Kelly-Jean Erwin, a 2001 Penn State Smeal College of Business graduate currently with AT&T in Atlanta, didn’t always know she wanted to work in supply chain. But through the course of her education at Smeal, she discovered the field and how exciting it could be. “I wanted to go to school for fashion design,” she said, but her parents encouraged her to give Penn State a shot. Today, she is active in the Penn State Atlanta Alumni Association and works as a senior manager in Sales Program Execution at AT&T Mobility.
Erwin realized she loved logistics during an internship with Shell Oil Company in Houston, Tex., as a supply chain analyst. A couple of years after graduating from Smeal, she decided to pursue her MBA with a focus in logistics and transportation at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Erwin connected with AT&T through a fellow member of the Penn State Atlanta Alumni Association. Her first position with the company was a sales operations manager, where she worked on inventory planning for retail locations. Erwin has been with AT&T since 2008, and she moved into her current role as a senior manager late last year. Her team is responsible for ensuring that AT&T phones can be activated at third-party retailers.
“Education is the most important thing. Penn State gave me a foundation that makes me very flexible.”
One of the things Erwin says she loves about the supply chain field is that it touches everything about the business. “You’re a part of everything big that goes on,” she said, including product launches, which can be especially exciting in the mobile phone industry.
Erwin credits Penn State and Smeal with giving her the breadth and depth of education she needed to work in today’s supply chain industry. “Education is the most important thing,” she said. “Penn State gave me a foundation that makes me very flexible.”
Smeal offers highly regarded supply chain programs at every educational level. For undergraduates, the college offers a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain and Information Systems. At the graduate level, the Penn State Smeal MBA Program offers a concentration in supply chain management and, together with Penn State World Campus, Smeal offers an online, 30-credit professional master’s program in supply chain management. The college also offers a Ph.D. in supply chain, and Smeal’s Center for Supply Chain Research and Penn State Executive Programs offer certificate programs in supply chain management and supply chain leadership.