Spring 2016 Black School of Business Project and Supply Chain Management Newsletter

Spring 2016 Black School of Business Project and Supply Chain Management Newsletter

Spring 2016 Project and Supply Chain Management Newsletter
Penn State Behrend, Black School of Business


In this Issue:

Faculty Spotlight
Alumni and Friends
The Impact of Involvement
Mark Your Calendars…


Advanced Degree Option for PSCM Graduates – Master of Project ManagementDr. Jeff Pinto

Corporations rely on project managers to oversee all aspects of a project so that everything flows seamlessly and the timeline, scope, and budget goals are met. As more organizations use project-based methods to accomplish tasks, experienced project managers are in higher demand.

The online Master of Project Management degree offered through Penn State World Campus is an interdisciplinary graduate program that uses problem-based learning to provide a thorough understanding of all aspects of project management theory and practice. This 30-credit degree program, which you can complete in as little as two years, is a well-respected credential and is AACSB accredited. In addition, Penn State is a Project Management Institute (PMI) Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.).

This degree program is headed by Dr. Jeffrey K. Pinto, an internationally renowned scholar in the field of project management. The program allows you to tailor the curriculum to match your personal interests and professional goals. Graduates of the Master of Project Management degree program are prepared for a variety of positions, including project manager, project management analyst, and quality management project coordinator.

Ray Venkataraman


Message from the Department Chair Dr. Ray Venkataraman

Student enrollment in the PSCM major continues to grow. To meet the increasing demand for our courses, we are currently in the process of hiring a new faculty member.

The popularity of this major is due to the dual skill sets it provides in the fields of project and supply chain management, and the highly relevant training that the students receive in using SAP software. Internship opportunities for our students have steadily increasing, largely due to the diligent efforts of the PSCM faculty.



Faculty SpotlightMs. Jianing Zhi

Ms. Jianing Zhi
lecturer of project and supply chain management


What is your educational background?

I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in logistics management at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics (DUFE) in Dalian, China. In my senior year, I participated in the Business Management Core (BMC) Program, a joint pro-gram between DUFE and Portland State University, and spent a year studying abroad in Portland as a visiting student. The four-year undergraduate education has provided me with solid academic foundation in logistics as well as an opportunity for pursuing an advanced degree in the U.S. I ended up entering the graduate program in operations management at the Culverhouse College of Commerce, The University of Alabama (UA). I earned a SAS Data Mining certificate and a Master’s degree in 2011, and expect to obtain my Ph.D. in August.

How would you describe your teaching style?

I believe in learning by doing, and this strategy has influenced my teaching style and method in many ways. One important aspect of teaching is to enable students to apply various theories to practice, which is always challenging. My way of addressing it is engaging students with different kinds of in-class activities. For example, I use Lego bricks to design a linear programming game that can be played in class, which turns out to be an effective approach to explain the essence of linear programming as well as reduce math anxiety. When it comes to Statistics, learning by doing becomes more crucial. A first step I adopt is always plugging the formulas into a practical setting so that students will feel how this discipline can make an impact in daily life. After the motivational example, in-class exercise is an-other vital component that transforms knowledge into skills.

What made you want to become a professor?

I always enjoy being engaged in the classroom, sharing knowledge, and having inspiring conversation with the students. Being a professor fulfills my dream. I never thought I would enjoy doing research as much as teaching until I dived into my first research project, which provides better emergency medical service (EMS) via an optimized network model. This was the first time I realized how research can address needs from the real world and create significant impact on the society. As a professor, I have the flexibility to choose an exciting research topic. I can engage students and collaborate with other faculty and industry partners. The potential of disseminating my research to a broader group of audience for greater impact is also infinite.

What do you like most about Behrend? What are you looking forward to?

Behrend offers a positive and comfortable environment where students, faculty, and staff members are being supportive to each other. I like the small classroom setting which enables more effective communication between students and the instructor. I also enjoy the close and harmonious relationship within and across departments, which makes me feel as an integral part of the Behrend family.

What is your favorite topic to research?

