Prior to signing up for the PSU Master of Science in Global Supply Chain Management program, Kellen Betts worked for a small family business specializing in boat manufacturing. Kellen wore many hats, most of which involved design, procurement, and production planning. He also managed the company’s IT infrastructure and all of the data analyses. This experience kindled a passion for supply chain management, and the small business environment also sparked an interest in gaining a global business perspective.
As an undergrad in anthropology at UC Santa Barbara, he was interested in many subjects and took courses in biology, physics, mathematics, communications, social sciences and many other fields. He also completed his initial master’s degree in applied mathematics at the University of Washington (UW). At the UW, he studied many advanced topics in data analysis, computing and mathematics, with some of his favorite problems coming from business operations.
He decided to pursue the MSGSCM program to build on his work experience in supply chain and business operations. He also wanted to firm the link between his previous academic work in applied mathematics and the business setting, and broaden his experience to international business.
What drew you specifically to PSU’s School of Business?
The two factors that drew me to the PSU School of Business and the MCGSCM program were the global focus and location in Portland. My professional experience had been in companies with a more regional/local focus, and I wanted to broaden my exposure to international business. Additionally, even though I live in Seattle, I felt like the Portland location was close enough to increase my connection to local students and the university compared to online programs based out of California and east coast universities.
What was your previous experience with global supply chain?
Most of my work experience was in supply chain or a related field including sourcing, procurement, and production planning and analysis. I also completed the APICS CSCP certificate to establish an understanding of essential supply chain theory and vocabulary.
What helped you achieve success in the program?
Completing an online master’s degree is challenging, and even more so with a family and full-time job. The three things that helped me succeed were a supportive family, establishing relationships with students in my cohort and prioritizing coursework on weekends even if I was tired or there were other things I would rather been doing. Without these, completing the program would have much more challenging.
What connections and networks did you experience in MSGSCM?
I live in Seattle and participated in an online program. Given the online format, I was not anticipating establishing strong friendships with the other students in my cohort. However, the format proved to be much more interactive than I remember on-campus courses as an undergrad or my previous master’s degree, and the trip we took to Asia cemented friendships that I hope will continue well beyond our studies. I also think the proximity to Portland was important in developing and continuing friendships with fellow students.
What is your current position and how long have you worked there?
Recently, I started in a new position at REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.). I am a supervisor on the Omni-Channel team in the Supply Chain Integration group.
The Omni-Channel team manages logistics for orders placed through REI.com (direct-to-consumer) and integration of digital retail order fulfillment with the retail store network. We also are working a number of exciting projects and programs involving omni-channel retail and building our advanced analytics capabilities.
What are your future career goals?
I am passionate about the intersection of global supply chain and advanced analytics. I think there is a tremendous opportunity for many companies to optimize their existing business and develop new, innovative strategies using the massive amount of data they are already collecting. In the next five to ten years, I hope to continue building my technical and leadership skills, and work with a group that is leading (or disrupting) their industry using analytics and innovative supply chain strategies.
The knowledge and skills I gained in the PSU MSGSCM program will be invaluable, however, business does not stand still. The way I see myself applying what I learned in the program is to continue to learn and build on the foundation PSU provided.
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.