How to blow a curious high school student's mind? Explain everything that goes into delivering a package to the doorstep

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

At Rutgers Business School, a summer program designed for high school students provides an eye-opening look at the field of supply chain management

What happens when 22 Newark high school students take an eight-day plunge into the field of supply chain management?  

Well, for one thing, they never look at McDonald’s French fries quite the same way.

Ditto for anything they order from Amazon – or anywhere else – because suddenly, they have an understanding of everything that’s involved in getting a package delivered to their doorstep in a day.

It’s no wonder 17-year-old Tiara Montesino, who will be a senior at North Thirteenth Street Tech, described her immersion into supply chain management at Rutgers Business School as "eye-opening."

"I know things get made in many factories, but I didn’t realize how complex a supply chain could be," she said.

Student Tiara Montesino presenting in a session on sustainabilty.

For a second year, Rutgers Business School and its Department of Supply Chain Management invited a group of high-performing Newark area students to participate in a program that teaches them how products get to stores and how goods move around the world.

For many of the students, the program offers a first glimpse of college, raises the first possibility of attending a business school and plants the seed for a possible career in supply chain management.

The high school program opened with an overview of supply chain management – the first day lesson on the path of those McDonald’s French fries hooks students immediately. They went on a tour of FedEx and in the days that followed, the students learned from Rutgers Business School professors about procurement, inventory management and demand planning.

They also spent a session learning about sustainability with Professor Kevin Lyons and 25 young African professionals who are completing a U.S. Department of State-sponsored Mandela Washington Fellowship at Rutgers.

Professor Kevin Lyons during a session of the program that offered the high school students a chance to work alongside the Mandela Washington Fellows. In the Photo, Some of the fellows are seated in the first row of seats.

The supply chain program is part of Rutgers Business School’s effort to help carry out a larger initiative begun by Rutgers University-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor to create social impact in Newark by sharing resources and collaborating with local businesses and schools. By design, the program depends on funding assistance from a sponsoring partner. This year, it was supported with a seed grant from the Chancellor Cantor’s office.

"We want to make them keenly aware of how supply chain impacts their life," said John Impellizzeri, who teaches supply chain management at Rutgers and ran this year’s program. "Many of them are interested in the arts, the sciences or sports. We can show them how supply chain is embedded in all of these things."

As one of the newest sciences, Impellizzeri said supply chain may also be one of the least understood.

Professor John Impellizerri with students participating in the supply chain program.

"Supply chain is the perfect topic to introduce to the students if we want to build a feeder system with high schools and county colleges," he said.

Newark student Sara Shah is an example of someone who could help to create the kind of feeder system Impellizzeri envisions. Shah completed the supply chain program last year and returned this year to serve as a mentor to new participants and to continue forging her relationship with Rutgers.

Shah, who will be a senior at Science Park High School in the fall, said she plans to apply to Rutgers Business School.

"The (high school) program opened my eyes to the possibility of studying business, especially supply chain management,” she said.

The Rutgers undergraduate supply chain management program was ranked No. 5 in North America for 2016 based largely on its cutting-edge curriculum, a requirement that students get hands-on work experience and the high starting salaries of its graduating students.

"The high school supply chain management program," explained Professor Alok Baveja who is chair of the supply chain department, "is another demonstration of how Rutgers continues its 250-year revolutionary spirit and its global reach in this case by inspiring and training future ‘knowledge creators’ in a field that is revolutionizing the business world globally."

Interested in learning more about next summer's program or in helping to sponsor the program, please contact Magda Comeau, senior program coordinator of the RBS-Public Private Community Partnership Program at or 973-353-2823. 

Related stories:

Read about the internship experience of one current student in "Successful internship experience lands senior supply chain student special Rutgers University award."

Undergraduate students also have a chance to test the skills and knowledge they learn in the classroom in case competitions. Read about the experience of three students in "Undergraduate students continue record of wining Institute for Supply Management’s national case competition."

-Susan Todd

TAGS: Alok Baveja John Impellizzeri Kevin Lyons Nancy Cantor Social Impact Supply Chain Management