Student feature: Meet Daniel Erickson

Program: MSGSCM

Graduation Year: 2020

Program Schedule: Full-Time

Please briefly describe your career path and what led you to choose PSU’s School of Business.

I graduated from PSU’s School of Business in 2013, with undergraduate majors in Human Resources, Management and Leadership, and Supply and Logistics Management. After completing an internship at IBM focused on learning and development, I knew that my supply chain degree would be the best possible path forward. I was hired by Oracle after graduation as a project manager within their supplier management division, where I focused on risk management and supplier compliance and claims.

I had always set a deadline to come back to The School of Business to further my educational goals. Having worked in supply chain for the past five years, the logical step was to explore PSU’s Master of Science in Global Supply Chain Management, as this curriculum provided me the best mix of business strategy and targeted industry experience. I knew I could trust The School of Business to have the same outstanding  full-time and adjunct faculty as I experienced in my undergrad to provide me further insights into my career path.

What do you intend to do with your degree?

Upon graduation I hope to pivot my career from high tech to helping smaller firms create sustainable growth through improved supply chain processes and frameworks. I hope to find a career within the sustainable energy field, as I think this is the next emerging market for the U.S. In 2020 we have seen the importance of diversified supply chains that can help a firm mitigate the risks present across the globe— pandemics, natural disasters and tariffs —and come out better in the long run.

A secondary reason I pursued a master’s degree is that I hope to begin teaching as an adjunct faculty at a local university or ideally, PSU’s School of Business.  During undergrad I was a peer mentor for Freshman Inquiry, and there I learned of my passion for helping students be successful during their time here at PSU and hopefully help them translate this success into engaged citizenship.

Lastly, in another five years, I plan to enroll in a doctoral program so I can move from adjunct teaching to full-time faculty where I can share my career experiences with the next generation of professionals, just as my School of Business professors did for me during my time as a student.

What skills gained at PSU have you found most valuable and why?

I cannot point to one specific item that was the most valuable — I prefer to think of my time here holistically. Both in undergrad and in my master’s program, I have gained many skills, learned from amazing faculty, shared experiences I would not have had an opportunity otherwise and met some lifelong friends. I can say without a doubt that PSU changed the trajectory of my life and for that I am eternally grateful.

How do you spend your free time?

I am not sure I understand the concept of “free time.” As a master’s student who also works full-time, my free time is few and far between! All kidding aside, I enjoy working out in my garage gym and playing summer league softball. My wife and I have also taken to attending community landscaping and gardening classes as we are trying to produce a lot of our own veggies during the spring and summer!

What advice would you give to prospective graduate business students?

School is all about what you make of it, and the more energy you put into your learning while attending PSU, the more you will get out of it. Dive deeply into the content and apply the frameworks to your daily life. Bring your experience and story to the classroom. These experiences can help you understand the information better, and also add a perspective that your classmates will value in their learning. Part of the fun of college is learning from others who are not like you, and PSU has that diversity across its campus and programs. If prospective students allow themselves to be exposed to the wealth of experience and culture around them at PSU, they will leave here better equipped to work in a global community.

What inspires you?

I prefer to think about it as what drives me. Daniel Pink has a book called Drive and I would recommend everyone read it. He talks about autonomy, purpose, and mastery as the key factors to what motivates a person to be successful. Right now I am still figuring out how I want to apply my purpose and continue to master my skills. Hopefully when I look back at my career, I can say I made a difference — either in people’s lives or in my community. I believe that I will, and I think PSU will be the reason for that.

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