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APICS 2017: A Student Scholar's Perspective

Hear from APICS 2017 Student Scholars about their experience at our annual conference.

Rachel_Travis Rachel Travis
Grand Valley State University


This year I was given the opportunity to attend the APICS 2017 Conference as a Student Scholar. Having the ability to attend this conference was wonderful because it allowed me to develop my professional skills, to learn how to network, and to learn more about the area of supply chain management. At this conference, I made so many new connections, and became more aware of future trends within supply chain management. This new knowledge I acquired is already being put to use at my job and in my classwork. With this knowledge, I am able to relate the concepts I am learning in my classes to real-world examples and experiences unlike the majority of other students. These experiences are setting me apart from other students and allowing me to gain a competitive advantage when applying for internships and jobs.

Thank you again for this great experience!

Thomas_Schubert2 Thomas Schubert
Carleton College, Canada

I have never been to Texas before, and my first trip was to the premier supply chain conference in the United States. I can say I had an amazing experience that included networking with professionals and fellow students, learning from speaker sessions and developing interpersonal skills alongside my mentor. One of the things that shocked me the most and opened my eyes to the value that my attendance brought me is being among like minded individuals. At my university, the supply chain program is very small, amongst the smallest, if not the smallest, when compared to the other commerce degree concentrations/specializations. Therefore, seeing the thousands of engaged and passionate supply chain professionals and student made me realize “that I am not the only supply chain nerd out there”. It was excellent to see how many others were as passionate, if not more, about the field that we work in or will be working in soon. I realized that the supply chain field spans every company whether or not they have a physical product. I left Texas even happier with my degree choice, and looking forward to June 2018 when I graduate. So thank you APICS and Texas for the amazing opportunity.

Jordan_Kremer Jordan Kremer
University of Dayton

My experience at APICS 2017 was both informative and enjoyable. Throughout my four days at the conference, I was able to meet scholars from all over the world and relate my experiences regarding classes and internships. One of the nights, I was fortunate enough to attend a dinner with the leaders of the Mid-Atlantic District and shared my ideas on how to draw interest from the collegiate demographic. Informative sessions, like block-chain and Honeywell’s SIOP, provided new innovative topics in the industry that delivered real life examples of how companies actually operate. One of the most beneficial aspects of the scholar’s program was the opportunity to sit down with top-tier companies and perform on the spot interviews for potential internships or full-time employment. Above all, I’m glad I was able to connect with so many amazing people and explore the city of San Antonio. I would like to offer my sincere appreciation to the Dayton APICS Chapter for sponsoring my trip and I look forward to attending many more conferences in the future.

Matthew_Nehr Matthew Nehr
Duquesne University, Pittsburgh PA

APICS 2017 in San Antonio, Texas was my first time ever at the national APICS convention. It was also the first time I ever traveled somewhere out side of Pennsylvania by myself. When arriving on the scene in San Antonio, I had no idea what to expect, I had no knowledge of the scale of the event, and I was quite nervous to be in a place I have never been before, surrounded by complete strangers. Soon after checking into the hotel and meeting my roommate, I felt right at home. Being surrounded by thousands of people with the same interests as myself made it incredibly easy to make friends. I met dozens of incredible scholars and hundreds of Supply Chain professionals. The scholars that I met will undoubtedly become lifelong companions of mine, as we continue to keep in touch to this day and we are all greatly looking forward to next year’s event in Chicago. The supply chain professionals were all very friendly and I made invaluable connections that will help me as move forward with my supply chain career. I left San Antonio with a great sense of independence, as I went to a completely new place by myself and thrived in the environment, I also left with a sense of sadness and excitement. Sad that the event had concluded, but excited for what next year has to offer. When I returned to Pittsburgh, I told many of my classmates and professors about my experience. Next year, I plan to bring other supply chain students at Duquesne University with me, so they too can share this wonderful experience. I would like to thank APICS for organizing this incredible event and Duquesne University for providing me the platform and support to get involved with APICS. A special shout out to Dr. Drake who introduced me to the organization and many supply chain professionals.

