Kaleb and I began talking about a program that could leverage real world supply chain knowledge, desiring to give students the confidence to express their goals, all while building student relationships on campus prior to ever speaking with them at a career fair. Professor David welcomed us into her classroom, working diligently to expand our passion and accomplish those goals.

What benefits did the project provide to students and what value was PepsiCo able to take from it?

Kaleb Stephens: The Undergraduate Development Program provided students an opportunity to apply the supply chain principles they learned in class to a real-world supply chain problem. Students spent the semester working in groups to find a creative sourcing solution for the launch of a fictional Gatorade product. Their sourcing solutions were the result of the analysis they did in the fields of transportation, demand and supply planning, logistics and warehousing. Each Thursday, Katherine and I held individual conference calls with the five student groups in the course to answer any questions they had regarding PepsiCo and/or their project. This weekly touch-base allowed the students to develop their professional skills and gain an understanding of PepsiCo’s core supply-chain competencies, while also helping them to develop a rapport with us.

Our hope is that students will look to us as mentors and leverage our relationship with them when seeking future professional opportunities. In addition to this, students were also able to present their semester’s work to some of PepsiCo’s top executives, an opportunity designed to develop their public speaking skills. The semester’s top performing groups also had the chance to tour a Gatorade Plant and Distribution Center in Indianapolis.

The Undergraduate Development Program allowed us to bolster PepsiCo’s presence on campus, build relationships with Krannert leadership and identify high potential students. It’s been a fantastic opportunity for us to give back to the university that has provided us so many incredible opportunities. We look forward to building upon last fall’s successful launch of the program and growing it into a top recruiting mechanism for both Krannert and PepsiCo.

Katherine Meade: I feel that the program we have created allows students to develop their supply chain knowledge and professional skills while using this experience as a tool to speak to their specific interests in a preferred career path. We also hope that many of these students utilize Kaleb and me as resources as they begin/continue their career search, whether they choose to pursue a career with PepsiCo or not.

As far as the value to PepsiCo, we hire 100 percent of our future talent from university career fairs, and while we have maintained sustainable talent from that practice, Kaleb and I have a different vision for recruiting — ‘interviewing’ before the actual interviews. A semester-long program like this one allows us to build relationships with students outside of the recruitment process. Understanding what drives these individuals, how they intuitively process the given information and gauging their interest in the material and our company allows us insight that we could never obtain during a 5 to 7 minute conversation at a career fair. Not only does it allow us to ‘interview’ them, but they also have the opportunity to interview us prior to committing to a summer internship or full-time offer. I see it as a win-win situation for both parties.

Registration for the fall 2017 offering of Introduction to Supply Chain, Information, and Analytics (MGMT 261) is now open. Undergraduates can register for the course through myPurdue by adding CRN 69357 to their schedule.

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