Amid global crisis, UofSC develops pipeline of supply chain experts – UofSC News & Events

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Hands-on experience and industry certification accelerate alumni’s career path



Rony Ruiz is a conductor.

But as a supply chain leader, the University of South Carolina alum orchestrates crews and customers rather than instrumentalists, delivering $400 million worth of electricity to his employer, ABB.

Ruiz navigates an industry as complex as a symphony for a company that supplies critical power to businesses ranging from small shopping malls to nuclear power plants, hospitals, airports and even pop-up COVID labs and clinics.

And like the best concert maestros, Ruiz’s decisions must be timed with precision to avoid critical processing delays or safety risks.

“Supply chain operations is a very dynamic environment,” says Ruiz, a 2008 graduate of the Darla Moore School of Business’ Supply Chain and Operations program. “If you like problem solving, this is the place for you.”

The supply chain industry has been in the spotlight over the past three years as unprecedented demand and limited global supply have resulted in shortages of consumer goods such as toilet paper, lumber, cream cheese and cars.

But as the demand for industry professionals to manage the crisis has grown, so has the recognition of Moore School’s undergraduate and graduate programs. The undergraduate program climbed in June to No. 3 in the country, climbing two places from 2020 on the list of rankings by global research firm Gartner, while the graduate program climbed in July to No. ° 6, climbing 16 places.

Tsvetelina Mueller chose the Moore School OSC program because it combines industry certification with classroom learning and hands-on experience. The 2009 International MBA alumnus is now applying that knowledge as a supply chain manager for Roche in Thailand.

“Hands-on experiences consulting directly with a client have been very beneficial,” says Mueller.

Sanjay Ahire, Distinguished Mungo Professor and Co-Director of Operations and Supply Chain Management, links the success of leaders like Ruiz and Mueller to the Sonoco-UofSC Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification initiative, which was launched in 2008 and recently celebrated a milestone of 1,500 green belt graduates.

With this industry-recognized certification, students learn to see everything as a process that can be streamlined, then they apply statistics to ensure their redesigned and improved process can easily be repeated.

Liz Lafitte, a 2009 graduate, continues to use essential skills from the green belt program in her current role as head of global operations for Meta.

Define, measure, analyze, improve, control it’s the exact same thought process I take with everything I do,” says Lafitte. “This fundamental understanding is the spinal cord of my work.”

The Moore School Undergraduate and Graduate CSO students learn to apply the process to real-world scenarios by completing intensive consulting projects with Fortune 500 companies. Each semester, teams of four to six students complete a live operational and supply chain challenge with guidance from a faculty expert. Teams identify recommendations, pilot them as needed, and then provide clients with a roadmap for execution.

Supply chain operations are a very dynamic environment. If you like solving problems, this is the place for you.

Rony Ruiz, 2008 graduate

“Over the years, the students have provided us with very good, workable and practical solutions,” said Jim Prescott, director of industrial supply chain for Sonoco. “The Capstone program creates a framework for a student to learn the specific skills they will need when they go into a business.”

In 14 years, student teams have worked on more than 300 projects, identifying more than $315 million in recurring customer-validated savings.

“We help companies not only to solve their current challenges, but also to make their supply chains and operations robust against all the uncertainties and unforeseen scenarios like what happened with the related supply chain issues. to the pandemic,” says Ahire.

BMW project manager Chris King says he didn’t realize the uniqueness of the Moore School’s Capstone program until he entered the workforce.

“It was incredibly beneficial to have that kind of real-life experience, to get out of a classroom, out of theory, out of a textbook and see what it was really like,” says King, who graduated in 2013. “That start was huge for my career.”


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Topics: Students, Graduates, Faculty, Experiential Learning, Graduate Studies, Recognition, Economic Engagement, Partnerships, Darla Moore School of Business

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