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Supply Chain Management for the Working Professional: An Interview with Michelle Schnurr ’23, Supply Chain M.S.

Michelle Schnurr

How can my business adapt to changing supply fluctuations, implement new quality standards, adjust forecasting to changing market conditions, and communicate our value-added chain to customers? These are questions career professionals and current students in Clarkson’s Master of Science in Supply Chain Management program are answering.

Whether building off an existing background in supply chain or laying the groundwork for a budding career, this program discusses the urgent planning, market, and economic factors facing operations and management today.

There has never been a more relevant time to have a career in purchasing, logistics, demand planning or operations management, as “supply chain issues” are now at the forefront of the daily news cycle and c-suite discussions. 

Clarkson’s supply chain master’s students are not only modeling and analyzing real world scenarios, they are on track to launch their careers to the next level at a time when businesses are seeking expertise and knowledge in these areas.

Michelle Schnurr of Albany, N.Y., is a purchasing manager at Comfortex in Watervliet, N.Y. The Poughkeepsie native graduated in 2010 from Fordham University with a degree in international political economy. She plans to complete her Master of Science in Supply Chain Management at Clarkson in 2023.

How did you come to a decision to pursue your M.S. in  Supply Chain Management at Clarkson’s David D. Reh School of Business?

I had previously considered various MBA programs, but was not satisfied with the required courses and the limited available electives in the supply chain field. During the pandemic, I was looking for a certificate program or series of online classes that would help me keep my skills sharp, since many of my work projects and travel activities had been put on hold.

What about our program did you find to be a good fit for your goals, and what you were looking to accomplish?

Clarkson’s M.S. in Supply Chain Management was a larger program than I was initially planning to pursue, but after reviewing the course description for each class, I knew the program was exactly what I was looking for. This was a program incorporating business, economics and computer science foundations, but approaching them from a uniquely supply chain-related perspective. I believed this program would deepen my existing knowledge of operational subjects – like purchasing, forecasting and logistics – while filling in the gaps from experience and even exposing me to completely new material. My goal was to pursue a degree that would provide a comprehensive supply chain education and the breadth of Clarkson’s program accomplished that goal.

What are some of the key differentiators between the Clarkson Supply Chain M.S. and other programs?

Clarkson’s Supply Chain program is at the forefront of an evolving field of business, which will continue to gain importance as companies prioritize analysis of the global interconnectivity and movement of goods and services. Clarkson’s program is flexible and online-only, to accommodate busy working professionals, with the majority of classwork completed offline based on the individual’s schedule. The curriculum was developed to establish a clear understanding of supply chain principles through the foundational courses and then build on those principles as courses gain complexity and scope, eventually capping the program with elaborate simulations and real-world modeling. Few other supply chain programs provide as comprehensive and future-oriented a degree.

How is your time at Clarkson preparing you for your career and life in general?

I use and incorporate calculations, lessons and broad themes learned from Clarkson’s classes into my professional job on a daily basis. As a result of Clarkson’s program, I also now stay current on a broader array of supply chain business and economics news, blogs and professional publications.

As a career professional in manufacturing and operations, I chose Clarkson’s Master of Science in Supply Chain Management degree to build on my existing industry knowledge and expand my professional opportunities in a burgeoning field. Every class in Clarkson’s degree is relevant, timely and vital to understanding not only the current issues facing our global supply chain today, but also critical to running business logistics, operations and procurement at a strategic level. As companies are realizing the value of supply chain expertise and working to quickly expand job opportunities across all levels of management, I’m excited to see where this degree will take me next.”

Michelle Schnurr ’23

What advice do you have for current and/or prospective David D. Reh School of Business M.S. students?

If you are considering the MBA program, I would strongly advise considering the Supply Chain program as well –  it might wind up being a better fit!

Do any faculty or staff here stand out and why?

The graduate faculty I’ve had the pleasure of learning from have been knowledgeable and engaging, encouraging class dialogue and the discussion of contemporary events and personal ideas. They also pursue an impressive resume of professional accomplishments in various supply chain-related fields outside of teaching, further adding to their collective expertise and thereby enriching the learning experience.

What are your future plans/goals/dreams?

I plan on using my Clarkson graduate degree to continue to advance my career in operations and supply chain management. I look forward to seeing how this field will evolve in a post-pandemic global economy.

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