Noppadol_Tuksakulvith Noppadol “Champ” Tuksakulvith
Southern Illinois University

As the APICS 2017 Conference concluded, I took some time to reflect on my experience and what I have learned. First of all, I would like to thank you the APICS Fox River Chapter for sponsoring me to attend the flagship conference as an APICS Student Scholar and Shawn Batka for being my mentor.

Even through this is my second time as an APICS scholar, I found it is to be a valuable and exceptional experience. The APICS 2015 Conference in Las Vegas, NV was my first professional exposure to APICS organization and the field of Supply Chain. Headed into my first conference two years ago, I learned that it is a good opportunity to network with like-minded scholars as well as professionals in the field. Now the second time around, it is not just about the networking aspect, but also reconnecting with my network and expanding my network circle.

This year keynote speakers were phenomenal! Cofounder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, John Mackey, spoke about how he founded the company and how business is not always profit maximization, but purpose maximization. Purpose maximization entails how your business can create value for employees, suppliers, customers, and stakeholders, thus, create sense of purpose for all the stakeholders. A lot of companies are transforming the business to create a greater good for both business and society. Dr. Derreck Kayongo was another remarkable keynote speaker. His journey began with a small bar soap in a hotel room. He realized the hotels are throwing away bar soaps after the end of customers stay. He noticed the problem and came up with a solution. His organization, The Global Soap Project, partners up with hotels, collects all the bar soaps that would have been thrown away, sanitizes them, reshapes them, and sends them to different countries that are in needed. Kayongo’s speech was very inspiring; he received a standing ovation at the end! That is very rare in a technical field conference like supply chain I would think. I encourage everyone to watch his TEDTalk to learn more about his journey here.

The world is ever changing and it changes faster now more than ever. So what causes the world to change so much? I recalled a futurist, Jim Carroll, said during the APICS 2015 Conference that technology is the main driven force. Supply chain is also changing along with the world! Frankly, I am aware of the changes, but wasn't expecting the field to change this rapidly. After attending two very interesting sessions in a today's hot topic, Blockchain, I remembered there weren't many educational sessions with the technology focused back in 2015. After getting home, I sought out the 2015 Conference booklet from my bookshelves to compare the topics. Interestingly enough, the recent conference offered many more sessions in the area of data analytic and technology compared to just a handful two years ago. Blockchain in the Supply Chain's presenter, Quentin Samelson, suggested that the "Internet of Things" is an old and obsoleted concept, blockchain is a new and upcoming technology that can and will revolutionize supply chain.

Here are my two takeaways from the conference:

  1. Vision or sense of purpose: Mackey believes in providing healthy food options for consumers; he builds the company and culture around his vision. Kayongo recognizes that a small bar soap has more value than being disposed.
  2. Continuous learning: As the world keeps changing and moving faster, we have to be able to adapt to the new way and be ready for new disruptive technology. We can never stop learning and being a lifelong learner is what keeps us striving forward in the ever changing world!

 

Mahek_Hooda2 Mahek Hooda
University of Houston

This year I was blessed enough to attend the 2017 APICS Conference in San Antonio, Texas as a Student Scholar. I was sponsored by the Houston APICS Chapter to represent the Supply Chain Student Body in the Houston Region.

I would describe my experience in the following 3 words: Global, Immersive and Life-Changing.

As a student scholar I got my entire ticket to the conference funded for as well as my hotel and transportation to SA, TX. I also had the ability to write about a moving topic that interests me in Supply Chain for the chance to win more scholarship money. I wrote about " The Potential of Blockchain and Virtual Reality In Supply Chain". This poster won me 3 place and allowed me to talk to more people, gain more exposure and win more scholarship money. I also as a scholar, I was given a mentor. My mentor works at Lockheed Martin and was a strong guide and friend for me as I navigated the conference. Through the conference I had the chance to interview for a Full Time Supply Chain Role at Lockheed Martin as well! I had exposure to scholars from all over the USA and Canada along with their mentors as well.

Now on to the 3 words!

