Five days of networking, learning and experiencing CSCMP
In an earlier article on this website you could have read that I, Iris Kauffeld, won a trip to the annual conference in San Diego. In this blog I will share some of my experiences during the conference with you.
This year's annual conference took place from the 27th to the 30th of September (which was from Sunday-Wednesday). All student-assistants were expected to arrive somewhere on Friday, because we had to do some preparations on Saturday and be informed about our duties during conference. As a student-assistant you had to work 50 percent of the time and the other 50 percent of the time you could participate in the conference, most of the time work consisted of being available at a desk to answer any questions an attendee or session host might have (doing headcounts, checking badges and whatever was necessary was also part of the job description).
On Saturday I met all other student-assistants with whom I had an awesome time in San Diego, work of today meant packing goodie bags. In the evening we had our first of many evening networking receptions. The first was held on the USS Midway, which is an old navy flight deck ship, displaying dozens of old fighter jets. Networking was still really new to me, so during conference I had plenty of opportunity to develop my networking skills.
Sunday conference was mainly for academics and registration. I had to work at one of the registration desks for the afternoon. In the morning I had some time to explore San Diego and enjoy the nice weather. Sunday evening the conference really kicked-off with a networking reception in the main hall for all its attendees.
Monday and Tuesday I attended the key note speaker sessions, one by Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks), which was really interesting and one by Dave Clark (senior vice president at Amazon) which came across as a more promotional talk. I also attended two educational sessions which I found really interesting. The first educational session was really inspiring as it was about women in the C-suite. Four women shared their stories and experiences with the attendants. During this session the advice was given to speak up more as a woman if you want a certain position, because women have the tendency to underestimate their capabilities and think that their efforts will automatically be recognised.
The second educational session I attended was about the Internet of Things and was organised by Intel, this session really caught my attention since it represented multiple aspects of my study (technology in the form of automation and control as well as logistics). During conference there was a main exhibit hall where a lot of companies were present with a booth, during receptions or time in between work and sessions, it was interesting to walk around and talk to some companies.
Tuesday it was student recruitment day so students and companies got a chance to network with each other. This is one of the examples of what CSCMP has to offer for students, helping, almost graduating, students to get a job. Later in the evening on Tuesday there was also a networking reception especially for Young Professionals, so this time only socializing with my peers. Wednesday all the fun and learning had to come to an end with a delicious brunch, while a business comedian entertained all attendees.
These five days were an amazing opportunity for me to network, learn and experience what it is like to participate in such a big conference. This trip also gave me the opportunity to travel outside of Europe, explore San Diego and to meet a lot of new, fun people. I was also able to get more familiar with CSCMP and what this organization has to offer. During this I really noticed the willingness from members to help other members attain new opportunities. Being a student member of CSCMP also means to work on establishing a professional network in the world of supply chain (maybe even get an internship or job out of this) and connecting with professionals, who can share their work experiences with you in the form of mentoring or just so you get an idea of the industry.
Last but not least, I want to thank CSCMP and the sponsor BeSCOPE for giving me an amazing week that I will never forget. Going to conferences like these is definitely worthwhile for students that want to learn from people, practice and build a network - Iris Kauffeld.
Iris' price is sponsored by BeSCOPE, an innovative Consultancy Firm specialized in supply chain optimization with an end-to-end supply chain scope. CSCMP Benelux thanks BeSCOPE for their support and commitment to develop young supply chain professionals.