I am broadly interested in supply chain management, network design, inventory management, resource allocation, and mixed integer programming. From my perspective, an exciting research project in PSCM targets a problem that is not well solved or can be viewed from a new angle. For example, I am currently involved in a project that studies the coordination between operations management and marketing. For this projects, we integrate marketing strategies for assigning customers to salesmen with the operational inventory management decisions to maximize the total expected profit of the company.

Do you have any personal advice for current students majoring in PSCM?

Operations management is everywhere in our daily lives. To become an OM professional, one needs to think and act using an OM philosophy. Guided by the knowledge from this discipline, we can make more intelligent decisions that benefit an organization’s operation in the short or long run. Furthermore, I encourage students to apply for internship before graduation, as intern experience in the supply chain management industry will greatly enhance a student’s understanding of the field and will eventually make students more competitive in the job market.


Alumni and Friends

Paige AllenPaige Allen
Penn State Behrend Cross Country and Track and Field

Why did you choose your major and what is your favorite course? I was intrigued by the Project and Supply Chain Management major because it plays a crucial role in any industry because it is the heart of the business. I enjoy leading a group and overseeing projects. Therefore, Project and Supply Chain Management was the perfect fit for me. My favorite course so far is SCM 445 – Operations Planning and Control because it has taught me aggregate production procedures, master scheduling, and Material Requirement Planning, all core concepts of supply chain processes.

What sport(s) do you play? What position(s)? I run cross country and track and field. I am a sprinter and a heptathlete, which means I complete the following seven track and field events: 100-meter hurdles, 200-meter and 800-meter runs, high jump, long jump, javelin, and shot put.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in your sport? Breaking nine school records, and ranking 25th in the nation for the 60-meter dash. In cross country, my biggest accomplishment is winning the AMCC conference team title and making the All-Conference Team.

How do you effectively manage your time with being a scholar and an athlete? I plan out my weeks and never procrastinate! Being a student athlete is not as hard as everyone cracks it up to be. It takes is effective time management.

Are there ever times that sports have affected your school work? How do you overcome this? Sports will occasionally conflict with school. If I have to miss a class I try to enroll in another section. Luckily, the professors at Behrend are incredibly helpful and willing to go out of their way to assist with resolving conflicts.

How has being an athlete helped you academically? I understand the value of teamwork and preparation. I am self-motivated, mentally strong, and I am adaptable and willing to learn. These skills are valued in sports, but are also particularly helpful in the classroom and life.

What advice do you have for prospective Penn State Behrend student athletes? Ask yourself why you are coming to Behrend. It shouldn’t solely be to play a sport. It should be to further your education. Sports are a privilege and your education is your future!

What are your plans after graduation? After graduation I plan to further my education and get a Master’s in Project Management and apply to be a graduate assistant for track and field.


Scott Klein ‘15Scott Klein
Alumni Spotlight

What is a normal day like at your job? A normal day consists of constant communication. Whether it is via an email, phone call, or an in-person meeting, communication is a large part of my daily role at GE. I spend a large amount of my time using Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access to validate data that we are sending and receiving from a third party. I spend a significant amount of time learning Oracle and using its capabilities to validate or extract information essential to my project initiatives.

How did you find your current job? I heard about the opportunity through two faculty members, Carol Putman, my adviser, and Frank DeWolf.

What sort of things do you do for fun? I love playing golf and hockey. Those were the two sports that influenced me throughout my childhood and college. I also enjoy spending time with family and friends. During the winter months I enjoy spending my free time skiing.

If you could go back and change anything about your time at Behrend, what would it be? I would have studied abroad for a semester and taken the opportunity to experience countries outside of the U.S.

What advice do you have for current grads? College is about time management. Work hard and perform well, but also take the time to have some fun. Also, seek guidance from faculty. They are much more down to earth and resourceful than you may know! Swing by their office hours and talk to them. Never be afraid to ask a question!


