I get this kind of email over and over and over…

Subject: That darn CIS 2640 class (our predictive data analytics class)!!! I call it Excel on steroids.

Hello Sime,

I’m one of your former students I just graduated in August and I just wanted to let you know I just got hired at a company called Topco. They’re a privately member-owned large distribution center and I will be doing supply chain analysis for them. Just wanted to make sure you keep encouraging ISM students to take CIS 2640 if it wasn’t for that class I would not have got the job. Thanks for everything you’re doing for the program and I hope you have a great day!

Neil xxxxx

Another one…

Hi Sime,

I wanted to reach out to let you know that I have received a couple job offers! One that I really am leaning toward taking is a Inventory Analyst role with xxxxx in Minneapolis. They have offered me $58,000 a year and $3,000 to help me relocate. I think it is a great offer but do you think I should negotiate the pay at all? 

Also for any ISM students thinking about the business analytics minor please stress to them the importance of it. In every interview I have had they are very impressed with it and really want new hires to be comfortable with Excel. For xxxx they told me it was one of the things that helped me stand out against other candidates and they think it will help me be able to do anything within the position. 

Thank you!



Another one…

Hello Dr. xxxxx,

I would like to thank you for a wonderful semester! I learned a great amount and its already transitioning into the business world! I just got done with a Skype call with Steelcase that was strictly focused on excel skills you taught me this year! Its exciting to see such a quick turnaround and application of the knowledge from your class!

I hope that the rest of finals week goes well, and that you have a relaxing summer!

Regards and Bronco Pride,



Another one…this was an article on the business college website…

it made Nathan famous…

Gamifying Travel at Intuit      

Supply chain professionals, expert at improving processes and reducing costs, fill roles in a variety of areas leading and supporting initiatives that help the bottom line. As a new analyst at business and financial software giant Intuit, Nathan Henckel, B.B.A.’17, teamed up with three other Intuit employees to pitch a way to reduce employee travel costs that would benefit both the company and the employee. The team created a gamification process where employees earn rewards with the “Price to Beat” plan.

“In order to pitch a program like this, we had to the have the data and a program to back our idea,” says Henckel. “This was my part of the project. I created an algorithm using Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications programing language that analyzes Intuit’s historic and real-time travel data and generates a price to beat for the specific route the user was seeking.”

Using the company’s travel booking system, employees can “Beat the Price” generated by Henckel’s algorithm and receive half of any savings in their next paycheck.

In order to deploy a program where Intuit provides cash incentives to employees, the group presented their invention and explained the algorithm to Intuit’s chief marketing officer. “Following our presentation, he advocated to senior management for the deployment of this program as a pilot to approximately 1,000 intuit employees,” says Henckel, who credits his time in the Haworth College of Business with sharpening his knowledge of data analytics as well as his communication skills so that he could effectively present information and data about the project in a way that is meaningful.

“The business analytics skills and effective communication techniques I learned as a WMU student are put to use every day,” says Henckel. “As a sourcing analyst, my day-to-day responsibilities include deriving insights from data and effectively communicating those insights to our leaders. While a student at WMU, I took multiple courses that prepared me for the role that I am in now.”

To date, the travel game has generated $40,000 in savings and has been received very well by Intuit employees. “The primary goal of this project and pilot was to show savings for the company as a result of the incentive based travel program, and we accomplished that.” The team is now looking at expanding the pilot.

Excited about his position at Intuit and the opportunity to develop his skills for the future, Henckel anticipates his chosen field will change often. “In today’s world, more and more roles and tasks are being completed programmatically and with artificial intelligence and machine learning,” he says. “As a result, the roles of traditional sourcing professionals and analysts could be quickly changing directions. At Intuit, we employ the top software engineers in the world, which makes it the perfect place to further develop skills such as Python and other programming languages. I have already seen my skills pay off with the creation of our travel gamification algorithm using visual basic.”

Henckel’s path to Intuit began as a sophomore student participating in the introductory integrated supply management course taught by Dr. Sime Curkovic, professor of management. “I think back to that course and how much passion and thought went into that class,” says Henckel. “After being exposed to the excitement and rigor of the course and the ISM program, I knew this was the field I wanted to pursue.”

Henckel went on to participate in the ISM program’s Bronco Force initiative where he helped develop a scorecard for a manufacturing firm in southwest Michigan. “This hands on experience, as well as the fact that students earned a LSS Green Belt as part of Bronco Force, helped me land my first summer internship at Brunswick Corporation in Chicago.”

As an indirect sourcing co-op at Brunswick, Henckel performed heavy data analytics and assisted in corporate travel and ocean freight bids. He later landed a co-op with GAST Manufacturing “where I finally got to put the manufacturing engineering knowledge ISM students gain to good use. This experience was substantial for developing my business acumen in a fast-paced setting and honed my ability to effectively communicate and negotiate.”

When Henckel was approaching graduation, Curkovic talked about the business and culture of Intuit, and Henckel was intrigued. After some research, he applied for a position in San Diego. After several phone interviews, he was invited to a case interview, and the next day had the job.

“The opportunity to move out to San Diego and work for such a progressive company was a career-defining move, and I couldn’t have done it without Western’s ISM program,” adds Henckel.

One more…

Dr. xxxxxx-

Following up on our conversation from earlier, I wanted to say again how much CIS 2640 has already helped me with my career. I took the class this past spring with xxxxxx, and the timing could not have worked out any better. I went right into a summer internship at xxxxx Systems (a third party logistics provider) as a logistics analyst intern. My excel skills coming out of CIS 1020 were rudimentary, and I would have struggled if that had been my only excel experience. With 2640, I was able to immediately begin cost savings analysis of freight pay data by using pivot tables, vlookups (I’m excited to begin using xlookups), index match, paste values, text formulas and other general excel workflow best practices that are taught. I spent a lot of my time this summer cleaning data, and the industry experience stacked really well on top of the classroom experience to help me use my time as efficiently as possible. The curriculum was spot on. 

I can’t imagine not taking this class, as it would be much more difficult to stand out in interviews and the workplace. I recommend the Business Analytics minor to everyone I know because of it. This semester I am tutoring for 2640 at the Dallas Rauker Center, and feel very confident after my combination of classroom success and workplace application. I’d appreciate if you could let the CIS team know that in my opinion, the content is spot on, and that we should to as much as we can to offer the class to as many students as possible. 


Please contact me for more material. Thank you. Sime

Sample Lectures & Should You Major in Supply Chain Management?

Dr. Sime (Sheema) Curkovic, Ph.D.
, Professor, Operations/Supply Chain
Western Michigan University, Haworth College of Business
E-Mail: sime.curkovic@wmich.edu

“WMU Integrated Supply Management (ISM)…Nation’s best undergraduate SCM program (Gartner 2014); 2nd in SCM technology (SoftwareAdvice 2015);  2nd in top global SCM talent (SCM World 2017)”


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