Making the move to a real career

September 3, 2013

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Tracy Smith

Tracy Smith earned her business administration degree from UW-Platteville Online in December 2010, and in July of 2011, she was hired by United Parcel Service (UPS) to work in the business development department at the Portland, Oregon location.

And, she’s blazing a trail as one of our first students enrolled for a Master of Science in Integrated Supply Chain Management (MSISCM).

“When you’re working in a challenging economic time, you must have a bachelor’s degree, and often have to go beyond that to set yourself apart. In many companies, to attain an upper staff level or a management position, you need a master’s degree,” Tracy said.

Upon starting her job, Tracy investigated master’s degrees. She wasn’t 100 percent sure she wanted an MBA, and she knew UW-Platteville was preparing to launch the integrated supply chain management master’s degree. “Truthfully, I was going to wait a bit, but the program started and, because it covers all facets of the supply chain, it fit my professional life so perfectly that I just didn’t want to wait to get started,” Tracy said. “And, by enrolling in this program, I was able to differentiate myself from other candidates, and in the end, I was selected for a promotion—a great promotion. I secured my current position just six months after I started.”

Tracy‘s goal is to complete her master’s degree in two years. With three children still at home, she requires the flexibility of online learning. She is also aware of the example she is setting for her children and views that as another benefit of continuing her education.

Connecting with others who juggled similar responsibilities provided a sense of community in her undergraduate courses. “Many people think you don’t have that experience, but you do. It’s an environment where you follow all these people who are going for the same degree as you. One of my classmates now has a human resources job—a great accomplishment for him. He’s considering a master’s degree and I’ve encouraged him to set that goal for himself.”

Tracy’s experience prompted her to volunteer for the DLC Student Advisory Board so she can continue connecting, provide feedback, and promote the online degree programs.

UW-Platteville and an employer that encourages self-improvement are a winning combination. “UPS knows that working on the master’s degree makes me a better employee; they are investing in me [with some tuition reimbursement] and supporting that aspect of my growth,” Tracy said.

“What is really exciting is the fact that UW- Platteville really takes a look at what’s important to people in the workforce. The economy has necessitated companies looking at every facet of the supply chain and the impact every step has on the bottom line. For UW-Platteville to develop this degree—to hit that niche—that’s phenomenal.”

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