Students in the Global Supply Chain Management program of West Virginia University’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics now have choices when it comes to building their professional skills through student organizations. This semester, WVU started its own student affiliate chapter of the Association for Supply Chain Management.
Founded in 1957 as the American Production and Inventory Control Society, APICS is the largest non-profit association for supply chain and is considered the global leader in supply chain organizational transformation, innovation and leadership. The student affiliate chapter is under the supervision of the APICS Pittsburgh Chapter and will receive its charter on Feb. 26.
Teaching Assistant Professor Jeremy Roberts is serving as the faculty advisor and has granted each student a free membership to ASCM.
“With the establishment of APICS at WVU, the GSCM faculty can provide additional experiential learning opportunities such as factory tours, networking opportunities, certification preparatory sessions, and more,” Roberts said. “Students will soon be able to obtain valuable industry certifications while studying at WVU that will make them standout and when seeking employment.”
WVU’s chapter will work closely with Pittsburgh’s professional chapter, providing the opportunity for educational activities and professional development activities. John Saldanha, Sears Chair in Global Supply Chain Management, also serves on the board of the APICS Pittsburgh Chapter and is working to set up opportunities for the students to visit and tour area manufacturing facilities.
“The chapters get together and offer professional development, career advancement, education and certification opportunities to their chapter members and other professionals in the area,” he said. “I’m also trying to develop a partnership with them to get students certification or at least advanced preparation so that they can take the certification.”
ASCM offers certifications in various fields of supply chain that help students become more competitive in the job market —Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM), Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) and APICS Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CTLD).
“Most organizations, especially in production or manufacturing, would be looking for a student to come out ready to take the CPIM certification because then they would be in a position where they could be supervising manufacturing facilities,” Saldanha said. “Any manufacturing facility that you see in America, many parts of Europe and the rest of the world, they’re plant manager or the president of the facility has a CPIM certification, so to have our students come out with that certification is a really significant competitive advantage for our program.”
The national organization also provides countless resources for its student members, said Taylor Mathis, a senior supply chain management student who is serving at the chapter’s president.
“I know that I get at least two to three emails a week about different webinars that are going on, so you can listen in to the webinar and learn more about supply chain,” she said. “If you’re more interested about one subject than another, they more than likely have a webinar on it.”
Although still in its infancy, WVU’s ASCM chapter is already the largest student chapter in the organization, with nearly 200 members between the Chambers College and the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.
“I think part of that comes to fruition with the new faculty members that they brought in for supply chain as well,” said Mathis said. “I know that Jeremy Roberts took initiative to get this program started, as well as Saldanha. With the help that we’ve had from the professors, it’s been pretty smooth.”
Mathis said she’s looking forward to working with such a large group and learning how to get a big team involved.
“Obviously not every one of them is going to be involved, but we’re trying to get as many involved as possible,” she said. “We’re trying to figure out ways to get them to come to meetings and be a part of something great like this and just make sure that they know these opportunities are out there for them.”
Senior supply chain student Taylor Simon, who is serving as the organization’s secretary, first heard of ASCM during her summer 2019 internship.
“When I came back in the fall and found out that was something we were going to get going, I wanted to have a leadership position because I wanted to get more involved and network through the program,” Simon said. “It’s a really good opportunity for the upcoming supply chain students to get networking experience and more knowledge of supply chain.”
Since Simon will be graduating this spring, she finds it rewarding to know that future students will benefit from the hard work that she and her co-leaders are putting in to get the organization running.
“at the point where I’m graduating this semester, so I kind of get to help the younger supply chain management students and figuring out where to go,” she said. “When I started supply chain was still new. Now we have two different student orgs that supply chain students can get involved with and help their career development.”
As the chapter continues to grow and develop in the years to come, Saldanha hopes to partner with the Pittsburgh chapter for in-class projects.
“A lot of our supply chain classes have projects involved where we’re doing life-scale projects with organizations,” he said. “We’re hoping to have that pipeline of ASCM companies partner with us so that we can do projects in class.”
CONTACT: Brittany Murray
Senior Writer, Office of Strategic Communications
John Chambers College of Business and Economics
(304) 293-5927; email@example.com
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