Mary Austin MacphailMary Austin Macphail
Co-op Spotlight

What is your position and where? I am currently completing a co-op as an Intern at the Electro-Mechanical Division (EMD) of Curtiss-Wright Corporation, a publicly traded global provider of highly engineered, technologically advanced products and services in Cheswick, Pennsylvania. Previously I completed internships with Giant Eagle, a $9.3 billion private supermarket and fuel station chain headquartered in Pittsburgh, as well as Junior Achievement of Northwestern Pennsylvania in Erie. Looking ahead, I recently accepted an upcoming six-month co-op for fall 2016 with Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton, New Jersey.

How did you obtain your internship? Throughout my internship and co-op search efforts over the years, I have leveraged on-campus career fairs at both Behrend and University Park., as well as my personal network. I have found success pursuing opportunities via both avenues, and sometimes even connecting them (i.e. asking a contact to help connect me with a recruiter that will be attending a Penn State career fair).

What are some of your job duties? In my current role at Curtiss-Wright, a key responsibility is working with cross-functional business partners to track project progression, from project authorization into production and through project closeout. I also lead the development of robust weekly and monthly reporting packages which encompass on time performance and root cause analysis, with an increased emphasis on proactive risk identification.

How did some of your course work prepare you for your internship? My course work prepared me for my current position by giving me exposure to Just In Time (JIT), On Time Delivery (OTD), and basic knowledge of Oracle, all of which I leverage regularly. Also using Excel for class assignments is a plus in a world that has moved to “Big Data.” One can never have enough Excel experience.

What would you recommend to students looking for internships? Be open minded about roles and functions as well as geographic location. Relocating might not be your ideal situation, but keep in mind an internship or co-op introduces you to the organization, and vice versa. Your first internship may not be in your exact field, but you will learn a great deal from the experience, both personally and professionally. The more flexible you are in looking for an opportunity, the more offers will come. Many times a fulltime permanent employment offer can spring from an internship. I would also recommend being resourceful in your internship search. Begin networking with companies, professors, family friends, community members, etc. early on in your college career, and use that network to pursue future opportunities in your aspiring career field. Finally, look for the learning experience in every co-op or internship opportunity you’ve been afforded. You might find the perfect fit for the fulltime career you want to pursue, but you also might learn what you don’t want, which can be equally important.

What advice do you have to struggling undergraduates looking for an internship? Most students face a struggle at some point in their internship, co-op, or full time job search. Personally my challenge has been my GPA. I did not have the best GPA starting out in college, which made it challenging when first applying for internships and co-ops. The reality is that companies typically look for a 3.0 and higher for their top programs and roles. I’ve learned to own my GPA and continually work to improve it. I have also continued to hone my interviewing skills, and regularly confer with professors and other professionals to improve my candidacy to land my dream internship or co-op.

For example, I have worked to strengthen my resume with measurable real-world experience to buffer the impact of my GPA. After continuous efforts, I am excited to have been offered a co-op with Bristol-Myers Squib for fall 2016 on their global procurement team. I feel very fortunate to have received this opportunity which validates the efforts that I undertook and enables me to experience another area of supply chain.


Alex BilkaAlex Bilka
Student Athlete and All-American

Why did you choose your major and what is your favorite course? I chose my major because I know I wanted to do something within business and enjoyed the project management aspect of the PSCM major. My favorite course would have to be MGMT 410 – Project Management with Carol Putman because she makes the course interesting and it has opened my mind to why I enjoy the project management side of supply chain.

What sport(s) do you play? What position(s)? Soccer. Forward or outside mid.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in your sport? Becoming captain of the team junior year. It was something that I never thought I would receive as a junior and I’m grateful I got the opportunity to lead the girls as a junior.

How do you effectively manage your time with being a scholar and an athlete? Definitely a lot of time management. I do better in school during season because it forces me to balance out my days and my weeks. Making sure to get my school work done before practices or games, it forces you to stay on top of things and not get behind.

Are there times that sports have affected your school work? How do you overcome this? Although I do better academically during soccer season, late games or practices where I have an exam or homework the next day makes things tough. After late games or practices, I am exhausted and don’t want to study for exams or do homework. I just have to push through it, and know I have to get it done. I know I have to do well for the team, have to keep priorities straight and stay motivated.

