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Hear From WSU/AIAG Purchasing and Supply Chain Certificate Program Scholarship Recipients!

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Welcome back! Following a summer break period, sessions are resuming for the 2021 WSU/AIAG Auto Industry Certificate in Purchasing and Supply Chain Management program – and we’re eager to see this year’s phenomenal group of participants continue to make great strides.    

Designed to provide high potential candidates with an in-depth understanding of supply chain issues in the context of the global vehicle industry, this unique program is led by professionals from both industry and academia, and includes a mix of discussions and lectures, a company-related project and presentation, case studies, and much more.

To learn more about this dynamic program, we recently connected with two participants who received this year’s Joel Karczewski Scholarship, which provides awardees with funding to cover program enrollment costs. Both Gbanah Passmore and Tamela Wilson are currently majoring in Global Supply Chain Management at WSU and looking forward to graduating at the end of this year, and mid-next year, respectively.

Read on to hear from Gbanah and Tamela themselves, including what they have learned in the program so far, what benefits they see in bringing academia and industry together in the classroom environment, and more!

What were the most important factors in your decision to major in Supply Chain at WSU?

GP: One of the most important factors when choosing supply chain as my major was that it meant I got the opportunity to make a significant change in today’s culture, economy, and environment. I also find comfort in the idea that this career choice will leave an impressionable mark and give me a sense of accomplishment that I have added value to the world’s future. 

TW: One important factor is that Wayne State University has one of the top 25 supply chain management programs in the country, according to Gartner Research. Another factor in my decision to major in Supply Chain at WSU was the advisory staff. Before starting at WSU, I spent 12 years as a buyer for one of the top three companies in the global market for access control and security solutions. During that time, I wanted to pursue my degree. As I was considering three local universities, I met with Jay Jessen, an advisor at WSU, to discuss my future educational journey, and he empathized with my situation and provided a great deal of information. This in-depth one on one interaction surpassed the attentiveness I received at the other two universities, which sealed the deal in my choice to attend WSU.

As a recipient of the Joel Karczewski Scholarship for the AIAG/WSU Auto Industry Certificate in Purchasing and Supply Chain Management program, what elements of the class have exceeded your expectations?

GP: The interaction with other students was an element that exceeded my expectations. Despite being virtual, each session was high frequency and engaging which I enjoyed because I was learning from experienced professionals that were currently in the workforce. People I could potentially connect with were collaborating with me in breakout rooms and that’s not an opportunity many students get. 

TW: This class has exceeded my expectation by providing in-depth information on supply chain topics and issues in the context of the global vehicle industry. I often leave class in awe due to the instructors’ vast knowledge of the supply chain, and the insights they share during each meeting. Breakout sessions also provide an opportunity to interact and discuss challenges and topics that current industry professionals face in their day-to-day workplaces at OEM, Tier 1, and logistical companies.

What have you learned, to date, that you envision benefiting your future career in Supply Chain?

GP: I think that being able to brainstorm and problem solve with a team will be very beneficial in my future simply since it’s what I actively practice in the classroom and at work. It seems to be one of the most important elements when in a business setting and truly makes or breaks your results. 

TW: I have learned so much to date that will benefit my future career in supply chain. One of my favorite classes so far was with Tingting Yan. I was wowed by her knowledge while discussing the challenges of globalization and Chinese vehicle SCM, including the difficulty of understanding one another, currency fluctuations, the impact of variations in local regulations on your supply chain, less supply chain visibility and control, and the exposure to supply chain disruption. I’ve experienced these things previously with my Asian suppliers, but this class and Tingting’s insights helped me better understand how to prepare and protect my company from disruptions.

What do you see as the benefits of bringing academia and industry together in this specific classroom environment?

GP: One of the benefits of attending the WSU/AIAG Auto Industry Certificate in Purchasing and Supply Chain Management program is more motivation in my studies. It’s been fun learning new things and implementing them in my conversations with AIAG. I think that this experience will maximize my learning experience in any setting that I am in. 

TW: Bringing academia and industry together in this specific classroom environment provides students with the opportunity to gain knowledge and insights on current trends and challenges in the automotive industry. The instructors provide key takeaways and results, and are trusted because of their previous industry experience, or current successful careers in the auto industry. I’ve also gained insight from listening to my peers discuss their ideas and solutions to different topics with our instructors.

What has your experience in this class been like, sitting alongside industry professionals as peers?

GP: I’ve particularly enjoyed engaging with current industry professionals and hearing insights from their hands-on experiences in supply chain management. It amazed me to see how patient and helpful the other professionals in this program were. While I think it can be intimidating to newcomers because of the advanced supply chain terminology, my advice to young professionals like myself is to ask questions and make connections with your professional peers.

TW: As stated in my previous answer, I’ve gained so much from listening to my peers discuss day-to-day issues, whether it be chip issues or logistical price instability. This interaction with my peers is building relationships that I believe will continue to strength my knowledge and ability as I transition from the security industry to the automotive industry. My peers are always offering advice and probing me on my thoughts as a student.

Interested in learning more about this certificate program – or want to make sure you’re notified when 2022 details are available? Simply click here for additional information, and don’t forget to enter your email address when prompted to stay “in the know” about next year’s program!



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