On 1 October 2020, BYU Marriott School of Business global supply chain management (GSCM) alumni, students, and faculty gathered together for their first-ever virtual alumni conference. During the event, a record-breaking number of alumni and students learned from and reconnected with one another from places across the country.
The event kicked off with presentations from GSCM faculty and various GSCM and BYU alumni club presidents. The keynote speaker was Mark Pope, BYU men’s basketball coach, who, through a prerecorded video, spoke about being relentless. Coinciding with the event’s theme of continuous improvement, Pope encouraged participants to work towards a better version of themselves.
“Our focus for this year for the GSCM program and for the alumni event is ‘continuous improvement,’” says Jorge Beltran, a GSCM senior from Encinitas, California, and 2020 GSCM class president. “The big focus for us as supply chain professionals is to always seek to improve different processes and operations. But we also wanted to focus on the personal side and understand how we can improve as BYU Marriott alumni, students, and people of faith.”
The event also included multiple breakout sessions where participants chose between presentations titled “Establish Yourself in Your Career” and “Working for a Multinational Company and Living Overseas.” Brooke Squires, a 2019 GSCM graduate, attended the session presented by Mariah Hilton-Wood, a 2016 graduate, who was recently accepted into Harvard Business School. “Hearing about Hilton-Wood’s decision, why she wanted to receive her MBA, her path forward, and what she wants to get out of her career was inspiring,” says Squires.
Max Anderson, a GSCM senior from Syracuse, Utah, believes holding the event virtually this year played into the favor of all alumni. “I was actually glad the event went online because more alumni could participate. The event was easy to attend, allowed participants to reconnect, and helped students learn from alumni,” he says.
The conference provided an invaluable opportunity for current students to connect with knowledgeable graduates and members of the global supply chain family. “We’re lucky in our program to have such a tremendous network,” says Squires. “Events like these are a great way to leverage those opportunities that networking provides in order to help current BYU students land jobs and share our knowledge and experience with others.”
Each class of graduates reconnected during the last hour of the event in breakout sessions divided by class year. “The breakout rooms were a big hit and something that I personally enjoyed,” says Beltran. “Alumni interacted with familiar faces they haven’t seen in a while and reminisced on past experiences. The experience supported our vision, which is that our program truly is a family. I saw evidence of our mission statement right before my eyes. I’m looking forward to maintaining those strong connections with students from my graduating class in the coming years.”
The lessons learned and the memories shared at this event helped GSCM alumni and students to fulfill their program vision and this year’s goal of continuous improvement. “In global supply chain management, one of the biggest principles that we live by is taking care of our relationships,” says Beltran. “We care about our relationships with others because we know those relationships lead to greater improvement.”
Writer: Emily Atwood