Tommie Brechbill started his story at Nebraska Business unsure how to channel his academic potential and analytical skills into a high paying job. His journey at Nebraska uncovered the secret that proved to be his success – seize every academic opportunity.
“I didn’t know much about supply chain until my sophomore year,” said Brechbill, an economics and supply chain management major graduating this May. “I decided to study abroad in Italy with a supply chain focus after my sophomore year. The program gave me hands-on experience seeing how supply chain worked and helped push me in that direction.”
As a member of the Nebraska Business Honors Academy, Brechbill participated in a trip to Minneapolis that further planted the supply chain management seed. While visiting Target, guides on the tour emphasized they had internship opportunities in supply chain. He kept the visit in mind entering his junior year.
“The trip put Target in my mind as a real possibility. Then I had to develop the relationship with my recruiter and make sure I kept checking in during the selection process. It was on me to keep reaching out because they don’t recruit as heavily in Nebraska in my area as some others. Eventually I got selected,” said the Stanton, Nebraska, native.
Even with the internship on the horizon, Brechbill kept working to build his analytical strengths. He became a Bureau of Business Research (BBR) scholar during his junior year, which enabled him to work on data analysis projects with practical applications. Those projects prepared him for assignments he would face during his Target internship.
Dr. Eric Thompson, director of the BBR and Karl H. Nelson Professor of Economics, taught Brechbill in a lab class during his freshman year, and again in a statistics class his sophomore year. Thompson noted Brechbill’s ingenuity as a strength and key reason for his addition to the BBR scholars.
“Tommie worked on our BBR Thriving Index by identifying data sources, gathering relevant data and doing regional comparisons between Nebraska and other states. Projects like that help build students’ knowledge of economic and business data sources. It gives them the ability to grow analytical skills and suggest new approaches to a project team,” said Thompson.
Brechbill parlayed that approach to his internship. Although his ability to process data came from courses in supply chain management, economics and finance, he singled out his BBR experience as a major plus at Target.
“My Target team of inventory analysts worked day-to-day trying to minimize out-of-stock merchandise. My team partner and I created a tool using Excel that makes vendors more accountable by opening the transparency to compare how vendors perform across stores. We facilitated an easier process for examining inventory data. I definitely took the things I learned at the BBR to my Target internship. Dr. Thompson helped me develop my statistical knowledge and learn how to work with data, and those skills helped launch my career,” said Brechbill.
Through his ability to innovate and contribute to Target’s success, Brechbill received a full-time job offer as an inventory analyst in Minneapolis, which he begins this summer after graduation.
“I really like Minneapolis, and Target gave me a great pathway to getting a good solid job in supply chain,” said Brechbill, who additionally participated in Phi Beta Lambda and the Nebraska Supply Chain Club while in college. “Taking advantage of every opportunity allowed me to gain new skills, experiences and friendships that set me up for success. It showed me all the different career paths I can take and what is required to be successful in each. Although not every opportunity leads to something special, it’s worth it to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible to find the right path for you.”