Brazilian immigrant Viviane Hembrock ’13 grew up surrounded by shipping. Her hometown of Santos, São Paulo, processes more than 3.5 million cargo containers annually, making it the busiest port in Latin America.
“My city was all about logistics,” Hembrock says. So a supply chain career seemed natural when she came to Baltimore as an au pair and then found an opportunity to study at the University of Maryland.
Her career got an extra boost when the Smith School selected her as a Supply Chain Management Fellow. Since 2007, the experiential learning program has served 167 undergraduate students with support from the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA).
More than 80 percent of the fellows work today in logistics or related fields, while others will resume business careers after finishing various graduate degrees.
“The fellows program was a great addition to my education,” Hembrock says. “We were able to learn from real-world experience.”
Besides attending the annual IANA exhibition and conference in California, Hembrock and her classmates visited UPS, Union Pacific and Caterpillar facilities in Illinois. They also met industry leaders on campus in College Park, Md.
The experience helped Hembrock launch her career as an inventory control supervisor at Nestlé in Laurel, Md. Today she works as a buyer for McCormick & Company, a manufacturer of spices, herbs and flavorings in Hunt Valley, Md.
Casey Bessell ’14, another fellow, used her experience in the program to impress hiring managers at W.L. Gore in Elkton, Md. They selected her for a two-year rotation that includes assignments in planning, procurement, logistics and customs compliance.
“It’s an accelerated learning path,” says Bessell, the third Supply Chain Management Fellow that W.L. Gore has hired for the fast-track opportunity. “After the rotation, you get to find your sweet spot in the company.”
Already the 2015 fellows have taken supply chain jobs at PepsiCo, Unilever, Northrup Grumman, Volkswagen and other large firms.
“Supply chain management drives every business in the global economy,” says Smith professor Thomas M. Corsi, co-director of the school’s Supply Chain Management Center and director of the fellows program. “Whatever direction these alumni go with their careers, they will be in demand.”