Searching for a career where she could pursue her passions and use her skills, Lexi Shaw turned to the BYU Marriott School of Business and discovered an unlikely candidate: global supply chain management (GSCM). This program helped Shaw, now a senior, find her niche in the field and lace up her shoes for a fashion internship in New York City.
“People don’t really know what global supply chain is,” Shaw says. “All they’ve heard about is the current supply chain crisis in the country.”
However, Shaw’s first real taste of GSCM came during her sophomore year at an informational meeting she attended on the program. The meeting was hosted by Women in Supply Chain (WISC), one of the school’s student groups for GSCM students. “The more I learned about supply chain, the more I knew the program was a good fit for me,” says Shaw. She enjoys data analysis and problem solving, core components of the program. “I like working with numbers,” she says. “The supply chain world offers endless opportunities.”
However, a divergent interest—fashion—is what initially drew Shaw to global supply chain management. Instead of giving a broad introduction to the program, the WISC presentation that Shaw attended focused on apparel merchandising, a specific area of supply chain.
“I am genuinely interested in fashion,” says Shaw. “Apparel merchandising allows me to involve this in my work.” Essentially, this supply chain niche involves helping stores choose their assortment of clothing items, designing the online and in-store displays, and building relationships with suppliers.
During the summer of 2022, Shaw, a Portland native, completed an apparel merchandising internship with Walmart in New York City. “I was particularly excited to use my classroom skills in the real world,” she says. Walmart assigns interns a specific project to work on during their stay; Shaw’s assignment was to create a strategy for Walmart, which the company will execute later, to promote market share growth in the athletic footwear sector.
One part of Shaw’s strategy was identifying the best shoe brands to introduce into Walmart’s assortment. Shaw explains that seeing the products in person helped her with this task. “Holding the shoes in my hands was incredibly cool,” she says, explaining that his helped her strategy come to life. Another component was suggesting website improvements that would better promote athletic shoes. Shaw explains that these responsibilities provided an excellent opportunity to put her supply chain knowledge into practice.
Since pitching ideas and working with suppliers are key aspects of the field, handling confrontation well is a necessary skill. “Sometimes difficult conversations need to happen,” she says. Thanks to both BYU Marriott and her work opportunities, Shaw explains that she overcame challenges in order to have effective interactions with people.
“One of my proudest career accomplishments is getting out of my comfort zone,” she says. “My time in the GSCM program has taught me how to do tasks I haven’t totally loved or felt comfortable with in the past.”
These interpersonal skills have helped Shaw thrive in another essential area of business: networking. One way Shaw built her network was by taking a job as the GSCM office secretary. She did this to meet and build relationships with the professors at BYU Marriott. “Knowing the professors personally is a significant advantage,” she says. “This gave me the opportunity to learn more about the major and get an inside look at the program’s culture.” Shaw saw that the GSCM program was all about helping others, which further solidified her decision to pursue the major.
Staying in line with this focus of the school’s supply chain culture, Shaw dreams of using her professional skills to help people in underdeveloped countries. After establishing her career, she plans to do humanitarian work in a supply-chain related field.
Shaw and her husband recently returned from BYU’s business and law study abroad in Milan. Living and studying in one of the fashion capitals of the world gave Shaw valuable insights about apparel merchandising.
Whether she enters the fashion industry or the humanitarian sector, Shaw believes her experiences at BYU Marriott will help her make a positive impact. “One of the best parts of GSCM is that the program feels like a family,” she says. “We bond together to help people.”