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Supply Chain Students Connect With Employers at Exclusive Recruiting Event

Once a semester, supply chain students at the Poole College of Management have the option of attending the Supply Chain Recruiting Event, a specialized event designed to engage them with employers seeking supply chain talent at NC State. Unlike the Poole College Career Fair, the focus of the event is entirely on supply chain-related opportunities. This semester’s event was held on Thursday, February 14th, where 137 students connected with representatives from 29 different companies, including Bank of America, Daimler Trucks, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), IBM, Maersk, and Schneider Electric.

Tracy Freeman, Teaching Assistant Professor in Operations and Supply Chain Management at Poole College, says students and recruiters benefit from the more focused and intimate setting of the event. “The event is supply chain only. That is all the recruiters are looking for, so they appreciate the opportunity to engage more closely with the students compared to the college-wide career fair, where they may only have one minute to engage with a student as opposed to five,” says Freeman. “It also helps that the companies know the students there have an interest and experience in their field of work.”

Currently, the Supply Chain Recruiting Event is the only concentration-specific recruiting event offered by the college. And even though the event gives students a more efficient means to connect with potential employers, the faculty encourages students to attend the college-wide career fair in addition to the exclusive event. “The students are able to maximize their exposure to employers by attending both, since employers often attend both events,” says Freeman.

To prepare for the event, Beena Thomas, a 2019 Jenkins MBA candidate, used the Career Fair Plus app, LinkedIn and the event website to research the companies that were attending. “This helped me make the most of the limited face-time we get with the prospective employers,” she says. “Overall, the recruiting event provided us with a forum for exploring opportunities in the job market and for expanding our networks. And from an international student perspective, the event gave me the opportunity to network with supply chain teams from organizations that could be open to sponsoring work visas.”

[marketing-quote color=’blue’ quotes=’true’ align=’center’ source=’Stephanie Cronjé, Director of Global Supply Chain Design and Optimization,‘]I actively recruit supply chain talent [at these events] because I know [NC State Supply Chain] understands what supply chain really is.[/marketing-quote] was one of the 29 companies represented at this semester’s event, whose supply chain team features four NC State supply chain alumni, including Stephanie Cronjé, Director of Global Supply Chain Design and Optimization. “It was a great event, and I was impressed by the quality of talent and diversity this year,” says Cronjé. “As an alum, I actively recruit supply chain talent [at these events] because I know [NC State Supply Chain] understands what supply chain really is. It’s not just planning or procurement—it’s much more than that, and students need to be able to articulate many languages in the field,” she says.

10 Years in the Making

The college has been hosting the recruiting event for ten years now, with Donavon Favre, a former Poole College supply chain lecturer and project advisor; Brian Newton, director of the Poole College Undergraduate Programs Career Center; and Tracy Freeman playing critical roles in the event’s facilitation over the years.

Favre originally ideated and arranged the inaugural Supply Chain Recruiting Event back in 2008, which he hosted in Port City Java in Nelson Hall. Four companies attended.

Freeman joined the cause in 2010, and as her and Favre garnered more interest from students and employers, they quickly outgrew Port City Java as a hosting site. “For several years, our tables were lined up and down the halls of Nelson in order to accommodate the event. It was loud, it was hot, and it was crowded,” says Freeman. “So finally Brian [Newton] said, ‘why don’t you just come over to the Mckimmon Center [where we host the college-wide career fair]?’ So we said ‘Okay!’ and we’ve been holding the event at McKimmon for three years now.”

As the event continues to grow, Freeman and Newton have had to start turning away employers due to lack of space, even with their new, larger room at the McKimmon Center. “This past fall we had 45 companies attend, but we actually had 55 that wanted to attend. So, we had to turn away 10 because we had reached capacity.”

Fortunately, Freeman and Newton will be moving the event into an even larger space within the McKimmon Center starting this fall to meet the increase in demand from employers.

Preparing Students for The Real World

When asked why the school’s supply chain students have their own exclusive recruiting event, Freeman says it’s because helping prepare students for life after graduation is arguably the most pivotal element of the student experience. “We believe that the whole purpose of the college experience is to get a job—well, maybe not the whole purpose—but we put a big emphasis on helping them find jobs and preparing them for the real world,” says Freeman. “That’s why we also arrange three supply chain tours a semester—for example, we go to Caterpillar, John Deere, Dell, Toshiba, and the QVC Distribution Center in Rocky Mount—we’re taking students out to give them exposure to what supply chain is and to see what they are learning in the classroom. Our focus has just been to get them ready—”think and do.” So we’ve found it beneficial to have the recruiting event for that reason. And it seems the recruiters and students have found it to be beneficial, as well.”

The next supply chain recruiting event is Thursday, September 26th 2019 at the McKimmon Center from 5:30 – 8pm. Online registration opens in late May. To learn more, companies can contact Brian Newton directly at