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Meet Melissa Tran '15, Supply & Logistics Management
Meet Melissa Tran '15, Supply & Logistics Management

Melissa Tran is a Portland native who describes her collegiate experience as atypical. Her path to her new career may have been less direct than some of her classmates, yet her achievements are undeniable. She is graduating from Portland State’s Supply & Logistics Management program this term and has been invited to participate in the highly exclusive Toyota Logistics Trainee Program, whose trainees feed into Toyota management.

Melissa had attended a small McMinnville college for a few terms out of high-school, but she didn’t feel a connection to her studies and decided to enter the workforce. It took a few years working as guest services team leader at Target for Melissa to realize that she was ready to head back to school. With some experience under her belt, she knew that she wanted to be part of a diverse student body and located on a large urban campus. Portland State fit the bill exactly. It didn’t hurt that the Portland State School of Business came with positive recommendations from friends who had completed the Supply and Logistics program.

“Of course, I didn’t start out in supply chain, I started out in accounting.” In the course of her studies, one of the accounting classes she wanted to take was waitlisted, and she ended up taking Intro to Supply Chain. “I fell in love with it and had to take more; I was even considering a double major.”

A double major went out the door with one simple phone call.

In her second year of the program, she attended a supply chain career fair. It was a packed room with an intimidating number of companies and students milling about. Melissa didn’t have excessively high expectations for the event and was simply looking to gather information, but she happened to strike up a conversation with someone manning the table for Toyota. Even after leaving, she didn’t think much of it, but that is when she got the phone call. It turns out that the “someone” manning that table would end up being her supervisor in a position that would change the course of her life.

The offer of a Logistics Internship position at Toyota solidified her full commitment to supply and logistics. Toyota was everything that she had ever wanted in an employer, and she is able to apply her education on lean management in procurement all the way through transport and logistics. When Toyota invited her to join the Trainee Program, they asked if she would be able to graduate in 2015 which was months earlier than she had planned. Life started to move forward at a brisk pace. “This past year has been a crazy ride, but a good one.”

Melissa couldn’t be happier with the connection that the School of Business’ faculty helped her forge with Toyota. She is especially grateful to Daniel Wong, the Undergraduate Supply & Logistics Management Program Director. “Shout out to Daniel Wong for being instrumental in students lives and with helping to find jobs and creating networking events. Somehow he knows about all of his students, exactly where they are going, and is always there to help them.”

As the first student from Portland to get into this program at Toyota, Melissa is excited to show her stripes. “I have my fingers crossed that this opens the door for more students, because we do have a really high caliber.”

>> Are you a current student who plans on graduating this year? Congrats! Be sure sign up for graduation by following the steps here.

>> Learn more about the Portland State undergraduate Supply and Logistics Management program here.