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Key Skills for Graduating MBA's in Supply Chain: Market Research, Data Cleaning, Analytics, ….and more Data!

Graham Givens, a  recent graduate from our MBA program started his new role over the summer, and provided some great information and feedback on some of the lessons learned that he is experiencing based on his first month on the job.  This is hot off the press, and provides  good feedback for our faculty, students, and partner companies who are kicking off projects with companies this semester.  Being aware of these requirements can be of great benefit to current students, and also to those who are looking for an MBA that will get them off to a great career in SCM:
-Tracking down information: I would say that 60-80% of my job is tracking down information. Whether that is internally or externally, I spend a significant amount of time digging for data and requesting better information. My work in SCRC projects and in my scholar projects has been invaluable in this part of my job.
Dealing with messy data: Almost all of the data I receive is not in the format that I need it to be in. A lot of our data comes in pdfs and ERP excel outputs so I really have to manipulate and input data in the correct form. My work with CEFS and farmers definitely gave me the know how to tackle these issues.
Would have been helpful: 
-Dealing with large data sets: I am always working in large data sets that usually have around 10,000 plus lines of data. Even though I have my data analytics certificate, I feel like I never really learned the basics in breaking down large data sets in excel. This includes pivot tables, vlookup equations, sumif equations, and standard sorting and filtering. I learned how to breakdown data sets using expensive software packages but no one really uses these. I would suggest giving all scholars the opportunity to take some basic Excel classes and dig into data sets larger than 5,000 lines of data.
Once again, Excel skills boils to the top.  But the important of research-based skills, especially in market intelligence, is also a core component of all of our practicum classes in the MBA, and will be invaluable are a lifelong career skills.  Our business librarian, Jennifer Garnett, did a great job again this past week in explaining the many resources we have to offer at NC State for data collection and research.  Thanks Jennifer!