Spotlight on MIM Alumni: Bill Mikesell

Name: Bill Mikesell
Company: adidas
Company/Job Location: N. Portland, Oregon
Current Job Title: Supply Chain Analyst    
Duration at Current Job: 8 Months
MIM graduation date: June 2010
Bill’s Website: http://vimeo.com/billmikesell

Bill Mikesell, adidas Supply Chain Analyst and MIM June 2010 Alumni

MIM: How did you find your current job?

BM: The [adidas] job posting was forwarded by a really good professor, Dr. Lee Buddress, who was kind enough to consider students’ post grad positions and forwarded the job opportunity to all Master in International Management students. I used my experience from my exit project to get the career experience I needed to start in my new position. I found the job after I had already graduated – it took me about four months to get the job.

MIM: What was the interview process like?

BM: I went through the career application process directly through the company, but I also emailed the adidas contact that Dr. Buddress had forwarded to students from the job posting. The adidas contact, a Portland State University (PSU) alum, was very welcome and open to making a personal contact. The online process through the company website required me to attach my resume and cover letter. I had a couple of phone screenings followed by two personal interviews with three different managers from the prospective department on two different occasions; six people total. The whole process until I received the job offer took about five weeks.

MIM: Is your current job in line with your previous work experience or is this a career change?

BM: Prior to the MIM program, I had a completely different career, which I enjoyed but I felt that economic changes forced me to rethink my future. So I took the opportunity to go back to graduate school to pursue possibilities internationally that I didn’t have the training and experience in. I believed the MIM program would provide this experience for me. I transitioned from journalism to supply chain management.

MIM: In what way do you think the MIM program helped you with your current position?

BM: The Exit Project I undertook gave me real hands on experience to solve a major issue for a Portland employer, Portland General Electric. Teamwork with the company helped me apply supply chain strategies to quantify data and save the company significant money. I was able to take this experience and use it in my current position at adidas.

MIM: What is your job like on a daily basis?

BM: I do inventory management in Excel, Access, and SAP – I do data all day. I also make purchasing decisions based on account forecasting.

MIM: What do you really love most about your job and the company?

BM: I feel like I make a significant impact for adidas by making careful purchasing decisions. I think I have a lot of clout on how the company fulfills its obligations to its customers. Adidas is really flexible with work hours with the expectation that you do your job and that you improve the business. It really has a great work culture for an athletic apparel company. Not only do you have the opportunity to work with exciting and innovative products but you can also do inter-mural sports.

MIM: What do you hope for your future career plans?

BM: I hope to be able to integrate my writing and production experience with my supply chain management knowledge by strategizing and communicating better supply chain solutions.

MIM: What do you think is your most valuable take-away from the MIM program?

BM: Probably that it [MIM] gives you a unique point of differentiation that few other programs can provide and that it’s really about standing out with the resume and interview in your job hunt. And really, anything that can help you stand out in an opportunity for business success is going to be helpful to you in your job search.

MIM: What is your favorite memory of the MIM program?

BM: Just really immersing myself in Asian business and culture with 60 other people in my class, learning about businesses and being able to see these companies in their home countries. Being able to learn about businesses and seeing these things in place and process on the other side of the globe [MIM Asia Field Study] has been a really great opportunity.

MIM: What advice can you provide to current and future MIM students?

BM: Just be hungry – go after any opportunity that PSU has and realize that the work you do outside the classroom is going to be so much more beneficial to your career development than purely class assignments. Really look at it as an opportunity to take advantage of anything that comes your way.

For example, while I was in school, I helped launch an annual sustainable fashion show with PSU AMA, I helped roll out a database that quantifies sustainability metrics for the coffee industry through an internship with Portland Roasting Coffee, I advised a consulting firm with the university on how to best spend the largest grant in the university’s history, and while on the Asia Trip I created a video documentary for Mercy Corps and then wrote an article for the travel section in the Oregonian.

With the contacts from PSU and your personal skill set you can really do a lot of different things. Take advantage of the “student card” that will get your foot in the door for a lot of different opportunities while you are still in school and can use it.

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