Current Position: Senior Strategic Sourcing Specialist, National Grid Corporation
Previous University: University of Vermont
Undergraduate Degree: Economics and environmental studies
Q: What was your background before you began the Part-Time MBA program?
A: I graduated from the University of Vermont with a bachelor's degree in economics and environmental studies. I had a wonderful mentor there who worked for an environmental consulting firm, and his position was at the intersection of supply chain management and analytics. Seeing the kinds of challenges he got to tackle, I fell in love with the idea of combining those two disciplines in my own career. Once I had some work experience in analytics, getting an MBA with a focus on supply chain management was the natural next step for me.
Q: Why did you choose Northeastern?
A: First, Northeastern's supply chain management program has a great reputation. And the fact that they offer a flexible part-time option was critical because I wanted to build a work profile alongside my academics. The Part-Time MBA offers two evening time slots for classes—I chose the later courses that started at 7:20 p.m. because my work didn't always fall between nine and five. I was really grateful that flexibility was available as I built my class schedule.
Q: You chose a dual concentration in supply chain management and corporate finance. How did those areas of study work together for you?
A: It was a nice marriage because it gave me a clear picture of the total cost of ownership. If you're working in supply chain, you need to understand both what the supply chain needs and what the business needs. How do you fund it? How do you consider risk? Finance really spoke to those elements and gave me the skills to evaluate decisions with facts and figures.
I highly recommend that students choose a dual concentration and pair their main focus area with something analytical, like finance or business analytics. You'll be able to do deep-dive analysis and communicate more effectively with your business stakeholders in the future. Leaders in upper management may be high-level thinkers and visionaries, but they're not necessarily hands-on with the analysis. Using my MBA skills, I can convey my supply chain strategy alongside a good financial assessment, making a bigger impact on decision-makers.
Q: What's your current role?
A: I'm a senior strategic sourcing specialist, which is my first foray directly into supply chain. My previous experience was in analytics and global operations, really lining up those bullets that go into a procurement negotiation. Now I'm in the driver's seat, working in commercial settings with external vendors, negotiating what we purchase and evaluating data to conduct business. It really excites me to be able to ask, how do I work best to get my end customers the value they need while creating a win-win situation with my external vendors?
Q: How did your Part-Time MBA coursework prepare you for what you're doing now—and what you'll be doing in the future?
A: Two courses stood out to me. One was Management Information Systems—supply chains don't run without good information management, and that course taught me to tell a good system from a bad one. The other was Logistics, which covered the technology involved in getting anything from Point A to Point B, and also gave me an appreciation for how rapidly the technology is advancing. In today's supply chain, whether it's because of geopolitical tensions or the COVID-19 virus,you need to know where to spend your time and money to stay on top of technological changes, and that's a big point of emphasis at Northeastern.
Q: What part of the program left the biggest impression on you?
A: The faculty have a passion for what they teach, and they make learning enjoyable—not easy, but enjoyable, and they go out of their way to make sure you understand the material. I had a very positive experience at Northeastern, and it prepared me well for the future I want to pursue.