2023-24 Project and Supply Chain Management Newsletter

Photo of Behrend signage with 2023-24 PSCM Newsletter Text

In This Issue

What's New With the PSCM Major?

Photo of Ray Venkataraman

Welcome to our Spring 2024 newsletter! Our PSCM program is delighted to welcome Dr. Soomin Park, who joined us in the fall. You will read more about him below.

Due to the success and popularity of the residential PSCM program, the first set of PSCM classes will be offered online this fall through Penn State World Campus, offering students from around the globe access to our program. In addition, PSCM alumni continue to lead a variety of positions across the United States with highly successful careers.

Students and faculty at the University of Pittsburgh Race to the Case Competition

Our students continue to benefit from our Speaker Series, held in coordination with the University-wide Project and Supply Chain Management Committee. We continue to work closely with the PMI Erie Chapter, other professional societies, and Penn State clubs.

Our PSCM students have also traveled to two Race to the Case competitions and secured second place at the competitions sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh. Finally, we held our annual PSCM Day in 2023, with distinguished speakers from both supply chain and project management.

Dr. Ray Venkataraman, professor of management and chair of PSCM major

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Soomin Park, Assistant Teaching Professor of Supply Chain Management

Photo of Soomin Park

Dr. Soomin Park completed his Ph.D. in Operations and Supply Chain Management at the State University of New York at Buffalo, focusing his dissertation on the performance impacts of logistics management and outsourcing decisions. This research has profoundly influenced his approach to teaching and scholarly inquiry in the field.

What made you want to become a professor?

Becoming a professor was an unforeseen path for me; it was not among my goals. But, as I ventured into this field, I experienced the deep fulfillment that arises from encouraging the exchange of ideas and interacting with students. For me, teaching is inherently a reciprocal learning process. This role has become incredibly fulfilling.

What do you enjoy most about Penn State Behrend?

It's the community, comprising students and fellow faculty, that I find most rewarding. The intellectual curiosity exhibited by the students pushes the boundaries of my teaching and research. The collaborative spirit and expertise of my colleagues in the Project and Supply Chain Management department also provide a rich reservoir of resources, facilitating breakthroughs in my research endeavors.

How would you describe your teaching style or method?

My teaching is anchored in the principle of “learning by doing.” I am convinced that practical, hands-on experiences significantly enhance the learning process. My SCM 445 course, which covers the spectrum of operations planning and control, incorporates practical SAP activities to transform theoretical knowledge into tangible skills.

What moment are you most proud of in your career?

The moments that fill me with the greatest pride in my career are when alumni reach out for guidance on advancing their careers. Such interactions are a testament to the relevance and impact of my contributions to teaching and research and affirm my efforts have not only imparted knowledge but have also equipped my students with the skills necessary to navigate and succeed in their professional journeys.

Alumni Spotlight

Jordan Swartz '23

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Jordan interned with American Eagle Outfitters in Inventory Planning, a crucial role within the supply chain. Through her internship, she gained valuable skills essential for excelling in the retail sector and was offered a full-time position upon graduation.

How did your degree prepare you for your career path?

My degree provided a great foundation for a career in inventory planning. I gained a solid understanding of supply chain dynamics, including concepts such as inventory management and logistics. This gave me a foundation in inventory planning and sharpened my ability to analyze data for decision-making. The coursework emphasized project management principles, preparing me to plan, execute, and oversee projects related to inventory optimization and process improvement. I developed problem-solving abilities crucial for addressing inventory-related challenges. My courses highlighted the importance of communication and collaboration, essential for working effectively with stakeholders across the supply chain.

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

Inventory planners play a vital role in managing and optimizing inventory levels in retail. Their duties include restocking store inventory based on shipments received and ensuring a balanced inventory in line with sales volume. They also analyze inventory and sales reports to make informed decisions aimed at maximizing profitability.

What advice would you give to current students in this major?

I recommend seeking hands-on learning opportunities through internships and class projects. These practical experiences offer invaluable insights into the real-world applications of theories and concepts learned in the classroom.

Student Spotlight

Photo of Tim Keen with Penn State Behrend backdrop

Tim Keen ’24

After graduation, Tim will be employed as an Area Manager at Amazon in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He also interned there last summer.

How did you apply what you've learned to your internship at Amazon?

PSCM isn't just about knowing about the supply chain, it's also about people. Whether you're managing a team of employees or negotiating with suppliers, interpersonal skills are crucial. My classes helped me learn about supply chain principles, project management, and business fundamentals while also teaching me communication, teamwork skills, and leadership. These skills helped me solve problems while working with all the great people that make the supply chain operate.

What advice do you offer to fellow PSCM students?

You'll learn a ton in the classroom, but nothing beats real-world experience. Look for internships, co-op programs, or even volunteer opportunities where you can get your hands dirty and see how things work in the field. Also, because the world of PSCM is constantly evolving, it's important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, technologies, and best practices. Take advantage of your professor's knowledge and courses and out-of-classroom seminars to expand your knowledge and skills.

What are your career aspirations?

I want to become an operations manager or a site leader at a big company. My PSCM degree has equipped me with analytical and problem-solving skills to identify root causes, develop solutions, and implement changes that drive continuous improvement. The things I have learned will help me make a positive impact in operations management.

Club Updates

The PSCM Club continues to build on its strength and hosted several recruitment and showcase events last year. Club activities generated interest with existing PSCM students and other students interested in the major. Club membership grew around 5 percent this semester. The club will welcome Dr. Soomin Park as a co-faculty adviser, alongside with Dr. Muhammad Odeh.

This semester, the PSCM Club was able to host several events:

PSCM Spotlight Speaker Series: Industry professionals joined us in a virtual event to discuss “Overcoming Inventory Visibility Challenges” in the world of international and domestic shipping.

Photo of Students, Faculty and Employees at MSA

IBE and PSCM students visit MSA in Pittsburgh, Spring 2024

Credit: Penn State Behrend

PSCM & IBE Mini-Trip to Pittsburgh: Students from the PSCM and Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies majors traveled to Pittsburgh to meet with companies to learn about their industry, as well as network for future career opportunities.

PSCM Club Meet and Greet: Students met with PSCM faculty and the current e-board to discuss interest in upcoming events. Openings in the e-board were also discussed, and students had the opportunity to express interest in these positions.

ChatGPT Informational Workshop: In a joint event with the IBE, MIS, and Entrepreneurship clubs, students were able to learn to navigate AI and discover how to optimize its use.

Celebrating Behrend's 75th Anniversary

Several hundred people form the number 75 on a gym floor.

On October 30, 2023, Penn State Behrend faculty and staff assembled in Erie Hall to form a 75. View a larger size of the 75th Anniversary Photo.

Credit: Penn State Behrend

We just wrapped up an academic year-long celebration of Behrend's 75th anniversary. Do you know what year the PSCM degree was first offered? It was 2013, and the PSCM degree was developed to replace the B.S. in Management. Penn State World Campus was launched in 1998, and no one could have predicted that the PSCM major would be available in a fully online program in 10 years. We eagerly looking forward to preparing more students to have successful careers in the industry.