My APICS 2017 journey was the most global experience I have ever had in my life. What I mean by global is I got to meet people who are passionate about the growth of supply chain from all over the world. I went to dinner and had discussions with people from Italy, China, Tiwan, and Canada. My understanding of diversity and inclusion grew exponentially through this experience. I was also able to meet people from all walks of life, students, professionals, CEO's, and University Faculty. There was not a single time where I approached someone and they were not welcoming. What an amazing look at how open and accepting people are!

Secondly this was a truly immersive experience. From the topics I attended at the educational sessions to experiencing SA with all the scholars I met. I was able to meet people from companies I was interested in like: Google, L'Oréal, Kraft-Heinz, PWC, Microsoft, Honeywell, Cisco, Gartner, Tesla and more. These are companies and people I would not normally have the access to at my University. I was also able to take a picture and meet the key note speaker and CEO of Whole Foods( see picture below). The topics where phenomenal and made me even more invigorated about Supply Chain. From Blockchain to VR, to Cloud to IOT to Women in Supply Chain and more. I felt as though I was on the cutting edge of what is going on in my field. I was able to go to dinner each night with scholars I had met from all over the world and make friendships I will cherish forever. We made a group chat and will continue to stay in touch!

Lastly my experience was life changing. I felt so accepted and made such great connections with people. Even past the conference being over I have reached out to so many people. Everyone is willing to help and grow the supply chain community. I will be getting coffee with a Anlayst from Gartner who was one of the presenters and doing many phone calls to continue my growth and relationships.

Thank you so much to APICS and the Houston chapter for such an impeccable opportunity!

Mara_Pattison Mara Pattison
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

My name is Mara Pattison and I am currently a junior at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) majoring in Industrial and Management Engineering. I initially became involved with APICS at the beginning of my sophomore year when I received an email from the RPI Industrial Engineering Department with a formal invitation to join the APICS Student Chapter’s first of the semester meeting. After attending the first APICS meeting at RPI, I immediately became invested into the student chapter. Little did I know, APICS would be a pivotal organization in my college experience that would provide me with Supply Chain and Operations skills and connections I would have for a lifetime. One of the most influential pieces of my involvement was the introduction to my formal APICS mentor, Gary Smith. Since our initial introduction, Gary has provided a tremendous amount of guidance and encouragement in regards to all things APICS and pointing me in the direction to apply to be an APICS Scholar.

Upon discovery that my APICS Scholar application was accepted, and that I was one of the many international applicants to be honored as an APICS Scholar from top universities around the world, I was unsure of what to expect. Soon I discovered that I would have the opportunity to network with over 2,000 professionals and over 50 likeminded students at the 2017 APICS International Supply Chain Flagship Conference in San Antonio. As a millennial, the APICS Scholar Program offered us students the opportunity to learn from some of the top well-established business leaders around the world. Having been offered the opportunity to be a 2017 APICS Scholar is a true honor.

One of the most memorable experiences from the conference was listening to the keynote speaker, Derrick Kayonga, a global humanitarian, who told an inspiring story sharing a reminder to us that we all have the ability to make a difference in the world. The APICS 2017 conference truly inspired me to strive to reach my academic goals and continuously learn in this ever-changing world. From the educational sessions about the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and drones in the Supply Chain, the APICS Scholars learned that technology is ever evolving and we are in the midst of a technology revolution. As millennials learning about these trends, we are on the forefront of this innovation and change. At this conference, scholars learned to question the norms in Supply Chain. We’ve become trained to ask “Why?” and find ways to improve current processes in place across all areas of business. Bob Rush, from Tesla, spoke about “Kaizen” which is a Japanese word that means changing for the better and continuous improvement. The main way to do this is to always ask “Why?”

For me, as well as the other APICS Scholars, this conference showed us that Supply Chain is not just an abstract body of facts and figures, but a means of transforming business and lives in a positive way. APICS Scholars, viewed as "millennials", just want to learn, grow, and most of all, make a difference. The opportunity to be an APICS Scholar has put us one step closer to meeting that goal.