Opportunities abounded, and student seized them all to prepare for her career
With a black belt in Taekwondo, Rutgers Business School senior Dana Skerker learned early how to push herself to recognize and seize opportunities.
“In a big school like Rutgers, there are a lot of opportunities, it seems almost like infinite opportunities. One thing I learned early on is to take that first step out of your comfort zone. It can make a big school feel small,” said Skerker, 21. “Try something new, whether it’s breaking a board in Taekwondo or trying a new club at Rutgers Business School.”
A supply chain management major with a concentration in global business, Skerker was drawn to Rutgers Business School because of its national reputation in her major. After growing up in Berkeley Heights and graduating from Governor Livingston High School, she wanted to go to college in the Northeast. RBS was the perfect choice. “It looked like it could lead to great opportunities,” she said.
One of the first offerings she took advantage of was the Rutgers Business School Innovation Committee, joining in her first semester freshman year. Not knowing much about the business world, Skerker said the club taught her career development skills through its workshops. When she was asked to be the group’s president, Skerker accepted, revamping the club, and recruiting new members during the pandemic. “I think a lot of students felt very isolated, and I wanted to provide the opportunity for them to connect with others,” she said.
Skerker also served as a peer mentor at RBS and volunteered for the school’s Starting Your Career on the Right Foot program.
After interning with the RBS Office of Career Management, Skerker landed a summer internship at Amil Freight in Princeton, an opening she found on BusinessKnight, RBS’s jobs portal. As a business development intern, she learned about the supply chain industry from the trucking perspective. “Trucking is not very glamorous,” she said, “but it is actually so essential and interesting.”
Skeker first connected with Bayer at a Rutgers career fair, then got a six-month product supply co-op during her junior year that was extended through the summer. “The co-op was a great way to apply what I learned in the classroom. Topics we learn in school make sense, but it takes seeing them implemented in the real world to understand the full scope of the supply chain," she said.
After graduating in May, Skerker will be working at Bayer as a product supply associate in a two-year rotational program in three different areas: factory, a distribution center and corporate. “I will get a glimpse of supply chain from end to end,” she said. “The rotational program is a good way to dip my toe in different parts of supply chain before I decide to focus on one thing.”
Skerker hopes to work outside the U.S. at some point to gain perspective on different cultures and how business works across international borders. “It would be a great opportunity, career wise and personally,” she said.
Until then, her Taekwondo can help Skerker in both realms. She started in martial arts at age seven and likes the sport’s physical and mental components. “It taught me a lot about discipline and hard work,” she said. “In terms of character, it definitely played a big role in how I grew up. Knowing how to work hard and keep calm and breathe through issues are things I would take into college, and my career.”
Terri Kurtzberg, a professor of management and global business, saw those qualities when Skerker was in her negotiations course. “Dana is one of those students everyone else wants to work with. Voted ‘most prepared negotiator’ by her peers in class, she is calm, capable, and kind,” Kurtzberg said. “I know she will go far.”
- Sharon Waters
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