Kelsey Kusman ’18
Lockheed Martin; Dallas, TX
Lockheed Martin; Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
What extracurricular activities were you involved in at Texas A&M? Delta Gamma, Fish Camp (2015 & 2016), CIBS REEP Exchange in Madrid (Spring 2017), 12th Man Student Foundation
Did you participate in an internship? During my first internship at Lockheed Martin, I was responsible for organizing all foundational activities for a Six Sigma process improvement projects. These included stakeholder interviews, process mapping, leading a brainstorming session, and getting my Greenbelt Certification. In my second internship, I was responsible for tracking 60 sub-assembly parts in the procurement process and keeping contact with 5 small-business suppliers. I also created an excel-based tool to help keep better track of labor hours for Basis of Estimate reports sent to DCAA in the contracting process. The Supply Chain program prepared me by conditioning me to openly ask questions. In the order I took my classes, I almost reverse-learned a lot of the concepts—applying them in my internships and then learning in class, but by feeling confident asking questions and understanding the basics, I learned SO MUCH!
What was your favorite Supply Chain Management course at Texas A&M? My favorite Supply Chain class was SCMT 335 – Sourcing and Procurement with Dr. Koufteros. As I mentioned before, I was introduced to a lot of the basics of procurement during my second internship, THEN I enrolled in Dr. Koufteros’ class. I felt the entire semester that I was finally putting together all of the concepts I had been confused about the previous summer and it gave me so much confidence. Also, knowing that these concepts would be something that I would be applying daily in my full-time role gave me a feeling of incredible relevance during each lecture. I also really enjoyed the Lockheed Martin case study, no surprise there!
What do you feel was the most beneficial course you took? The most beneficial course I took was MGMT 439 – Negotiations with Professor Gan. I felt that I gained so much applicable knowledge for both work and personal experiences. Negotiating is a skill I believe everyone should learn about, and I was so glad I decided to take it as an elective. It also will help immensely in my career in purchasing.
Describe your career and what led you to your current position: Since graduating in 2018, I’ve been working at Lockheed Martin supporting their supply chain team for a defense missile program. Prior to that, I completed two internships at the company–one in finance and the other in supply chain. In my current role, I am the procurement authority for two single-source suppliers for critical assemblies, and I manage two cross-functional supplier management teams (SMT’s) as we execute the various supplier contracts. I was seeking a role to help me gain skills that would help groom me into a Program Manager, and this role has given me more customer exposure, improved team management skills, and a greater understanding of the relationship between cost, quality, technical, and schedule risks. In August 2021, I also began pursuing a Master’s of Engineering in Supply Chain through the MIT Supply Chain and Leadership Excellence (SCALE) Program. This experience has helped improve my analytical skills and furthered my understanding of concepts discussed during my undergraduate studies such as inventory management and finance. As I continue in this industry, I hope to progress into a role that utilizes my newly acquired skills and challenges me to act quickly, but strategically in a fast-moving environment.
Any specific advice you would give to current Supply Chain Management students? Knowledgeable supply chain professionals now are as valuable as excellent coders in the early 2000’s. You are acquiring a highly valuable skill and should try to soak up as much of the experience as possible. Learn from peers, internships, from LinkedIn articles, reading up on current events, and networking connections, and try to relate this information to examples you see in your daily life. Also, be sure to take advantage of networking, as you never know what kinds of opportunities this could bring. Be genuine and concise in your interactions; people love to help young talent with a real desire to learn and grow.