Students come to the MIM program for many reasons. For Patrick Dedrick, a MIM graduate from 2010 who now works in supply chain at adidas, building a career as a supply chain analyst and working for one of the largest companies in the footwear industry were two things that were actually not on his radar.
Patrick came from much more of a cultural and liberal arts background. He majored in Anthropology and Japanese as an undergrad, studying abroad in Japan at Kansai Gaidai University for a time as well. For him, the hybrid nature of business curriculum combined with Asian culture and language was what interested him about the MIM degree.
Yet during the 15-month MIM program, somewhere between coursework at PSU and factory tours on the Asia Trip, Patrick found that he had an affinity for the analytical aspects of supply chain work. Since completing his MIM degree, Patrick has held a variety of supply chain positions in several companies, first at Oracle as a supply chain analyst, then at TE Connectivity in their medical division, before finding himself in his current role at adidas.
When asked about his series of relatively quick transitions from job to job over the past 3 years, he acknowledges that this can sometimes make it seem like he has trouble staying in one place very long. He clarifies though that in each of the transitions he has made, it was due to opportunities at one place coming to an end, at around the same time that opportunities elsewhere opened up. Furthermore, Patrick emphasizes that it was through personal connections that he learned about opportunities, and that although these personal connections proved very helpful eventually, they were not connections that he made explicitly to gain some tangible benefit; they were people that he met and stayed in touch with, and when the opportunity arose, they contacted Patrick to let him know.
For students who are making a career transition, or moving from one job to another, Patrick suggests building a story and making sure the transition is a conscious decision (or at least seems like one). Having focused on supply chain and purchasing work for most of his professional career, Patrick is able to demonstrate familiarity with a variety of processes and aspects of supply chain work, in ways that he says often stay relatively the same from industry to industry.
For advice on getting a job out of the MIM program, he recommends balancing the need for being open to a variety of opportunities with having a specific company or industry in mind. In other words, it is great to be focused on trying to get specific positions, but try to be open to other opportunities that may not seem obvious at first. “I have seen some missed opportunities for people who were too selective in their job search” he says. Have a plan, but be flexible.
One other recommendation of Patrick’s is to consider looking into supply chain certifications such as CPIM and CSCP, administered by APICS. Having these certifications has helped open doors for Patrick and gotten him interviews.
As for himself, Patrick is very happy where he is right now at adidas. “I wanted to continue with supply chain and operations of course, but I was also looking for a corporate culture where I would feel at home”, he says. “Landing a good position in a well-known company can certainly help your career, but finding a company where you are a good fit regardless of other factors may help you enjoy your work more, and also get more out of the job itself”.
With many MIM students set to graduate in December and currently on the lookout for jobs, these are both timely and wise words!
Josh is a full-time student in the Master of International Management program. After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in Japanese, he taught English in Tokyo for 3 years, before moving to China and teaching at a university in the city of Zhengzhou. Inspired by his experiences in Japan and China, he was drawn to the MIM program because of its regional focus on Asia, as well as for Portland State University’s reputation as a leader in the field of sustainable business. He is studying Chinese in the MIM program, but tries to keep up his Japanese whenever he can.