CSCMP: How to make supply chain connections and find mentors

We sent a convoy to the CSCMP Edge conference in Nashville this fall, and came back with career leads for our students, the latest buzz in supply chain (hint: it’s blockchain), and a rich list of student mentors. For 56 years, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) has brought professionals and academics together to share industry advances and opportunities. This year alone, 3,500 supply chain leaders, practitioners, academics and students were in attendance.

Conferences like this one are an important part of MSCM’s strategy to see our students succeed; taking part is one of the many ways we are constantly deepening our ties to and visibility within the supply chain world. “It’s an excellent opportunity for face-to-face engagement with industry professionals,” said MSCM Program Director Sara Jones, who attended the conference. “You can only get so far with an email. Really talking to people and building relationships is crucial.”

Helping our students get hired

A recurring theme at CSCMP this year was the shortage of skilled professionals entering the field. “I heard over and over there’s a shortage of talent, there’s a skills gap, how are we going to solve this,” said Jones. These gaps represent perfect entryways into prosperous careers for our students. Jones uses the conference as a way to build out a hiring pipeline with promising companies. “There were multiple occasions where I found myself sitting next to a senior leader and hearing they’d like to explore recruiting from our program,” Jones said. “That’s pretty impactful.” MSCM is working hard to grow our already impressive list of partner companies who seek our students out when jobs open up.

Finding mentors and opening doors

It’s not just companies that want our students; CSCMP itself wants them as well. This year, they reached out to offer our students the opportunity to join the Future Leaders Program, which facilitates networking and mentorship opportunities for a select group of top students at the conference. MSCM student Aditi Mehta joined, and told us that having that Future Leaders stamp on her badge opened a ton of doors. “In this conference, every person was working in supply chain and in much higher positions than I usually interact with at networking events. The most amazing thing was that people really wanted to help. People know that if you are part of the Future Leaders Program, you are one of the top people at your college, so they are even more eager to connect,” Mehta told us.

She came to the conference looking for mentors and left with several offers. “One person I connected with has been mentoring me since the conference. Another reached out to me after we’d spoken at a career fair. He said ‘Even if you do not wish to join my company, it would be my pleasure to guide you through your career.’” Mehta said. Mentorships like these give students invaluable insights and a sounding board for career decisions.

Ready to jump in to a career in supply chain management? Check out the UW Foster School of Business Master of Supply Chain Management Program.

Written by Victoria Pinheiro, MSc.
MSCM Content Strategy Writer
[email protected]