How has being an athlete helped you academically? Aside from time management skills, being an athlete has helped me develop communication skills, especially in the classroom involving group projects. I know how to interact with different types of people and different personalities.

What advice do you have for prospective Penn State Behrend student athletes? Stay motivated with school, know that school is a priority. It comes before athletics. Motivate yourself to do well in school for your sport.

What are your plans after graduation? Get a job in supply chain field, preferably in a retail company located in the Pittsburgh area.

Women’s soccer junior Alex Bilka was named 2015 National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division III All-America Team. This past soccer season, in 21 games, Bilka scored a total of 17 goals and 11 assists setting a school record of 45 points. Alex Bilka had a record setting season when she became PSB Women s Soccer’s first National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division III All-American.

What did you do throughout season to receive this award? It was definitely more of a team effort than an individual effort. Our team always tried to go above and beyond this season. One of our coach’s favorite things to say is, “you have to do things now that you don’t want to do, to become better later.” To get a one up on our competition, we worked harder than past seasons to get to where we wanted to be. I don’t think I would have been awarded this without my teammates and coaches supporting me.

How did you deal with changing of positions from forward to outside mid? It was a huge adjustment because I always played forward growing up. I enjoyed the adjustment because playing outside mid is a defensive and offensive position. I had to work harder on and off the ball as far as movement and work rate. It helped me become more of a team player and contribute more to offensive and defensive positions.

How did you feel receiving award? I was taken back by it. I didn’t know if it was something I deserved. I was surprised and grateful because I know it was only possible because of the support I received from my coaches and teammates. They made the successes that we all achieved possible. I’m lucky to be a part of a program that does so well with teaching because it leads to opportunities like this.



Sarah McClaySara McClay

Junior Spotlight

What is/was your position and where? Operations support and analysis intern at Industrial Sales and Manufacturing Inc.

How did you obtain your internship? Recruited by networking through my serving job at a local restaurant.

What were some of your job duties? I’m responsible for performing duties related to productivity and cost analysis, research and implementation of different IT solutions, tracking customer overdue invoices, and uploading customer forecasts.

What is one thing you learned from working that you would not have known from classes? Integrity, and a strong work ethic are the most important qualities to have and will get you much further in the business world than being just book smart. I feel like many of the intro classes are based mostly on being book smart and grades are very exam based which is not very applicable to the real world.

What would you recommend to other students looking for internships? Network every chance that you get. Starting at the bottom is something you must do if you want to work your way up the ladder. It is most important to be honest about your qualifications and be yourself rather than trying to come off as someone you are not.

What was the biggest takeaway from the experience? I’ve learned a lot about how an ERP system works and also the flow of different business processes. I have been able to apply this knowledge in my SCM and MIS courses and it has made my college experience easier and more valuable than if I had not obtained this internship.

What are some experiences you’ve applied during your internship that you learned in class? Being able to understand business processes, the SAP platform, and certain terms was easier because they were touched on and outlined in my MGMT, MIS, and SCM courses. Group work was another experience from school that helped me to adapt to working with others in the workplace. I’ve learned that being persistent about meeting goals and objectives is the key to motivating others whether I’m working on a project in school or in the workplace.





In the business world, collaboration is king. Rarely is the successful project, service or solution developed by a single mind. Rather, corporations build cross-functional teams of people with different strengths, skill sets, and experiences to use their collective insights to come up with innovative ideas and solutions.

But what if it is a very small business, or a startup with a few resources, or a scenario where the firm simply can’t spare employees’ time for new projects?

They can turn to the Black School of Business and partner with students and faculty members on an Innovating Through Collaboration (ITC) project.

When PSNergy, an Erie startup company that sells radiant tube inserts that increase the fuel efficiency of furnaces, wanted to explore finding international business partners, president Carl Nicolia turned to Frank DeWolf, senior lecturer in management at the Black School for advice. DeWolf, who had worked with PSNergy as a consultant, suggested Nicolia partner with the school on an ITC project.

