Jeremy Robinson was prepared to leave Albany State University to study aerospace engineering. But the volatile economy and sketchy political scene made him reconsider the options. A close look at the behind-the-scenes operations of major companies such as Apple and Walmart persuaded the ASU junior to continue the degree in supply chain and logistics management at ASU in the College of Business. The decision, he says, was a good one.
“Supply chain and logistics management is a secure field, and ASU’s program has broken ground and made a lot of strides,” said the Stone Mountain, Ga. native, now a senior. “The school offers Green and Yellow Belt Six Sigma certifications and I will have them when I graduate.”
The certifications, Jeremy learned while completing job applications caused his resume to stand out among other job seekers. He graduates this year with a leg up on the competition. The additional training coupled with valuable business contacts made through ASU professors were good preparation for a competitive employment market.
For two semesters, Jeremy accompanied his professors on trips to meet logistics experts at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and General Mills, located in Covington, Ga. He also attended the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Conference and was exposed to different facets of logistics. Networking opportunities at ASU’s logistics symposium in Savannah led to a co-op opportunity at Tyco International, a securities and fire protecton company headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey.
“The experience [at Tyco] really made me want to work in the field. I headed up a procurement project, closing out open purchase orders as well as reaching out to parties for purchase orders that had not yet been fully received. I also worked on contract novation. I got to do a lot,” said the soon-to-be-ASU graduate, adding that his Tyco mentors funneled good projects his way during the summer experience. Logistics executive George Ellis, a Harvard University graduate supervised ASU student interns. “The students from ASU had a mixed bag of skills. They had already been involved in various leadership positions, had great writing skills and were trusted communicators. You didn’t have to chase them; they did what they said they would do. They knew how to work when the pressure was on,” said Ellis.
Jeremy is no stranger to that kind of support. “I found those needle-in-a-haystack types of professors,” he says. “They want to see me succeed, so they help me fine tune my skills, help outside of class to show me how to analyze data. It makes me in turn want to give back to the school by succeeding in my career.”
That’s what he plans to do. After advancing up the chain to a C-level position, Jeremy plans to begin his own logistics start up focusing on transports and high end brokerage. His goal: to spread awareness in the minority community about logistics, a field where there are opportunities to excel. The willingness to encourage others comes from his parents who dared him to be different and set no limitations on what their son could do.
“Sometimes being different got me in trouble, until I understood what they meant. It bored me to hear about politics, the economy and culture at home, but I realize it prepared me to be adaptive.”
Now, Jeremy is prepared and ready to apply lessons learned from his parents and at ASU. “I’ve always had a philosophy about leveraging useful skills properly. I approach every situation with my I’s dotted and my T’s crossed. Those seeds that were planted in me at home and in college are starting to bear fruit.”
When Crystal Smith graduates from Albany State University, she’ll know how to handle the grueling questions that top executives at work toss her way. New technologies used in supply chain and logistics workplaces won’t faze her either. That’s because Crystal has experienced all of the above in the virtual environment that Albany State University’s Supply Chain and Logistics Management program offers students. The Logistics Integrative Virtual Environment (LIVE) allows students to act as management trainees that interact with executives in a simulated business environment.
“They want you to see how it is in the real world,” said Smith. The dual degree major in logistics and accounting from Decatur, Ga., says it’s one of the best parts of the program, because it prepares students to grow. The advice from company executives who have years of experience as logisticians is invaluable, she added.
“(LIVE) is when you get to put the bookwork into action with actual companies. When you do your briefings at the end of the semester, the executives show you where you need to get better,” she said. “Now that I’ve taken the course, I can better prepare for my career.”
The course prepared her to work for five months at Tyco, a securities and fire protection company headquartered in New Jersey. Crystal was selected for the co-op. She prepared accounting reports and led a procurement project for the company’s European Fleet division.
“I enjoyed it,” she said. “It was really challenging and I got very good at using Excel!”
Crystal praises ASU for the training opportunity that served as preparation for life after graduation. Inspired by field trips to the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and other large corporations, Crystal added logistics to her career plan.
“The instructors in the program don’t treat me like a number. They talk with me one-on-one and they know what kind of student I am, so they teach to my ability.”
Equipped with confidence, a solid academic foundation and work experience, Smith is on track to career fulfillment in the supply chain and logistics industry.