“Each and every classmate brought a unique perspective having come from various professional backgrounds and career experiences. These opinions and viewpoints created diverse feedback in discussions and insight into real-world applications to the theory presented by instructors.”
Student Name: Tom Berdelle
Graduate Business School: Marquette University Graduate School of Management
Describe Yourself In 15 Words: Foremost, I am family focused. As a leader, I am caring, deliberate, curious, and data-driven.
Master’s Graduation Class: 2020.
Undergraduate School and Major: Marquette University, Supply Chain Management and Business Economics.
Current Employer and Job Title: Director of Demand Planning, S&OP at Weber-Stephen Products LLC.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: One of the biggest accomplishments in my career was aiding in the implementation of statistical forecasting tools that improved forecast accuracy across several business divisions.
Describe your biggest accomplishment as a graduate student: While completing my recent degree felt like an accomplishment in itself, I am most proud of my cohort’s collective ability to generate meaningful, thoughtful discussion and contribute consistently in a new program and virtual environment.
What was the key factor that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Of the few schools at which I looked, Marquette University’s Master in Supply Chain Management program seemed most focused on Industry 4.0 technologies. Whether by choice or necessity, companies will have to reckon with and implement these new tools and enablers in their business processes. This program challenged us as leaders to think how we could prepare for adoption at our organizations and optimize through thoughtful change management.
Another aspect that drew me to Marquette University was its embodiment of the motto “cura personalis.” This true care for the individual person, demonstrated by classmates and faculty alike, allowed for deep discussions throughout the curriculum and an environment that challenged us while maintaining the human element.
What led you to choose a Master’s in Supply Chain Management over an MBA? I feel strongly about spending my career in supply chain, thus it made sense to pursue a focused curriculum that would enhance my understanding of core, supply chain fundamentals and innovative supply chain applications enabled by improving technology. An MBA has merit and can be a requisite in certain career paths,but I didn’t feel that it was applicable for my circumstances.
What has been your favorite course and how has it helped you in your career? There are two: Supply Chain Finance and Additive Manufacturing. Supply Chain Finance strengthened my ability to think harder and deeper about how decisions made in my role and supply chain could affect financial outcomes of the overall organization. Additive Manufacturing delved into the technology itself and its applications across markets. As important as understanding the science of additive manufacturing, this course challenged us to contemplate opportunities and benefits of adopting specific Industry 4.0 technologies today.
What role did your school play in helping you to land your first job out of the program? I was already employed following graduation in 2020. However, I can attest to the fact that Marquette University’s reputation and network across the state and region is broad and tight-knit. It is not difficult to find alumni, staff, and faculty willing to provide career guidance or networking opportunities for future employment.
How did your classmates enhance the value of your business school experience? Each and every classmate brought a unique perspective having come from various professional backgrounds and career experiences. These opinions and viewpoints created diverse feedback in discussions and insight into real-world applications to the theory presented by instructors.
Who was your favorite faculty member and how did this person enrich your learning? Dr. Mark Barratt, Faculty Program Director of the Master in Supply Chain Management program, commands respect due to his experience and deep knowledge of the supply chain. However, arguably even more important than Dr. Barratt’s knowledge is his ability and desire to connect with students, and is always receptive to feedback on opportunities that would enhance the learning experience. This aspect was extremely appreciated given that the program was virtual and newly introduced.
What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s graduate Master’s program? Focus on what you can contribute to the program, specifically strong, positive energy and your unique perspectives. The program is what you make it!
What was your best memory from your Master’s program? My fondest memory was spending time with the cohort during on-campus workshops. This human connection enhanced the learning experience, enabling personal connections and strengthening the virtual experience when we did transition back online.