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Profile: Marlon Bradley


When Krannert Online Global Supply Chain Management master’s student and First Lieutenant Marlon Bradley joined the Air Force, his plan was to leave after six years.

But the aircraft mechanic promoted to aircraft maintenance officer promoted to commissioned operations officer has greatly enjoyed his career in aircraft maintenance and logistics.

“I plan on staying as long as the Air Force will have me,” Bradley says.

Senior positions will afford him more opportunities, and to be a lieutenant colonel, one needs a master’s degree and the skills and knowledge gained in a master’s program.

Bradley did earn a master’s degree, in Criminal Justice, Homeland Security, and Terrorism from Aspen University – but then wanted a program that better complemented and enhanced his career in the Air Force.

“I wanted a deeper understanding of why we do what we do,” Bradley says.

Based in Goldsboro, NC, Bradley coordinates the movement of assets and people and is responsible for more than 300 individuals.

He needed the flexibility of an online program, and it was Bradley’s wife who urged him to look at Purdue. She supplied Bradley with a list of schools with notable supply chain programs.

“I knew Purdue was a good school, but I didn’t realize how good it was,” he says. There was another proof point for Bradley: “One of my bosses is a Purdue grad. She is extremely smart.”


Bradley was initially hesitant to apply to the Krannert Online MSGSCM program. But once in the program, the strong connection between his Air Force experience and the MSGSCM curriculum was instantly clear.

“We are all affected by supply chain. I just happen to do it on a daily basis,” he says. “A lot of this makes sense,” Bradley thought early on in his program. “It was stepping back and seeing the bigger picture, why we do the things we do.”

His online classmates -- whom are “wicked smart,” Bradley says -- are across the country and in other parts of the world. Put into teams, they work through time zone logistics to collaborate.

“We talk almost every day,” he says. “We’ve done video calls three times a week. We’re able to bounce ideas off each other.”


"We talk almost every day. We've done video calls three times a week. We're able to bounce ideas off each other."

Bradley has found his online program’s curriculum to be overall very hands-on, with an emphasis on collaboration.

He notes specific support he’s received that has made his program impactful, from the helpful IT staff to online program success coach Stacey Shanks.

“She’s good about checking up on you, seeing how you are doing,” Bradley says.

He is using his GI Bill to fund his Krannert program, and says Purdue’s Veterans Success Center made that process “seamless.”

Also, faculty are always willing to get on a virtual call when needed, he says.

“If you email them, they respond. Way faster than you’d think.”

Bradley has particularly gained a lot in his Project Management course, taught by Dr. Amy David, clinical assistant professor of management in Supply Chain and Operations, and in Operations Management, taught by Dr. Dilip Chhajed, Krannert’s Associate Dean for Online Programs and Strategic Innovations.

“He had a way of making it seem so simple,” Bradley says.

He appreciates the Online MSGSCM program’s flexibility, and also knowing at the beginning of each week what homework will be due. The seven-week modules go by so quickly that he reads ahead to see what projects are on the horizon.

“My schedule is all over the place,” says the father of four. “At any moment, I could be on a different schedule, in a different part of the world. As long as I have internet, I can work on things when I can.”

Bradley has traveled so far from his days as a high school athlete and college receiver, on a football scholarship for two seasons.

“I was going to the NFL, like most kids thought at that time,” he says.

He also thought he wanted to study computer science, but quickly realized it wasn’t for him. He earned his bachelor’s in criminal justice from Kaplan University. His diploma bears the name Purdue University.

“Maybe it was fate,” he says of his journey to Krannert.