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Meet Chris Simons - MSGSCM ‘16
Meet Chris Simons - MSGSCM ‘16

Current City 

Portland, Oregon 

Current Position 

Inventory Management Specialist at Johnstone Supply 

Can you tell us a bit about your everyday work in your current position? 

My work is very project based. There are some daily functions, but I constantly take on new challenges. The HVAC industry has been operating with outdated practices and is growing rapidly. My responsibility is to improve our current inventory management practices to meet company growth. 

Looking back, what was your experience in the MSGSCM program? 

I am very thankful to have been a part of the MSGSCM program. It provided exemplary tools that have aided me in becoming a top candidate. 

The networking resources at the School of Business have created career opportunities that would otherwise have been difficult to access. 

What I see as the most important part of the program is the cohort. It takes a significant amount of work to complete the program, and many of us in the program worked full time, were parents, etc. Everyone understood what this meant and did their part to communicate proactively. As a result, we always met our project deadlines. 

What were you doing before you joined the program? 

Venturing into supply chain was a career change for me. I had been a biologist before. In 2009 I was in the middle of finishing my degree when the economy fell. Like many others, I had to look at my career options. 

A friend of mine who was in a master’s program at PSU recommended the MSGSCM, and after talking with Cliff Allen, the Dean of the School of Business, I knew this was the right opportunity for me to make a career change. 

Most students in the program bring supply chain experience. What was it like for you to come from a different background? 

I was terrified at first. Many of my classmates were directors at companies like Boeing and Nike. What helped me get up to speed quickly was to ask a lot of questions. I also made sure I stayed on top of my reading so that I could pull my weight in collaborative assignments. With that, everyone was really open to helping. 

What skills did you gain in the MSGSCM that you draw upon in your work today? 

Forecasting, reverse logistics, and project management. Our industry is very seasonal, which makes it difficult to forecast. Those analytical skills come in handy. Our industry is very seasonal and hard to forecast, and I think those analytical skills will become very important. Everything I do here is very strategic, and that’s a mindset I honed in the program.  

As I mentioned, much of my job is project based. The project management skills I gained at PSU have helped me maintain deadlines, hold teams accountable, and provide status updates to stakeholders. 

Do you have any advice for people in the process of deciding whether this program is right for them? 

I would look at where you are in your career. I find that when you set your eyes on the higher management positions, that’s the time when this degree will be especially valuable. 

The virtual setting is actually a great learning environment. It gives you the flexibility to balance your workload as you see fit. The option to use group video conferencing makes collaboration straightforward. 

What makes the hard work worth it for you? 

When I was a scientist I was working as a volunteer or for low wages. This path has allowed me to expand my skill set, which makes me far more marketable. It is nice to have the ability to take my time when looking for positions versus taking the first opportunity that comes along.