Three standout students from different business disciplines were chosen. “We knew we needed someone in Marketing to be on the team, so we chose Matt Slippy, a senior at the time,” DeWolf said. “We also wanted an M.B.A. with a technical background, so we chose Drashti Patel because she had an engineering degree. The final member of the team was Taryn Testa, a Project and Supply Chain Management major, who, though only a sophomore, had already proven herself to be a self-motivated, smart leader.”

Team members worked on the project outside of class time, conducting market research and exploring options for PSNergy. They met weekly with Nicolia, who along with faculty adviser DeWolf, helped steer the project. Nicolia, who has had an impressive career as a business leader, said he has long valued the contributions of students in the workplace. “These young people are phenomenally smart, and they are educated in the newest methodologies,” he said. “I learned to never underestimate their ability to contribute from the first day, and I’ve also learned to give them more work than you think they can handle because they will almost always surprise you.” Nicolia said the Black School of Business team did just that.

Testa, a junior, said it was an eye-opening experience for her. “In classes, when you have an assignment, you’re given all the steps you need to take, but with the PSNergy project, we just had an end goal and we had to figure out how to accomplish it,” she said.

“The project management aspect was the part that Taryn really latched onto,” DeWolf said. “She drove the bus on this project and kept it moving.”

In the end, Nicolia received what he most wanted out of the project.

“I formed a mutually beneficial business relationship with a major furnace manufacturer in

Europe thanks to the research work of the ITC team,” he said.

PSNergy had such success with their first ITC team, and with still tons of work left to do, began working with another group of students to take on a different pressing issue.

Patty, Carl, Nick and AlexThe project team consisted of seniors Nick Conjeski and Patty Schuler, both Project and Supply Chain Management (PSCM) majors, and Alex Bailey, a junior dual majoring in Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies and PSCM.

The project was to assist PSNergy with exploring and understanding competitors, potential customers, partners, and growth opportunities in a variety of markets. Effective market research meant the project team had to understand complex technical processes and material properties. This proved to be a valuable learning experience, as they had to formulate their research from an interdisciplinary standpoint outside the realm of typical PSCM.

The team was also tasked with continuously developing the framework and scope behind the project to accomplish their goals. Through this project, PSNergy gained opportunities for strategic growth and critical knowledge of their market! In addition, PSNergy has already started tackling the team’s recommendations.

Industry projects are a great way for students to gain priceless experience in their fields of study. Black School of Business students are encouraged to participate on projects such as these, and their unwavering success supports the excellent reputation of Project and Supply Chain Management students at Penn State Behrend!

Pinto's and Ryan Hoover


PSCM Professionals Meet Up With Behrend Alum at Disney World

Drs. Jeff and Mary Best Pinto had the pleasure of meeting up with one of our alums, Ryan Hoover, during spring break at Disney World in Orlando. Hoover was an Operations Management major with a minor in MIS. He graduated from the Black School in May 2013. Always interested in pursuing a career with Disney, Hoover started in the Disney College Program in January of 2010. He then completed two professional internships with Disney after graduating from Behrend. Next, Hoover transitioned to the Disney Vacation Club Operations Team in June of 2014. In October of 2015 he became an advance sales associate for the Disney Vacation Club. Hoover is more than happy to discuss his Disney experience and job opportunities at Disney with any interested students from the Black School. Contact Dr. Mary Beth Pinto at mxp49@psu.edu for his email address.


Darren Conway

Darren Conway of GE Transportation Speaks to PSCM Students

On March 2, GE Transportation electrical mechanical global commodity leader, Darren Conway visited campus to share his experiences in sourcing. Sourcing is all about finding the best resource in regards to time, quality, and cost. Conway described how sourcing is something not only businesses use but something we use in our everyday life. Businesses use sourcing for finding materials needed to manufacture their products, whereas a student might shop around looking for the cheapest version of the book they need for a college class. Conway mentioned three important aspects of being a sourcing specialist which include forecasting, negotiating, and finding the part that meets your fit, form and function. He described being a sourcing specialist as being the quarterback of the supply chain. Sourcing is in charge of the plays. It is the department carrying around the checkbook deciding where the company is going to buy parts from and who they are going to choose as their suppliers for these parts. Sourcing specialist have the responsibility of finding quality parts that will be delivered on time and meet your required specifications. When asked how to prepare for negotiations, Conway said that there are four important keys to successful negotiations: experience, knowledge, leverage, and prep work. The students learned all about sourcing and its importance not only to the business world but to everyday life.



