincided with the university’s Career Fair activities, welcomed more than 70 students. Olmer coordinates bringing professionals in regularly to club meetings, but she wanted to take advantage of the Career Fair to select panelists she might not otherwise be able to secure.
“We have weekly meetings with the supply chain club where we bring in local companies, so we want this event to be broader and have new companies students may not know. I went through all the companies both from the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Career Fair and the Business & Liberal Arts Career Fair because a lot of those companies are hiring supply chain management majors. I worked with Chris Timm from the Business Career Center to get their contact information and then started calling them.”
Dr. Scott Swenseth, associate professor of supply chain management and analytics, advises the Nebraska Supply Chain Club. He stressed the importance of getting involved in club activities because of the doors it opens for enhancing careers.
“Allison is a great example. She originally learned about the club by coming to this same event a few years ago. Supply chain became her major and she went on to become president of the club. She’s a great voice for all events we do and gets the word out to the introductory classes so the cycle can continue,” said Swenseth.
Regular membership is up from around 15 students when Olmer took over the club to about 45 students now. She believes the club is in a good place for the next set of club officers when she graduates in December and goes on to begin her career in supply chain management.
“I’m starting at Textron headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, in January,” Olmer said. “Textron is a conglomerate for many products such as Arctic Cat vehicles, Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter. My position is in leadership development and every six months I’ll be rotating to a different business unit and different area of supply chain.”
Professional panelists for the event included:
Jake Applegarth, assistant vice president institutional, Ecolab
Scott Headley, senior director sales and operations planning, Conagra
Beckie MacDonell, senior sales and operations planning manager, Valmont
Adam Schroeder, master scheduler, Nature’s Variety
To learn more about the supply chain management major, students are invited to attend the Department of Supply Chain Management and Analytics Open House on Thursday, October 18, 12-2:30 p.m. in HLH 511. Students can meet with professors, enjoy free food, receive a t-shirt and prizes, and work with an academic advisor to set up spring class schedules.