Feedback from former student on consulting jobs after graduation…
Would you find a consulting job after graduation appealing? Hopefully, we are training our students to become consultants…to their own organization (i.e., problem-solvers).
Hi Sime (from my former SCM student),

First of all I want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to work on research with you because that was a significant selling point when I interviewed for my current job in consulting. To answer your student’s question – consulting is a great choice immediately after graduation. It’s not for everyone, but if any of your students are curious about consulting, I recommend that they look into it.

I have been working in consulting for almost a year, and in my personal experience it has been well worth it. Our team and leadership is awesome, and there is no micro-managing to speak of. Depending on the project and client, I either make my own schedule or take loose guidance from leadership. There are no micro managers looking over your shoulder, which is one of my favorite aspects. It may be different at some firms, but this is not the case where I work.

Another great aspect of consulting is the diversity of industries and people to work with. I do ERP consulting for automotive and industrial equipment companies, but our team has had clients in food & beverage, pharma, and many more. It’s a great way to accelerate professional growth and education early in your career. For my first project, I worked with two other consultants to lead an ERP implementation over the course of six months. This meant interacting with everyone from shop floor employees, all the way to the C-suite (the highest levels of the organization). I regularly interface with CFO’s, CTO’s and Presidents. Not to disparage anyone’s job choice after graduation, but this is something that you simply don’t get as an entry level buyer, production scheduler, analyst, etc.

As a fresh consultant you are thrown into the arena with little experience, so you must learn fast and think on your feet. This is very daunting at first, but after three months I started to feel comfortable and confident. While it is important to have good analytical and problem-solving skills, soft skills trump everything in consulting. Most of what we do comes down to guiding conversations in the right direction and instilling confidence in the minds of our clients. 

There is also the travel question. Yes, traveling for work does get old pretty fast. Yes, it is draining at times. I drove 3.5 hours to Ohio every Monday morning at 6:00 AM and stayed until Thursday, for 6 months straight. This took a toll on me mentally, physically and emotionally. But for the past 2-3 months I have been doing remote work for different clients, or traveling locally in the Detroit metro area. Traveling is part of what you sign up for – some get lucky and have minimal travel or breaks in between projects, some do not get as lucky.

I hope this helps answer your student’s question. Feel free to share this with anyone who asks about consulting. I would also like to throw out the idea of myself and/or others from xxxxxxx to visit WMU and speak in one of your classes. If this idea sounds appealing, please let me know and we can work on putting a plan together.

Thanks, Sime. Hope all is well with you and your family.

– xxxxxxxxx


Would you find a consulting job after graduation appealing?

Whether you realize it or not, future business managers will need to become consultants to their own organization (which requires a very well rounded business acumen – which WMU HCOB gives you)…

The WMU HCOB curriculum develops strategic skill sets (rather than tactical) combined with soft skills (i.e., problem solving, leadership, negotiation, project management, etc.).

Other skills include: 1) Gather & organize information about the problem to be solved or the procedure to be improved. 2) Interview personnel & conduct onsite observations to determine the methods, equipment, & personnel that will be needed. 3) Analyze financial and other data, including revenue, expenditure, & employment reports. 4) Develop solutions or alternative practices. 5) Recommend new systems, procedures, or organizational changes 6) Make recommendations to management through presentations or written reports. 7) Confer with managers to ensure changes are working.  Do you think technology will one day do the strategic skill sets in this email?  Or, will you need technology to do these strategic things better, faster, and cheaper? 

Employment of business “analysts” is projected to grow 14 percent from 2020 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. The average growth rate for all occupations is 5 percent. The median annual wage for these types of skill sets was $83,610 in 2019. The median annual wage for all workers was $38,640.

Our students can also learn (via the Business Analytics minor): big data/analytics, database management, data mining, project management, SQL, Python, PMO, Tableau, Power BI. The Future of Business Automation:Predictive Data Analytics ranked #2! Every WMU SCM major now has to take this class (CIS 2640: Excel on steroids). Our Business Analytics minor teaches Big Data w/ skill sets such as: 1. CIS 2640: Advanced Excel (power query & pivot) & macros (employers are telling us this is bare minimum); and then you learn this stuff in the BA minor…2. Data visualization (Tableau, Power BI & python w/ seaborn & matplotlib);3. Data mining/RapidMiner, machine learning & data science;4. Python & Jupyter notebook (data analytics & statistical libraries such as pandas, numpy);5. Relational data models (Excel data model);6. Graphic & statistical libraries (Seaborn, Matplotlib, Pandas, & Plotly).

