a career with global horizons
Students looking for an exciting career in transportation with a wide variety of employment opportunities should check out logistics and supply chain management, according to Arlaidra Salter, a North Carolina A & T State University (NCAT) undergraduate student who is on her way to a successful career in supply chain management.
“I don’t feel like anyone can go wrong with this major,” Salter said. “There are a lot of different things that you can do. For any interests that you may have, some aspect of supply chain management will most likely satisfy them.”
Supply chain management involves the transport of raw materials and finished products?such as merchandise, natural gas, food, or medical supplies?to destinations around the globe through various modes of transportation, such as truck, rail, air, or ship. Since nearly every form of business exchange relies somehow upon the supply chain, supply chain management offers a wide range of opportunities for career-seekers with a variety of different interests, ranging all the way from business and finance to international relief efforts.
Just recently, supply chain management has been at the very center of some of the largest humanitarian aid efforts in history, such as during the aftermath of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that devastated the small island of Haiti in January of 2010. Supply chain managers helped lead the global effort to distribute food, medical supplies, and other necessities to Haiti after the devastating quake.
Salter, a first-generation college student, accomplished dancer, and former Air Force JROTC cadet, was introduced to supply chain management during her freshman year in college by a professor who noticed her potential to excel in the field. Salter appreciated how supply chain management offered a number of different opportunities to turn her degree into into a career that suited her personal interests in merchandizing and math. She said she felt that the diverse possibilities the field has to offer is one aspect of careers in supply chain management that will appeal to many people.
“I think that there is something in it for everyone,” she said. “If you are interested in transportation, purchasing and sourcing, planning and scheduling, or international logistics, supply chain management is a great field to consider for a potential career. There’s a lot of room for promotion and growth in these areas, especially for women and young adults in general. I love to shop, I love to read, I love number crunching and analytics, and really supply chain management is just all of that.”
Her advice to students seeking careers in transportation or any aspect of the supply chain is to begin focusing on coursework and GPA early on, in order to be prepared to attract colleges and employers in the future.
“Know the importance of GPA, definitely,” she said. “My mom always pushed me and encouraged me?‘don’t just do enough to get by.’ You want to excel and give your best effort. At the time I will say I didn’t always understand the full importance of doing so. I kind of wanted to make sure there was a fun factor in it. But just knowing the difference between the time and place to work hard ? I think that has really helped me to get to where I am and to accomplish as much as I have.”
Salter also encouraged students to take charge by researching different career opportunities, and to take full advantage of resources such as career services or career fairs, which helped her learn which specific classes or training courses employers in her field would be looking for.
“Little functions like that put me a step further ahead in gaining opportunities, and it also gave me a competitive advantage,” she said.
If you haven’t yet considered a career in transportation or supply chain management, now might be a good time to start. To learn more about careers in supply chain management, you can start by going online and visiting organizations such as the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. Or check out North Carolina A & T State University's Supply Chain Resource Cooperative.?