Supply Chain Management, '14
"I hippied my way across the US, camping and climbing and rafting and working with kids. I worked whatever job to get by. I have a philanthropic core so I like to give back to people. In 2008-2009, the economic down turn forced me to re-think how I approached business, not just day to day, hand to mouth, but I needed to have a job that would sustain me. I was working at McDonalds at the time, I loved serving people, and I met a staff person from Weber and she asked me if I would consider coming back for another degree, and that's what led me to Weber."
Check out Kiralei's full video story here.
Kiralei started her education with an undergraduate degree in Bible and Theology studies from a university in West Virginia. Because she has a passion for people and giving back, she wanted to build a career where she could use her time, talents and resources to support those in need. After making her way across the country camping, climbing, rafting and working with children wherever she went, she realized she needed something a little more long-term, a little more stable. Of course the amazing outdoors brought her to Utah and she started to settle in. While working at McDonalds, Adrienne Andrews, Weber State University's Diversity officer would stop in and talk to Kiralei in the mornings. Learning her story over time, Adrienne continually, but gently nudged Kiralei to come back for another degree, and the persistence eventually paid off.
Once she decided she needed to go for that second degree, Kiralie initially looked at Ohio as well because she was offered a paid position working with kids while there, but she recalls, "When I called Weber State, I got a hold of Kathy May, who is now retired. This staff member not only gave me the answers to my questions but made me fell like they were giving me additional guidance to think about my degree. So I came into the school to check it out and I met some of the faculty members and I was so floored by the Goddard School of Business, I turned down the job in Ohio so that I could come to Weber State."
Along with the beautiful backdrop where this school resides, the caring, compassion and personal interaction of the faculty and staff led Kiralei to Weber State University and kept her there!
WHY SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT?
While Kiralei was working at a resort her general manager approach her at random and she recalls him saying, "Kiralei, if you ever go back to school, think of going into supply chain management." At the time, she never thought she'd leave the fun of golfing and skiing and living the resort life, but with the economic change, she was eventually forced to and remembered her manager's advice. After doing some research, she realized the job of supply chain management might actually fit. "It matched so much with my personal traits; I like organization for flow, I like to solve problems before they become problems, and I like to coordinate people across functional areas just for the sake of harmony, but in the business sense, it also fits. It was a no brainer for me to choose supply chain management."
ACTIVITIES AT WEBER?
Kiralei was involved in two clubs at Weber. In the Supply Chain club she inadvertently learned about change management, an important and vital skill needed for successful supply chain management or any business professional. When she joined the club, the student leadership was going through changes, and the past history of the the club combined with trying to start something new with the club provided a unique challenge, one she didn't expect to relate to a career in the future. What was interesting is that the same types of challenges she faced in rebuilding leadership and change, she also experienced at work and this has given her a unique insight and valuable experience, "I am finding the same situations in my work place, not because it is my responsibility to change things but, it is very familiar so the student club was very helpful that way."
"The Goddard School is unique, not because I have experienced things from other business schools, but because of the things I hear from people who have gone to other schools and then attend the Goddard School of Business. An international student that I knew had gone to another business school, transferred to the Goddard Business School and they told me that the Goddard School of Business taught you concepts that you could immediately transfer to your workplace whereas this wasn't common at other schools." Kiralei found this true. Because of small classes, interactive faculty, and excellent resources and activities, the technical concepts combined with the hands-on experiences have prepared her for the actual rigors of the job.
The Nye lecture series is a weekly series where industry leaders come in, have a very candid interaction with students and then offer to have lunch with 16 of them. "When you say lecture, I really get excited." Kiralei recalls one memorable lecture, Crystal Maggelete, owner and founder of Crystal Inn Hotels as well as President and CEO of Flying J Management. During the economic downturn, the father of one of Kirelei's friends worked for Flying J and unfortunately during this time, they had implemented some layoffs due to the effects on the trucking industry. He told her a story about a meeting they had where Crystal very openly discussed the tough times and what things could they do right now to help ease the stress. He spoke out and said, "we really don't like wearing ties," and Crystal said, "then take them off". It was a small gesture, but made a big enough impact that he would tell this story to Kiralei. During this particular lecture series Crystal told that very same story. What resonated with Kiralei was that not only did this impact Crystal, but it impacted her friend, and these were moments that she could take with her in her career. It was fun for Kiralei to have the opportunity to tell Crystal in person how much this small gesture impacted her employees.
Do whatever you can to finish school full time. "Once I finished my first accounting class, it just made immediate sense that it was more economical for me to go full time." As a non-traditional student working on her second bachelor's degree, she understood hard, and obligations, but advises, "Finish your degree and go out and make some money faster!"
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
The career services center at the Goddard School offers so many job opportunities and internships depending on each student's needs. One of the opportunities Kiralei learned about was the Palace Acquire Program through the Airforce. Kiralei took advantage of this internship and once she graduated, she transitioned this into a full-time job at the Airforce in logistics, "Exactly in what my degree is in." Over the last few years, she has been able to use the unique spreadsheets and modeling skills she gained in her supply chain classes to find issues in deliveries that would affect long term efficiency and cost. Understanding those difficult concepts and having developed the soft human skills has helped her communicate effectively to leadership using actual statistics to predict and eventually lead to change models to prevent problems before they become problems. From a backpacking hippie to a logistics expert in the Airforce, Kiralei has been able to maintain her love for people and giving back while creating that future stability she desired.