Alexandra always knew she wanted to pursue a graduate degree because she sees it as an asset that will advance her career. However, she works full time and needs a program that she can successfully complete while also maintaining her status professionally and financially. This is why Chatham’s MBA program is a great fit for her. Alexandra’s other primary reasons for choosing Chatham are that Chatham’s MBA courses, when compared to other schools in the area, did not seem overbearing nor redundant. Also, she was interested in Chatham’s unique and innovative faculty.
“Learning in a small class setting from professors who double as vice presidents, senior managers, small business owners, and veterans from the field of the course’s subject is invaluable. Chatham is living up to those expectations, so I’m very happy with my choice,” Alexandra explains.
Alexandra loves the Logistics and Operations course (taught by Professor Michael Sherwin), because she is very interested in exploring the intricacies of channels within the business sphere that enable the movement of goods and services. In Alexandra’s opinion, “everyday there are countless people across the world coordinating movements, processes, and production all in order to bring customers all manner of items, from wool socks to giant wind turbine blades. How could that get boring?!” She loves the supply chain management concentration because although she is only two and a half years into her career, she is gaining access to areas of the field where she does not have work-related experience. She is learning about operational excellence, production planning, and procurement practices that she can directly leverage into a future career. Having extensive knowledge related to the supply chain and logistics discipline is not common for someone who has been in the workforce fewer than three years, so for a young professional like Alexandra, this concentration is definitely an asset.
Alexandra maintains that one of the most memorable courses for her has been Dr. Kimberly Gleason’s Corporate Finance class. Alexandra was pleasantly surprised to find that Dr. Gleason taught that finance is more than just budgets and investments, but also learned that finance can be used to uplift others. For the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge, Dr. Gleason’s class required students to research and present social impact bonds, which pool investors for funding directly benefiting a worthy government project with a goal of improving lives. Once that goal is achieved, investors receive their payback. Alexandra was especially energized by this project because she was able to see how for-profit companies can use tools like social impact bonds to positively impact communities.
Unfortunately, Alexandra doesn’t have much spare time, but she would love to join a professional organization such as the American Production and Inventory Control Society, known as APICS, an association for supply chain management professionals, or the Institute for Supply Management in the future. She has quite the incentive for joining professional organizations like these, as they can expand a young professional’s social capital and improve potential career prospects. Also, the cost of membership as a graduate student can often be reduced or free-of-charge and may be eligible for reimbursement by the Business and Entrepreneurship Department.
Alexandra is currently an employee of LKQ Corporation, and she is the Fleet Manager of Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW, a wholly owned subsidiary of LKQ). Pittsburgh Glass Works is the leading manufacturer of windshields in North America. LKQ is a Fortune 500 company and is the leading supplier of aftermarket auto parts in North America. Pittsburgh Glass Works is where her role as Fleet Manager began in February of 2016, which is the same month the company was acquired by LKQ. In her position, she handles the life cycle of all vehicles used in PGW’s 120 warehouses spanning across the US and Canada. She is responsible for maintaining the current vehicles, up-fitting the vehicles with the best options for delivering products to customers, and administering a route optimization program to ensure the most cost efficient deliveries. After transitioning to LKQ following their acquisition of PGW, she was given the opportunity to work in the procurement process of vehicles for the whole organization (over 5,000 vehicles total). Something she had to learn this year is time management. “I have experienced an increase in responsibilities which is very motivating, but can also be very challenging.”
One question Alexandra frequently asks herself to help manage her responsibilities are: “can I answer this question before asking someone else?”. She believes that with any type of job it is valued if someone tries to answer their own questions before asking someone else. She acknowledges that there is a place and time for delegation, but sometimes a little extra effort to research an issue goes a long way. When someone does this in Alexandra’s eyes, they present themselves as self-sufficient, and she thinks when busy managers see that, it leads them to invest their time in assisting the employee with their needs since the employee has proven they will first attempt resolving issues independently. Another important question that Alex poses to herself is: “Did I double check my work?” As workload increases, she finds that she sometimes starts to push assignments out as fast as she can. But to Alexandra, providing high-quality work is more important than working in high quantities. While no one is perfect, she thinks that many mistakes can be prevented by simply taking a few minutes to double check. In her experience, reviewing a process a second time, proofreading an email, auditing the data against another source, or doing the excel formula over again all help ensure that she’s consistently sending the other members of her team correct information.
Alexandra still has some concerns regarding the field of supply chain management. She is concerned that supply chains are not adapting to sustainability at a fast enough pace to avoid becoming obsolete. Given manufacturing and production are some of the worst culprits of depleting natural resources, she is worried that alternatives will arise to the point where production and transportation are irrelevant. For example, 3-D printers may become capable of producing enough to eliminate the need for transportation in many industries. While this is great for the environment, it concerns her that her knowledge of supply chains will become irrelevant. Her way of countering this fear is learning more about sustainable approaches to production and transportation, which mutually benefits herself and the environment.
What are the most useful words of advice that Alexandra has received from a mentor? Her manager once said to always “act like you’re in the position you want to have in the future.” He told her that anyone who works with effort and diligence has the right to be confident. He continued by saying that confident and accurate work, in addition to being a team player, advances people in their careers. She holds onto that, and it helps her see that although she is young, she can be a valued member of an organization, and she has potential to reach her career goals.
Her current career goal is to be a Supply Chain Manager and guide the procurement, supply, and transportation of an organization’s products. She believes that controlling all of the moving parts and seeing products come to life will keep her fascinated and motivated in the long run. However, her dream job is to be the Supply Chain Manager of a non-profit organization. “I would love to be able to use my knowledge and skills to directly benefit people in need.”
Personally, Alexandra has many hobbies to occupy her free time, such as cooking, baking, traveling, and spending time with her dog, Prim.
She has always enjoyed baking. The cookies pictured are her great grandmother’s recipe. She entered them into the office holiday cookie competition and won third place!
Chatham University’s Business & Entrepreneurship Department is pleased to recognize students such as Alexandra for their educational and professional achievements. Alexandra’s degree program is designed specifically to prepare students to gain a theoretical understanding and hands-on experience with global procurement, logistics, operations, demand forecasting, sustainability issues, and other topics critical to her field. For more information on Alexandra’s MBA Concentration, please visit the MBA Supply Chain Management concentration website here.