___The following paper lists the most important soft skills to employers.  Notice, that problem solving has kept moving up and is now number one!  It has actually passed leadership.  Match this article up with your resume.  Does your resume sell the skill sets that employers say they want most?  Please give me examples from your resume of such.  Note, employers do not actually want to see the words “problem-solving” and “leadership” on your resume.  They want to see deliverable examples of actions and results.  Thank you.  Sime

The Four Career Competencies Employers Value MostEmployers feel that recent graduates are most proficient in teamwork/collaboration, digital. technology, and critical thinking/problem solving. (See Figure 2.) Data for the Job Outlook 2019 survey were collected from August 1, 2018, through October 8, 2018. A total of 172 surveys were returned—an 18.5 percent response rate. The Job Outlook …

Notice, that problem solving has kept moving up and is now number one! It has actually passed leadership. (see Elon’s resume)
Here is an alarming statistic…
Nearly a third of all supply chain processes are inadequate, according to research from Crimson & Co. Covid kind of brought this front and center. 
Problem solving has kept moving up and is now number one! It has actually passed leadership. What is ranked #6 (answer: leadership)? Why do you think this keeps dropping in the rankings? What is ranked #5 (answer: technology, and it keeps rising)?
Note, this study is for all majors, employers, jobs, and college grads. You could make the case that your supply chain education covers all the bases for career readiness.
Here is an example from a student last semester that did a problem-solving project in my class…
Professional Experience XXXX Corporation, XX, MI, Lean 6 Sigma Project-Based Course:       Summer 2020 ·       Researched cutting-edge warehouse technologies for X’s new consolidated warehouse. ·       Compiled AGV data that resulted in an estimated $357,350 yearly labor cost avoidance. ·       Project deliverables included formulating a cost-analysis excel, explaining the implementation & integration of technologies, calculating ROI/payback period, & creation of an A3 project.
You have to sell these skills on your resume without actually stating these skills on your resume. Does that make sense? Note skill sets required of supply chain professionals:
Solid/hard skills required in business managers include:·       Project management·       Technical understanding·       Cost accounting skills·       Ability to understand financial statements·       Understanding of e-business / e-procurement systems·       Troubleshooting, problem solving·       Understanding of cross-cultural / global issues·       Business ethics·       Understanding of the legal issues involved in managing contracts
Other soft skills and personality attributes required in future managers include:·       Ability to communicate effectively through presentations, email, one-on-one, and team discussion·       Ability to logically organize thoughts·       Ability as a natural facilitator to enable team-based decisions·       Time management·       Leadership·       Understanding of customer’s expectations·       Vision – creating the environment·       Desire to learn·       Ability to present oneself with confidence
·       Ability to think on one’s feet·       Ability to pass on knowledge and mentoring
Resume Keywords/Action Verbs:

Classic example of a job posting where the company (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) says the job requires that you be a consultant to their organization (they are not mincing words in the job title – Senior Consultant).  If you look at the description, there is nothing here that can be outsourced and/or be replaced by technology.  However, it does require major use of technology. Also, notice their desire for “Finance” skills.  

Sr. Consultant GPO Operations

Job Locations US-IL-Chicago


The senior consultant will lead projects and portions of other projects to help develop operational improvements to enhance the systems, processes, functions and reporting of the Group Purchasing Organization (GPO). Through automation, data collection and analysis, integration, team interaction and project management the senior consultant is responsible for assisting in structuring the operational efficiency of our business. The emphasis is placed on systems and process. While the role will be focused on the Operations and Reporting area, it will also support the rest of the GPO that includes and is not limited to system administration, developing and running reports, implementing new systems and working directly with Finance, IT and other internal stakeholders.


Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Designing and running ad-hoc and scheduled reports through excel, tableau and other systems, with responsibility for reporting quality and integrity. Includes time sensitive leadership requests for data and information.. 
  • Acquire, organize and synthesize financial data and other information to identify and communicate key findings.
  • Manage the Contingent Worker portal processes.
  • Identify and lead the implementation of best practices and process improvements (e.g., Supplier onboarding, RFx, Process, Plan communication)
  • Assist in implementation and administration of systems (e.g., procurement management system, contract management system, e-sourcing, vendor management) for the GPO team in their day-to-day work.
  • Engage with GPO and other functional stakeholders on creating new business processes and improving the operational functionality within the group.
  • Manage the day-to-day operations of GPO Salesforce CRM environment and assist with supplier questions regarding accessing supplier-facing platforms.


Required Basic Qualifications:

  • Bachelor degree or experience in related discipline (Supply Chain Management, Finance, Economics, Business Administration, Data & Analytics)
  • Five years related business experience 
  • Demonstrate ability to work independently and take ownership of assigned projects
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office products required (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Proficiency in data analytics solutions (e.g. R, R Studio, Python, Tableau, SQL, Salesforce)

Preferred Basic Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in related discipline (Supply Chain Management, Finance, Economics, Business Administration, Data & Analytics)
  • Experience in sourcing or procurement
  • Experience integrating disparate systems into seamless experience for end user


Again, here is my perspective on jobs that too many students do not give enough serious consideration to (it is all about fit though)…
Also, FYI: I have a former SCM student who went on to become a technology consultant, here are some points on how to approach a new technology investment: consulting appeal to you?Thank you.  Sime–Dr. Sime (Sheema) Curkovic, Ph.D.,Professor, Operations/Supply Chain, Lee Honors College Faculty FellowWestern Michigan University, Haworth College of BusinessKalamazoo, MI 49008-5429 | 269.267.3093 |
The Western Way: “Better, faster, cheaper”
WMU: #1 in MI for earnings by graduatesSample Lectures: What is SCM?…One of nation’s best undergrad SCM programs (Gartner); 2nd in technology (SoftwareAdvice); 2nd in top global talent (SCM World)
Vitae: or

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