Customs Specialist Turns to the Online MS-SCM to Sharpen Her Supply Chain Knowledge

May 28, 2020

Meet online MS-SCM student Erin Weeks. Erin is a Senior Manager in the Trade & Customs division at Philips North America. Before Philips, Erin worked for a defense contractor in licensing and custom clearance. She also spent time at Mars North America, where she was responsible for all North American entries that came into the U.S. and Canada for the Chocolate and Pet Divisions. Today, she oversees custom entries at Phillips, assisting with regulatory questions and customs clearances.

What aspect of the program was the most appealing as you considered enrolling?

When I was at Mars, I realized that there’s more than just the brokering and the clearance of the goods that’s involved in supply chains. That piqued my interest. I found out about UT when I was looking at colleges for my son. While I was doing research, I found the Haslam College of Business and just read about how incredible the supply chain program was. And, frankly, I was a little jealous because I live in New Jersey and I’m not available to attend school in Knoxville, obviously. So when I saw the posting of the commencement of an online program for supply chain management at UT, I jumped on it.

What do you look forward to the most?

I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to get a great education from a great school, even though I wasn’t able to be in Knoxville and attend classes. While I’ve been here, all 4 months, everything has been great. The staff have been amazing; Dana Sweitzer and Felicia Toliver have provided an amazing on-boarding [experience], background and support, assistance with tuition questions, setting up Canvas. I attended Shay Scott’s class last fall, the on-boarding class, and it was a great introduction for someone who isn’t really as involved with supply chain day-to-day.

Erin Weeks in class
Erin Weeks in class

If you were to recommend this program to a colleague, what would you say?

Everyone has been extremely open. And, the teachers have been encouraging and willing to take questions and address questions as they come up. Aspects like the other students, participation on the community blogs—it all really helps you to not feel isolated even though it is a remote program.

How do you think your company will directly benefit from your experience?

Even though I play a crucial role, I didn’t know a lot of the supply chain terms prior to coming to UT. It has been great learning the background of the other students and benefiting from their first-hand experience. The environment really makes you rise to meet your peers’ knowledge base and contribute, then take all that I learn back to the job.

If someone is on the fence about participating, why would you recommend they go for it?

It is challenging but the challenge is not something you can’t overcome. I was worried about being a remote student. But it’s worked out so well. I’m excited to be part of the UT community and I am excited to become a Vol for life. This was one of the best decisions I think I’ve ever made. I want to thank the Haslam College of Business for offering this opportunity. I think it’s been a long time coming and the program’s setup appears to be very complete and well-designed. I am very satisfied with my decision to be part of it.

If you’re looking for a MS program to sharpen your understanding of supply chains to make you more of an asset in your current role or better suited for future positions, learn more about UT Haslam’s online MS-SCM.