Brian Misterovich

Brian Misterovich of Lord Corporation Speaks To PSCM Club

On February 3, the PSCM Club was excited to host LORD Corporation’s aerospace production planning manager, Brian Misterovich. LORD Corporation is a technology and manufacturing company that develops adhesives, coatings, motion management devices, and sensing technologies. Its major markets consist of aerospace and defense, automotive, electronic materials, energy, and industrial. LORD’s biggest aerospace and defense plant is located in Erie, PA. LORD creates noise and vibration control technologies that enable higher productivity from industrial equipment. Misterovich described his job as doing Frank DeWolf’s SAP-based SCM 445 – Operations Planning and Control class as a living. He is responsible for a team and the master production schedule. SAP is something his team uses every day. He emphasized how important it is to obtain the SAP certificate because it is used in a lot of companies to complete daily tasks. Misterovich discussed some of the career opportunities that LORD Corporation has to offer such as the Career Foundations Program that is a two year rotational program where you are given 4 unique assignments across key LORD locations. He spoke about the Technical Sales Development Program that is a twelve to eighteen month program with a focus on all aspects of LORD’s business and technology and processes to help build towards a career in sales. There is also the opportunity to be a direct hire. Misterovich discussed that students should have a one page neat and concise resume. Back-pocket accomplishments such as projects that went well at school, other internship experiences, and volunteer are key. Bringing props such as project portfolios or Excel printouts helps to differentiate against other applicants.


Get Involved

Ozgun DemiragA Message From The PSCM Student Club’s Faculty Advisor, Dr. Ozgun Demirag

The PSCM Student Club has been active in providing opportunities for students within the major to engage with other students and faculty, network with professionals from local companies, and get familiarized with the different career paths after graduation. The club was established in Fall 2014. Since Fall 2014, fourteen professionals from companies including GE Transportation, Erie Insurance, LORD Corporation, and Logistics Plus have visited the Behrend campus to give very informative and engaging presentations to the PSCM students. The club has also been participating in numerous activities in and aroMadeline Tushakund the campus.

Madeline Tushak, who has been the founding president of the club, is currently serving in her last semester in this position . She has led the club in different activities with great success, and she laid a strong foundation for the future presidents and other officers to have an easy time transitioning to these positions.

She often refers to the club as her baby which I am sure will illustrate how dedicated she has been to the club. With the hope to have new officers that are equally dedicated and motivated, I would like to encourage your participation in the club elections.

I would also like to thank Maddie for her great contributions to the PSCM Student Club!

News from the PSCM Club – Elections

The PSCM Student Club met on March 21 to hold elections pertaining to president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. The club filled their officer positions, but they are still in need of a treasurer. This is a great opportunity to get involved and have experience in leadership positions, which will be excellent additions as you build your resume. It is not too late to apply!

A PSCM Club meeting is also scheduled for April 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Burke 201.



WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO? In the Black School of Business, we want to prepare our students to thrive in the global business environment, whether it is working for an international company or in a multicultural setting.

Cultural agility is ranked as a top ten skill required by managers in all areas of business.

There is no better way to gain this experience than to take advantage of the study abroad opportunities available at Penn State Behrend.

Why Study Abroad?

Prepare yourself for the global business environment Expand your academic background Accelerate your personal growth Increase your career opportunities

Programs range from ten days to a whole year. Foreign language is not required.


What are you waiting for? Start Exploring NOW. It takes time to plan.

Attend one of the Learning Resource Center’s Study Abroad Information Sessions.