Anna Eckert started her career as a production seamstress at a backpack company in Montana. When she moved to Oregon, Anna landed a job as a “craftsperson” at Tanner Goods, a local leather goods and lifestyle brand in Portland. She sewed bags and other leather goods, eventually gaining experience in everything from product development to manufacturing operations.
Anna decided to pursue her degree in MSGSCM primarily because she became increasingly curious about apparel production on a global scale. Working for a domestic company, she gained a wealth of knowledge in regards to domestic supply chains, but wanted to view the global picture. Also concerned with environmental waste, Anna hopes this program will help her achieve sustainability goals within the industry.
What specifically drew you to the PSU School of Business?
The PSU School of Business was one of my top choices for a number of reasons including, degree, proximity, flexibility, and network. PSU was one of the few programs that offered an online option for a Global Supply Chain degree. I knew in order to afford grad school I would need an online program. However, I still wanted to be close enough to the school that I would have access to the same resources as a student going to physical classes. Additionally, PSU granted me an unbelievable local network to tap into when I did begin job hunting for positions more relevant to my interests.
What was your previous experience with Global Supply Chain?
Honestly, most of my previous experience was all domestic. While working as the purchasing and production coordinator at Tanner Goods I only had minimal experience procuring materials from abroad, and all of the manufacturing was done in Portland. That being said, many of my key responsibilities like capacity planning or sourcing strategy crossover with Global Supply Chain, just on a much smaller scale! It was really fascinating to learn how familiar concepts can be scaled to a global level.
What helped you achieve success in the program?
Having an incredibly resilient support network has definitely been the most important factor in my success in the program so far. Working full time and going back to school is incredibly hard and exhausting and having people around you who understand what you are going through was really important for me. Sometimes you just need someone to grab you food, or tell you to take a study break! Likewise, reaching out to professors for advice, guidance, and help keeps me both accountable but also leaves me with the perspective that they are invested in my success.
What connections and networks did you experience in MSGSCM?
I absolutely love living, working and studying in Portland. I know that if I am too tired to cook there is always amazing and reasonably priced food around the corner! My work has never been more than four miles from my home, so biking to work (I don’t have a car) is unbelievably easy. Likewise, the campus is right downtown and always a great place to escape to when I need a fresh location to study in.
What is your current position and how long have you worked there?
Currently I work at adidas as a demand planner. I actually just started working there this month! I worked at Tanner Goods for four years prior to making the jump to adidas.
What role did the MSGSCM play in helping you obtain this position?
The MSGSCM program was influential in helping me land my job at adidas. During the second half of my first year in the program I reached out to a few of my professors who quickly started connecting me with people to do informational interviews with and jobs to apply for. Over the course of three months I probably went on more informational interviews than I could count and eventually a bunch of real job interviews. I ended up having 6 job interviews in one week (my finals week) and received more than one job offer. The support of my professors was amazing, and despite those three months being exhausting, I was incredibly prepared for my interviews when it mattered!
What are your future career goals?
My main goal is to continue to learn and grow! I want a career that offers my opportunities to advance but also to experience many aspects of the supply chain world. Demand planning is a small part of such a large network, I hope to get my hands in all areas of the supply chain over the course of my career. I came into the program interested in sustainability and would still like to find myself in a position more directly linked to developing more sustainable supply chains. Likewise, I hope that at some point I get to a project manager level and can be a leader and mentor for others early in their career as my professors have been for me.
How will you stay connected to The School of Business at PSU now that you’ve graduated?
Given the online format of the MSGSCM program, I did not anticipate developing strong friendships with the faculty and other students in the program. However, this proved to be one of the most valuable take-aways from the program and I plan to stay connected by keeping in touch and visiting Portland. I also plan to get involved with alumni activities as much as possible, and hope to serve as a mentor for future MSGSCM students.