A career kick-starting capstone
By Kelsey Cheng | Student Reporter
Last spring, students in the capstone course for the MS in Supply Chain Management, were presented with a real-world challenge from a Fortune 500 company: help pharmaceutical and health care product company Abbott find a location for a manufacturing facility in Southeast Asia.
The students knew that the graduate program had prepared them for this supply chain challenge, but they had no idea that the course would quickly kick-start several of their careers. Following the presentation, Abbott both followed the students’ suggestions and asked for their resumes for Abbott’s internship program.
The global necessity
John Caltagirone, executive director of Quinlan’s Supply and Value Chain Center and a Loyola alum, said no school in the Chicago area was doing end-to-end supply chain a few years ago. So he went to Father Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., who was the University’s president at the time, and recommended they create such a program—and from there the MS in Supply Chain Management was born. A year later, in 2013, the Supply and Value Chain Center was created.
Caltagirone believes supply chain management must be thought of on a global scale, and when done properly, it can have a huge positive effect on countries around the world. “That’s why it’s important we have the right people doing these jobs,” he said.
In his courses, Caltagirone makes sure that sustainability and social responsibility are an integral part of the learning experience. He has his students look at the triple bottom line, also known as the three P’s.
“It is caring about people, which correlates to social sustainability; planet, which is linked to environmental sustainability; and profit, which is economic sustainability,” Caltagirone said.
A socially responsible classroom
The capstone course—and the Abbott project—drove home Caltagirone’s emphasis on socially responsible business practices.
“Abbott told us over and over again how they are not interested in the most cost efficient method,” said graduate student Dan Kreiser. “They were interested in the methods that provide the best quality, so they can continue serving customers.”
Caltagirone gave his 16 students an overview of the project and provided some guidance, but the students determined roles for themselves and completed their tasks on their own. It was a teaching method that stood out to Kreiser.
“It honestly is one of the most beneficial courses I took,” he said, “because Professor Caltagirone left it up to the student.”
The class was divided into two teams, and each student had a peer in a parallel role on the other team. One team looked at Abbott manufacturing in Southeast Asia, and the other looked at outsourcing in Southeast Asia.
As project manager, Kreiser served as the “go-between” to fill in the blanks as the project progressed.
“My peers provided me with a unique opportunity to be a leader and they took their roles responsibly, and I’m proud to be a part of the program,” he said.
A true Loyola experience
The students interacted with high-level management, including alum Keith Cienkus, vice president of Abbott’s diagnostic division.
Abbott saw a bright future for Kreiser. Shortly after the capstone course ended, he interviewed and began an internship in Abbott’s Chicago headquarters.
“Everyone is excited to work on projects and do their best,” Kreiser said, “and I think the capstone was the epitome of the Loyola experience because it was an opportunity to be a leader and apply that experience in the world.”