Master’s in Supply Chain Management: Mark Reagan, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

“Make sure you are passionate about the subject and want to learn. I would imagine it would be hard to make it through this program without strong dedication and passion for the industry. If you pass that test, it will be well worth it in the end!”

Student Name: Mark Reagan

Graduate Business School: University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management

Describe Yourself In 15 Words:  A person who likes to learn, have fun, and enjoys being around people.

Master’s Graduation Class: 2020.

Undergraduate School and Major: UW-Madison, Biomedical Engineering. 

Current Employer and Job Title: Ecolab (Eagen Plant), Plant Manager.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:  This is a hard one to pin down. I’ve had many different roles and experiences in my career, each coming with its own sets of accomplishments and failures. Most of what I would point to as accomplishments are those where I was able to lead or be a part of a team that made a lasting impact on the business or made people’s jobs easier. 

Describe your biggest accomplishment as a graduate student: The Master in Supply Chain Management program was a unique schooling experience for me due to the way in which I could practice what I learned literally the next day at work. I felt that my biggest accomplishment was taking the learnings and applying them to my day-to-day. This reinforced that the hard work needed for the master’s program was worth it! 

What was the key factor that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The Carlson School has truly world-class faculty with great connections across the Twin Cities and beyond. It’s obvious that the faculty, especially in the Supply Chain program, care deeply about their program and perhaps, more importantly, their students. In my mind, this set the Carlson School apart from many others. 

What led you to choose a Master’s in Supply Chain Management over an MBA? While manufacturing initially started as a job, over my career it has turned into a true passion of mine. I love the day-to-day grind, working with people and striving for a shared goal. I was lucky enough to have a great employer who cares about people development and gave me the opportunity to expand my knowledge of supply chains through the master’s program. In my mind, the advantage of the Supply Chain Masters over an MBA is that it was tailored exactly to my interests and energized me to continually learn and grow in my supply chain career.

What has been your favorite course and how has it helped you in your career? This may be an unpopular favorite, but I really enjoyed statistics. I had learned the general theory of statistics during my undergrad years, but never fully understood the application or the full power of it when I got into the working world. I found myself enjoying the opportunity to re-engage my brain in this subject and I felt like a fog cleared when using or discussing statistics at work.  

What role did your school play in helping you to land your first job out of the program? I started the program as a supplier quality manager for our healthcare business and shortly after moved into a plant manager position within the company. I believe that the Master in Supply Chain Management program allowed me to think more broadly about supply chains, equipped me with many new tools to be successful in different supply chain roles, and helped shape my leadership style in ways that I never thought of before. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity as it has helped shape and drive my career forward, both in the short term and I suspect for many years to come.   

How did your classmates enhance the value of your business school experience? The cohort experience was invaluable. I can’t say enough about how fun it was to go to school again with a group of people that shared similar interests and truly wanted to learn and grow through the experience. I made friendships in a very short (but intense) time that will last for a lifetime. I’d say that my classmates and the professors made the experience what it was: Awesome!

Who was your favorite faculty member and how did this person enrich your learning? My favorite faculty member was Necati Ertekin. Necati was extremely passionate about his work and pushed the class to feel the same. I was always impressed with his real-world experience and practical application of tough subjects like statistics and supply and operational planning. I use many of the concepts Necati taught in everyday life. 

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s graduate Master’s program? I didn’t believe the intensity of the program until I started! My advice would be to make sure you are passionate about the subject and want to learn. I would imagine it would be hard to make it through this program without strong dedication and passion for the industry. If you pass that test, it will be well worth it in the end!

What was your best memory from your Master’s program? I mostly remember the fun times interacting with my classmates both inside and outside of the classroom. The course content and schedule are intense, but many of the times that we shared together, whether it be late nights studying, doing capstone projects at businesses around the community, or having a few laughs in class, are simply unforgettable.   


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