For Amazon and Others, Kelley is Part of the Supply Chain for Talent

An earlier BizBlog post chronicled the story of Joseph Cook, Kelley School of Business Class of 2015 from the Indianapolis campus. Cook chose Supply Chain Management as his major and quickly discovered the field’s broad implications for business — opening the door to a wealth of career opportunities, close to home and across the globe.

Cook ultimately chose a position with online retailing behemoth Amazon, a company that already serves consumers worldwide with a sophisticated supply chain, and is continuing to expand its reach by providing third-party fulfillment services for more than two million vendors who use Amazon to sell their own products into a global e-commerce marketplace.

Amazon provides a simplified definition of supply chain management for every incoming student who has bought something online — it’s everything that happens between the time you click “buy” and the time that your package arrives at your door. Making it all work requires an army of professionals like Cook, who offers this advice for those considering the supply chain major, “It is a very important industry, with lots of job opportunities … supply chain majors can be very versatile because they can work in different environments. It’s challenging, yet rewarding.”

Cook (right) graduated two weeks ago and is currently finishing an internship with the 500 Festival. In early June, he'll join the Amazon team as an area manager at the Ruskin, Fla., facility. His responsibilities will include leading and developing a team to implement continuous improvement projects and maintain quality control standards. When he steps into this role, Cook will earn a starting salary of nearly 25 percent more than the average U.S. college graduate.

This kind of earning power reflects the sought-after status of supply chain skills. Supply chain management and logistics is one of the top ten bachelor’s degrees in demand by employers according to a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employees (NACE). NACE revealed that 40 percent of employers surveyed expect to hire supply chain graduates in the next year; see the full infographic from NACE on business majors at naceweb.org.

Supply chain professionals are also in local demand as Indiana becomes a more global economy. The state set a new record for exports in 2014, and more than 700 foreign-owned businesses operate in the state. Billions of tons of freight criss-cross Indiana every year via highway, air, rail, and barge, and a growing share is bound for international markets.

“Indiana has traditionally been a major logistics hub,” noted Kelley’s Director of Indianapolis Career Services Joshua Killey. “But we’ve also seen more local companies become active exporters and establish overseas networks, and international companies locate operations here. That means more complex and challenging supply chains — and more opportunities for our graduates.”

As the need for supply chain professionals has increased, the list of companies recruiting at Kelley Indianapolis has also grown.

“We have great relationships with local corporate headquarters of global companies — like Eli Lilly, Cummins, Rolls-Royce, Roche and others,” added Killey. “Demand for supply chain graduates has always been strong. But we’ve seen new companies come to campus in recent years — like Amazon — as employers intensify their search for logistics talent. Our graduates have a wealth of career opportunities close to home, and increasingly across the country as well.”

To connect students with the industry, Kelley Indianapolis hosts multiple career fairs on the IUPUI campus; Cook was recruited at a joint event with the School of Engineering and Technology, as Amazon sought supply chain and engineering employees. But networking goes beyond recruiting events: Kelley faculty bring business executives to campus regularly to speak to and interact with students, along with the hands-on learning opportunities that come with the Indianapolis campus’ connections to major employers nearby.

“The Kelley School of Business has had many great impacts on my life. Not only has Kelley prepared me in the classroom, but they have also prepared me to be a professional through real life applications. Without the help from The Kelley School of Business, I would not be where I am today,” said Cook.

To learn more about possible job opportunities and Kelley curriculum for an undergraduate degree in supply chain management click here.